So recently, I was given the task of writing my CV as a short story. I did so, and a lot of people like what I had written. So, I figured I should share it on my blog, and here it is.
The Job Interview
Once again, I find myself venturing out towards a job interview. Naturally, I’m wearing a shirt, tie, trousers and shoes. The unseasonably warm September weather only served to increase the discomfort of such an outfit, but it is completely necessary. After all, first impressions are important.
I step into the building and come face to face with a female receptionist. She looked bored out of her mind, though she perked up upon realising a visitor was present.
‘How can I help you?’ she asked.
‘Hi, I have an interview here,’ I replied.
‘Right. If you’d like to take a seat, someone will be with you in a few minutes.’ She indicated towards a waiting area, where I sat down. I went over the usual interview questions in my head, mentally preparing myself for the ordeal. Actually, I shouldn’t think of it in that way… the fact they called me in for an interview shows that I am suited for the role, they just need to see how I am as a person compared to my CV. I’m an honest person, and I like to believe that my CV reflects that.
Eventually, a man in a suit came out of an office and approached me. I stood up as he did so and offered him my hand. He shook it in a firm grip.
‘Hello. You must be here for the interview, correct?’
‘Right, if you would like to follow me, then.’
The man in the suit led me into the office, where he sat down behind a desk. He gestured towards the empty chair opposite him, so I sat down. The interview had officially began, so I steeled myself for what was to come.
‘Now, our interview process here… it may be a little different from what you expect. Think of it as an informal interview, if you will.’
Ha, I’ve heard that one before. Of course, I don’t let my thoughts out and simply replay with a nod.
‘Since our company has fingers in many pies, you will be required to perform a few different tasks. Your CV shows that you are an intelligent young man. Actually, your CV forms the basis for this interview.’
‘OK…’ I really don’t know where he is going with this.
‘If I could hire people based on their CV alone, you’d be guaranteed a job. However, we like to see if the person really does match the CV. So, first, I’ll need you to follow me again.’
‘Right…’ We departed the office from a different door, and he led me to an area that had several CDs, DVDs and video games piled up on a desk.
‘From your CV, you have previously had work experience in HMV, correct?’
‘Yeah. It was for a week during secondary school,’ I explained.
‘So what does “processing stock” entail?’
‘Oh, well, I would be putting price stickers on the stock.’
‘That’s what I’ll have you do here, then. I’ll give you about five minutes, and we’ll see how many you can do.’
He was right when he said that this wouldn’t be a standard interview. Regardless, I agreed to the task and immediately set about doing as requested. I didn’t get through the entire stock, but I did manage a fair few. It wasn’t exactly the most taxing task, to be fair.
Once the five minutes were up, the interviewer stopped me. ‘Hmm… I see.’ He scribbled some notes down onto a piece of paper, and then walked over to another door. ‘This way next.’
I was led into an area that was unmistakably a warehouse. I suddenly got a grasp of what this interview was about, and that seemed to show on my face.
‘Judging by your expression, you’ve realised the methods employed in this interview. Now, it is time for you to put your picker experience to use. We’ve actually managed to replicate the handheld scanner system you are familiar with, so get to picking. One crate should be sufficient.’
‘Right.’ I picked up a handheld scanner and turned it on. After getting past the start screen, I saw that there was a timer counting down. As quickly as I could, I loaded a crate onto a trolley and searched around for the area displayed on the scanner’s screen. I located the item, scanned the item and loaded into the crate. The rest was simply repeating the method until I had filled the crate. All the time, the interviewer watched. I couldn’t get a read on him, so I had no idea how I was performing.
After filling a crate, I returned to the interviewer. He looked over the items and quickly checked the handheld scanner. Once more, he jotted down more notes. I certainly was curious about what he was writing.
‘Now, you have one final task,’ the interviewer revealed.
I had thought that the warehouse task was the last one, but apparently I was wrong. There was no other work experience on my CV, so I wondered what I could be facing.
‘Once again, follow me.’
We arrived in a room filled from end to end with computers. I was instructed to sit down in front of one and switch it on. As it booted up, the interviewer asked me to write something. My CV mentioned me being a keen writer in the hobbies and interests section. I couldn’t help but wonder if music and video games would be included in this bizarre interview as well.
‘Er… is there anything specific you want me to write?’ I inquired.
‘Hmm…’ the interviewer checked my CV. ‘You write reviews of anime?
In that case, how about a quick review of your favourite one?’
Whilst I certainly love anime, I couldn’t possibly pick out a favourite. It seems my face betrayed my thoughts.
‘If you can’t pick a favourite, why not the most recent series you’ve watched?’ The interviewer suggested.
‘Yeah, that’s probably best,’ I agreed. Since the computer had fully loaded, I opened Microsoft Word and immediately turned my thoughts to the last anime series I had watched. Within the space of a couple of minutes I was tapping away at the keyboard. Since I was able to touch-type, my eyes never left the screen as my fingers danced across the keyboard. The tapping of the keys filled the otherwise silent room.
It was only a brief review, but I believe I managed to cover everything. Once I had finished, I let the interviewer know. He sat down beside me and read through the review.
‘Huh, I just might have to check that one out,’ he muttered.
‘Anyway, that’s all the important parts of the interview covered. We’ll return to my office and do the standard questions thing.’
I was definitely gutted that video games and music didn’t play a part in the process, but it was hardly surprising. Though video games do help me with my critical thinking, they aren’t necessary for employment.
We returned to the office, where I sat down in the chair once more. From there, the interview took on a more standard form. Of course, the first thing I had to do was tell the interviewer about myself. Words like conscientious, intelligent and dedicated came forth from my mouth. In any other context, I’d consider talking about myself like that as arrogant. It’s all true, though.
When questioned on my strengths and weaknesses, I had to admit to being quiet. It was clear that the interviewer had already realised that about me. The interview workshops I had been attending were helping with that.
Another question I tended to stumble on was ‘where do you see yourself in the future?’ As I’m the kind of person who prefers to focus on the present, I’d never normally give this much thought. Having an answer prepared for this question is practically a requirement for a job interview, though. I simply responded that I hoped to be a key member of the team, having proven my worth and advanced through the ranks. It may have been vague, but at least it was an answer.
‘Right, well, any questions for me?’ The interviewer asked.
I hated that part. I know I should ask questions, but I’m never quite sure what questions. I simply started by inquiring about training. The interviewer informed me of the company’s training programme. Next question concerned opportunities to advance, of which they were many. Since it also seemed to pay to take an interest in your interviewer, I asked how I entered into his career. His answer wasn’t anything special, but then it didn’t have to be.
With no more questions, the interviewer ended the interview. Just like many before, he told me he would be in touch. I stood up and shook his hand, thanked him for the interview and then departed.
As I walked home, I reflected on my interview. It was definitely unconventional, but I simply performed as best I could. If I got the job, great! If not… well, there would certainly be plenty more opportunities.