The mail arrived early this morning. It’s Saturday and I don’t open mail at the weekend. There may be something that requires an immediate phone call to prevent (say) a horrendous miscarriage of justice e.g. bailiffs calling tomorrow or a request to pay £1,000,000 tax bill but it’s no use calling as the sender would be off for the weekend. Unfortunately, I glanced at the post box and it was enough to see that it was the usual bills, adverts and an item too big for the letter box folded and forced in. However, I saw a dreaded brown envelope. It could be from the DHSS, HMRC or some other FLA.
I left the mail in the box but it’s been playing on my mind all day. I rationalised that not all brown envelopes are bad news and so I decided to open the envelope. Reading it was quite another matter though, so I passed it to Pam to read to me.
Pam read it and became very pale and quiet.
She said “I don’t believe it. It’s some sort of crazy joke.”
By this time, I was wishing I’d not past it to Pam.
“What’s it say? Tell me now.” I pleaded.
“It’s unbelievable.” She repeated
“Pam, you’re really scaring me now. What is it?”
“It’s that marketing job you applied for. They want to interview you.”
“What, you’re joking. You were convinced I wouldn’t stand a chance.”
I blogged about the job a few weeks ago ‘OS014’. It was a Marketing job and Pam didn’t think I was up to it. Actually, she convinced me that it wasn’t for me but I submitted the application anyway, just to show her.
“How wrong were you Pam?” I gloated.
Feeling smug, I snatched the letter off Pam read it. It was my turn to feel pale. The interview is tomorrow morning.
“You’ve got to help me. I’ve not had an interview for years.” I begged. “What should I say?”
“Don’t panic Oliver. The questions are all pretty much the same. Let’s go through a few and you tell me how you would answer them.”
“Question 1 – What makes you want to work for our company?”
“You’re the only company to respond to my applications.”
“No you can’t say that. Go on the internet and find out what the company does. Are they a growing company with lots of development opportunities? Are they market leaders or environmentally friendly? Base your answer around something you like about them.”
“Question 2 – What would you bring to our company?”
“A desk clock, the novelty coffee mug you bought me for my birthday. Pens I guess.”
“No Oliver, you’re taking it literally. They are really asking what skills have you got that would help the company. Have a think about it.”
“Question 3 – What is your greatest achievement?”
“I guess when I hacked the government agency as a teenager.”
“That would be good.” she said sarcastically. “Any other criminal activity you want to confess to them about? Just think about your answer. They’re really asking how driven are you. What can you do if you put your mind to it? Also, have some questions ready. Show you have researched the company and are interested.”
“Thanks Pam that was very helpful I’ll have a think about it and do a bit of research. I’ll get better answers now I know what they’re looking for.”
I didn’t sleep much that night and before I knew it, the sun was rising and I needed to get up and go.
I arrived at the address on the letter. The building was huge, all glass, with a vast reception desk. However, they appear to have a small office on the thirtieth floor. The lift ascended to the floor at stomach churning speed and I entered the office. The receptionist was disturbingly cheerful singing out
“Hello, how can I help you today?”
I passed the letter over.
“Ah, Mr Sudden, yes, they’re expecting you. Go right in.”
I entered the office with the plaque ‘Boss’ on the door. It was cramped with three people one side of the desk. The ‘boss’ beckoned me to sit, pointing to a chair mostly obscured by coats hanging from a coat rack. I nestled in with a navy trench mac resting on my left shoulder and a quilted Parka on my right.
“Sorry about the office. We’re waiting to move into our new headquarters shortly.” explained the boss.”
There were the usual introductions, offers of a drink etc. and then they started with the questions.
Pam was totally on the ball with the questions, so much so that I thought this must be a stitch up but Pam wouldn’t do that. Would she?
“Questions 1 – What makes you want to work for our company?”
I’d found that the company is an energy company selling gas and electricity. There was quite a lot about the company online so I was quite confident in my reply.
“Well, I can see that you are a small energy company and you don’t utilise a lot of renewables like wind or solar. I’d like to join the company because there is plenty of room for improvement.”
They made a note of my response.
Question 2 – Tell me about your greatest achievement.”
“Well, when I was young, the ten-metre swimming award meant a lot to me. Also, in my last job I redesigned the production line and got a 3% increase in throughput on the ginger nuts.”
More notes. I think they were impressed.
“Question 3 – what would you bring to our company and don’t make it too big” he asked laughing
“You know, because of size of the office” he added
I should have mentioned that they had previously said that the job involved door to door selling. Really, I thought it was more of a desk job, maybe designing adverts etc for a marketing campaign.
Nevertheless, I answered “I realise it is door-to-door sales. I regularly do more than 10000 steps a day which means I can cover the distance required without a problem. Also have some Peter Storm waterproof walking shoes and I own an all-weather coat.”
Knocked it out of the park, I think. What could be more appropriate to the role?
“That was the last question. Do you have any questions you want to ask us?”
“You don’t know Pam Icky do you?” I asked still thinking that this may be a set up. I mean, the questions were exactly the ones she asked.
“No, why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason. I just thought she may have had an interview with you or something.”
It’s struck me that I didn’t really want this job. In fact, I don’t think I want to be employed by any company that would have me as an employee. Rather than announce my change of heart, I decided to abandon the job interview and asked;
“I see you’ve got a coffee machine. How much are the coffees.”
“Just a pound.”
“Ah, that’s good. Will I get a footwear allowance to play replace my shoes after say every five hundred miles?”
There was a period of silence and the boss spoke “I think I’m speaking for everybody on the interview panel here and would like to offer you the job.”
I knew I’d done well but I thought the last couple of questions would have changed their opinion. In a way, this was quite refreshing, not being able to throw away the chance of a job. Usually, it’s quite the reverse.
I had no alternative than to be obvious in my response to for the job offer.
“Thank you very much. Could I just use your toilet?”
I got up, headed towards the toilet, in reception and swiftly left the building. I just hope that I don’t receive a letter telling me about my start date.
“Byeeeee yelled the receptionist down the corridor.”
It would be great to hear from you. Drop me a comment (at the bottom of the page). Just some thoughts on possible subjects but feel free:
- Tell us about your worst interview.
- Are there any jobs you regret taking?
- How are you with interviews?
… Oliver Sudden
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This made me laugh, I think Oliver might have had the same interview as my friend haha
Glad you enjoyed it. I’d never make it in marketing. I tend to think I’m imune to marketing but then that’s probably how good marketing works.