Twenty One: The Interview – Part 2

Posted: November 30, 2012 in The Road to Skid Row

Dan stood over 6ft tall, was ripped like a jock and had a jaw like a vending machine with a crew cut to match. He shook my hand firmly and studied my application. I could tell by his poker face that he was the bad cop.

“An interview is a lot like a first date, Tom. You’re showing your sweet side to me, you know, and I’m showing my sweet side to you.” Jesus, this is his sweet side?

“But two weeks down the line, we’re going to discover things about each other we might not like. You know what I’m saying?” He brushed my nodding aside with a wave of his hand.

“When we’re in the trenches Tom,” he pointed to the deli counter where two girls were making sandwiches, “I need to know you’re going to be there for me, because things get tough in the trenches. When there’s orders flying in, lines of people waiting, that’s when the pressure is on. You know what I mean? So when we’re over there in the heat of it, I need to know I can count on you.”

“So I’m going to ask you a question now, and I want you to know I have decided to not to hire people based on their answer to this question. I have had people more qualified than you sitting in front me who, because they didn’t answer this question honestly, didn’t get the job. Okay? So think about this one: What is your weakness? What is going to show up in two weeks’ time that I need to be aware of?”

“Uhh, uhhh, weakness?” I was stumbling over my words. All of this for a cafe job?

“I make mistakes,” I stuttered. “The pressure gets to me and I make mistakes with peoples orders… it’s happened before.”

Dan looked me over for the pathetic specimen I was.

“We all make mistakes, Tom,” he said disdainfully before standing upright.

“Thanks for coming in today. We’ll call you in a few days and let you know how you got on.”

I walked out feeling like I had just undergone psychological profiling for the marines. A ninety minute interview? A smarmy good cop and a militant bad cop? The trenches? What just happened?

Three days later, Sven called me saying how much I impressed them. The job was mine if I wanted it. Sure, see you on Monday, I said. But I never showed up on Monday because I got another gig – a boat job in Long Beach Harbour.

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