Kevin’s eyes were glued to the giant wall clock that sat above the interviewer’s head.
He watched the second-hand steal across the clock’s broad face, the barely perceptible movement of the minute hand and the hour hand straddling the space between 3 and 4.
An onlooker might wonder his fascination but it was all he could do to control the wave of panic threatening to overwhelm him.
It was his first interview in five months, and for some reason, he suspected, right from when he walked into the office, that the large, bespectacled man now studying his resume, didn’t like him. But whether that was the case or not, he was determined to get the job. Or at least put in his best.
The man cleared his throat once, and his heart skipped a beat.
‘You’ve got some decent skills with R and Matlab. You didn’t elaborate much on your proficiency with PowerBI though-’
‘Yea, I’ve actually got over seven months of experience– his face flushed red – Oh, sorry about that.’
The man’s expression was inscrutable behind his glasses. ‘Seven months of experience with PowerBI, you meant to say or…?’
‘Uh, yes. Yes, sir. Seven months of experience with PowerBI at Ace technologies as well.’
The man scribbled briskly on a notepad, lips pursed.
Kevin tugged uncomfortably at his necktie. Slipping into a suit and tie was just too much temptation for his sensitive skin. The experience of his body starting to itch madly under his tuxedo as he danced with Jane on prom night was still fresh in his memory. Jane drove him home that night, her eyes perpetually averted to avoid seeing his red, swollen face. That was the last time he ever wore a suit. Until today.
The trick was taking his dosage of D3 and Zyrtec just before stepping out of the house. It’d worked in his last job, where he was required to wear coveralls at least twice a week.
Spectacles was peering at him, his lips moving.
‘I’m sorry, sir?’
‘I said I like your resume, Kevin’ His lips spread slightly in a small kind smile. ‘You have less quality of experience with data visualization than some of the other guys we’ve interviewed but we provide plenty of training and resources to help with that so it’s not a serious issue.’
He waited, his heart pounding in his chest.
‘I’m personally satisfied at this stage, I must say.’ The man closed the file folder before him. ‘So I’d say you’re through to the next stage.’
‘Thank you very much, sir’ Kevin nodded, smiling in relief. A further stage hadn’t been mentioned in the email brief that was sent to him but this had to be the toughest part of the interview. He wasn’t worried. ‘What’s the next stage, if I may ask?’
‘A short presentation before management.’ The man replied promptly, rising. ‘Simply telling us in your words why you’re the best candidate for this role. Any more questions?’
Kevin stared. Questions fumed through his mind but he couldn’t trust his voice at this moment. His head shook no. He wasn’t in any condition to give a presentation, even if it was a group of toddlers on a nursery ground.
He could already feel the prickly heat sensation break out across his chest as perspiration dampened his armpits. No, this could not be happening!
‘Follow me please.’
‘Please uh…’ It took all the strength he could muster not to claw rabidly at his chest and inner thighs. They were on fire. ‘Can I use the toilet?’
The man nodded with a smile. ‘Sure, Kevin. First door on your right when you come back here. We’ll be waiting.’
He darted for the toilet. By the time he stood staring at his reflection in a sink mirror, his neck was streaked with angry red welts. ‘You’ve ruined me!’ He cried at his reflection, fingers flying all over his body.
He hobbled painfully out of the toilet, out the door of the building and straight to his car.
Don’t let an outbreak of hives ruin your chance, click the image below.