How to fail an interview and still get the job

By CLARE DOVER, former Daily Express Medical Correspondent

The short version is that all I had to do was to pick up the phone and walk next door from the Daily Telegraph to the Daily Express. This spanned four months, with an awful lot of nothing in the gap while waiting for Editor Roy Wright to get round to interviewing me.

Health Correspondent James Wilkinson had gone to the BBC, so I rang Tom Brown on the News Desk and said I wanted to jump ship. “Great, I’ll tell Arliss ...Yes, we want you, but you will have to be interviewed by the Editor.”  A sum was mentioned, in the region of double that on the Telegraph, where they took the view that young ladies worked for pin money.


The big wait began. News Editor Arliss Rhind, pictured left,  became fed up with having no one covering health and told Roy Wright I was having second thoughts and wanted more money. “Offer her more,” Wright told him. This was repeated one more time, with the price of jam tomorrow rising once again, while I obsessed about whether this was pricing me out of the market.

Eventually, I was called for interview, but I do not think Wright knew I was coming. “Who are you?  Why are you here?” The tone was that of someone encountering an interloper. 

Having decided not to call security, he relaxed a little asked what I was doing now.  I told him about the Daily Telegraph and Wright said he never read it. “Well, you should do. It is a jolly good newspaper,” I snapped. 

Changing the subject, he asked: “Date of birth, education”. I started telling him about university, but he interrupted, “no, no, tell me about your education”, looking happy for the first time when I started talking about Church Walk Infant School, Ulverston, Cumbria. 

The pen slipped out of his hand and started rolling across the floor, with Wright chasing it on all fours, and getting down on his knees to scrabble for it as it rolled under his desk. I got the giggles. Wright glared. End of awful interview.

Arliss told me not to worry as now that I had seen Wright, everything could go ahead.

Drone note: Roy Wright was fired as editor shortly after Trafalgar House bought the paper in 1977.

A whale of a time at university 

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre