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Job Applicants Made To Dance: 'Like A Scene Out Of The Office'

Ricky Gervais, who played the role of boss David Brent in the original British version of <em>The Office.</em>
Associated Press
Ricky Gervais, who played the role of boss David Brent in the original British version of The Office.

It sounds like something out of a sitcom; in this case, the original British television version of The Office: job seekers being compelled to dance for a chance at a sales position at a U.K. electronics retailer.

Applicant Alan Bacon, who hoped for a position at a Currys Megastore in Cardiff, was made to do "rubbish robotics in my suit in front of a group of strangers" to the French electronic duo Daft Punk's "Around the World."

Bacon was quoted by The Mirror as saying that "another middle-aged guy looked upset as he danced to a rap song."

"Everyone thought it was a joke. But they were serious," Bacon said.

The applicant said he'd spent the week before the interview researching the company "and looking forward to being able to express myself and talk about what I love doing."

Instead, it might have made more sense for him to hit the nightclubs and brush up on the latest moves.

"It was degrading, but I am desperate for work, so I just smiled and got on with it," Bacon said, adding that he told his father it was "like a scene out of The Office."

Currys Megastore issued a statement Thursday apologizing for the hiring incident:

"We are extremely disappointed that one of the management team at the store in question did not follow our official recruitment processes.

"We are extremely sorry to those interviewees impacted; all are being asked to attend another interview where they will be given a proper opportunity to demonstrate how they can contribute to our business."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.