More often than not

Thank you for agreeing to complete this assessment. On the following pages you will find some questions to help you think about the qualities the candidate possesses. Please tick the appropriate box in each case.

1. Analysing Information

Does the candidate try to clarify the situation before acting?


How often makes rarely sometimes?

How often have you seen him clear an hour’s consultation at a stride and pounce on the right decision? Not often, lately. When he was younger he was like a spaniel questing across a meadow: stopping, backing, turning, shouldering the stems aside, leaping for a clearer view, nose to the scent. Hard to remember. Nowadays he interrupts explanations and shouts down opinions. Colleagues who didn’t know him then see a reputation won years ago with a fluke cluster of inspired guesses. He sees only the blank horror of not acting.

Gathered round the vending machine, opinions spill easily. Thumb coins into the slot. Press coffee. Whitener. No sugar. Grasp the flexing, too-hot cup by the rim.

“Heard him having a go again this morning. What was that all about?”

One scalding drop squeezes over the lip and dribbles, cooling but not fast enough. Shake it away and grope wrong-handed for a handkerchief.

“Since when does it have to be about anything?”

2.         Making Judgments

Does the candidate know himself and attempt not to personalise issues?


On the downs where he used to live, the grass grew knee-high. There must have been a dozen different kinds. In the winter it was hard to tell them apart, but in the summer when they seeded the hillside was quilted with textures. Some were spreading and ferny, others were tight-packed and bushy, with skeletal spikes. The one he loved best fumed into a purple mist and flowed between straw-coloured stems like smoke.

When the wind blew they all rippled and tossed together beneath the sun and the cloud-trawling sky. He couldn’t tell them apart.

It was always personal.



About Malachi

All metaphor Malachi, stilts and all.
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