Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Job Interview

“Are you an honest person?” Yes or No.
“If you found out someone in your family stole something from their place of employment, would you tell their boss?” Yes or No.
“If a $100 bill fell off a bank truck, would you return it to them?” Yes or No.
“Do you always tell the truth?” Yes or No.
“If a mail order company accidentally sends you an item worth $1, (along with your paid order) would you call them and send it back? Submit payment and keep it?” Yes or No.
“If all the other employees take damaged goods from the store, would you be tempted to do so as well?” Yes or No.
“If you were sure you wouldn’t get caught, would stay at the theatre and watch a second movie even if you only paid for one?” Yes or No.
“If you were a store owner and you caught an employee stealing an item worth $5, would you fire them?” Yes or No.

There were 100 questions like this.

I’d applied for a part time file clerk position at a home and garden supply centre. At the end of the interview, Alice casually asked if I’d mind doing a test.
“A typing test?”
“No. Nothing like that.”
“You know. This is like a nightmare I have every so often. That I’m writing an exam that I am totally not prepared for.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
“I even had a thought on the drive over here that I should have studied your website more thoroughly, in case you were going to question me about your mission statement or something like that.”
“Heh heh. Why don’t you sit over here? I’ll leave you alone while you work on this. Shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.”

One hundred questions. All dealing with my ethics, values and principals. All yes/no answers. No room for me to elaborate. Or justify. Or qualify.
Just plain ol’ black and white answers to fuzzy grey questions.

I had a good shot at getting the job before the test thing. And it wasn’t because of my filing experience, or filing education, or love of filing. In fact, I didn’t have much to do with why she was impressed with me. Resumes were to be dropped off at the head office 2 weeks ago. I short-circuited the process by looking up their e-mail address on their website, and sending it in that way. Apparently, it was printed off in one department and eventually made it’s way to Alice's desk. But on its journey through cubicle maze hell, someone looked it over and recognized my name. That someone phoned their sister and asked about me. The sister gave a “glowing” recommendation and strongly suggested I would be a great employee. So the someone added her sister’s comments to my resume.

A few minutes into my interview, Alice mentions that another employee in a different division thinks very highly of me, and recommended that I be hired. I was surprised, as I don’t know anyone who works for Rona.
“She doesn’t know you personally, but she’s heard good things about you.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know who that could be.”
“Her sister’s name is Anita. She used to work with you…”
“Anita? Man. This is embarrassing. I’ve never worked with anyone named Anita.”
“Well her comments are here, and she says some very nice things about you.”
After a few more minutes of hints and clues, it turns out it was not someone who worked with me, but someone who worked for Mark. Um. She was one of Sherry’s best friends when they worked together as secretaries at LC&T.

Awkward moment.

It passed.

(But now, hours later, I’ve got a smile in my heart, thinking how lucky I am that Anita would bother to say some nice things about me. She was Mark’s employee and Sherry’s friend, (although those relationships have since been severed) her and I were never close. Ah well. Next time I see her, I’ll say thanks.)

Anyways, I think I would have been hired on the spot, if it wasn’t for that blinkin test.
With some of the questions, there was no doubt how I felt. But others? Is a $1 mistake really worth the effort? Am I being hypocritical if I say I’m honest, yet don’t drive back to Safeway if they forgot to charge me for a bag of chips? One of the questions was, “If a vending machine gives you an extra item, do you pay for it by depositing more coin?”
I said “No”. So, would that make me a thief? Am I prone to stealing? Dishonest?

Maybe I should have changed that answer.
Imagine. Losing a job opportunity over a hypothetical malfunctioning vending machine.

Things that make me happy:
1.Freshly shaved legs on freshly washed sheets
2.Colours; bright,vibrant, bold, soft, muted, pastel, rich, gentle
3.The envelope icon that indicates I’ve got unread e-mail messages in my inbox

Things that make me grumpy:
Phone calls from fax machines.

Take care.

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