How do you get on a Centrelink officer’s good side in interviews?
This may sound silly, but its true; Any time you have an interview with a Centrelink worker make sure you have all your papers in an officious-looking document holder or diary. Be very precise and organised in your manner and only say exactly what you mean and what you have to. There is nothing that those people love more than someone that looks like they’ve got their shit together and often this will make them more prepared to help you cut corners or ignore minor details that are often hard for artists to hurdle.
This sounds silly too, but I sometimes bring up stories about the crazies at Centrelink I’ve seen (customers) and how bad, abusive etc. it gets sometimes – it maybe reminds them that YOU are not so bad after all, and somehow you’re on their side. Make it seem like your not just out of art school, or that art schools give a good sense of what it takes to get a job (even if they don’t).
I find that the best way to approach interviewers is to go to them expecting that they will help you. Give them a run down on all the various initiatives your attempting to get up: grants, organisations your approaching, exhibition proposals, documentation etc. Bring them on board by telling them how they can help you, computer acess, grant writing assistance, access to reproductive technology etc. Often they don’t realise that artists work across a lot of fronts simultaneously. The advantage to this is that it leaves less room for them to take control of your vocational ambitions and often if they cant help you directly, it provides the opportunity for you to tell them who can and it can make them generally far less intrusive.
When calling in at Centrelink especially after your first visit, I always take with me a ‘concertina’ type file where not only do I have their info, but also I have it ’stuffed’ with anything just so it looks bulky. they are either impressed or intimidated and either way,if you are polite thay tend to try to help you. The concertina files are cheap and you can get one from the local newsagent or perhaps try a brief case etc.
It’s best to attend them. That way it gets crossed off the computer. Never ever answer either Yes or No to their questions. Give a few maybes, or explain difficulties with your current situations. You can get out of most things by stating religious reasons. If they pry, and it’s none of their business, say “Buddhism”.
It helps if you are a member of a local Buddhist Society. (they will try anything).
I truly am a Buddhist, so there’s no way they are going to force me to pluck chickens.
They are trying to process you into certain checkboxes. When I walk into one, I fix my mind on suicidal thoughts, don’t shave for a few days or shower, walk in with shoulders drooped and when they ask “How are you?”, I answer “I’m sick” and actually act sick, teeth chattering and so forth.
They’ll offer water. Which I suggest you accept.
It puts them off guard.
More interview tips are found in “Keeping Grants and Sales Income”
3:30 am by Intern in Uncategorized
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