Queen Elisabeth II: the strange “dead fly test” that its employees pass

the essential To have the privilege of being in the service of Her Majesty in the United Kingdom, you must pass and above all pass the “dead fly test”. Few candidates succeed.

To be part of the staff of Elizabeth II, the candidates are handpicked as one can imagine. Serving the Queen at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or Sandrigham House is a privilege that demands impeccable presentation, attitude and attention to the 95 year-old Sovereign.

Candidates who apply are subjected to a battery of tests including the “dead fly test” or in French “the test of the dead fly”, as revealed by the head of royal recruitment, Tracey Waterman, in the documentary ” Sandringham: the Royals at Christmas “, aired last year on Channel 5 .

The manager places a dead fly to see if the candidate notices it. “One of the tests I like to offer, to see if a candidate has an eye for detail, is to place a dead fly, either in the fireplace, or on the carpet. Once the dead fly is positioned, I bring the candidate into the room, “says Tracey Waterman in the documentary. She continues: “I lead them into the room, slowly, so that they have a chance to spot the insect. I hope then that they will notice it, and I hope, pick it up.”

If this test may seem trivial, it is eliminatory in recruitment. “In ten people, half will notice the fly. And finally, only one in ten people will bend down and pick it up,” says the hiring manager.

If the test is successful, the interview continues with, why not, a hiring contract. Serving Queen Elisabeth II is paid 22 500 € net per year, room and board, for 30 hours per week from Monday to Sunday.

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