I showed up on time, which means a few minutes early, and had to sit and wait. Again, like a date. Then I met “Lucy” who invited me into her office for the interview. It was slightly surreal.
We ran over some of the basics and then I got this question, “How would you describe yourself?”
For me, this is an impossible question. She might as well have asked me to calculate Pi. I actually laughed out loud and said, “Well, I can give you a 30 second answer or a 30 minute answer but I’m guessing you want the 30 second answer.” This, of course, is a bluff, the truth is it will take me 30 minutes just to come up with an answer that makes sense. I’m stalling.
“Well, I like sunsets and walks on the beach, I love big sweaters on cold days and long chats by the fire on dark, wet days.”
That’s what I wished I’d said afterwards but instead I mumbled through something about being a dad, a husband, a friend, creativity, people, blah, blah, blah. 30 seconds or less.
I would say that I’m probably my least favourite subject to talk about if I wasn’t writing a blog about, well, me.
A few more Oprahesque questions before we got to that part of the process when they ask if you have any questions for them. “Is there anyone as old as me that works here?” “Oh, you’re not old.” She said, as she quickly looked back down at the application form and my resume. “There’s a mix here.” She said. Not that I’ve seen on any of my visits but o.k., I’ll take her word for it. I really don’t want to work somewhere I get nicknamed, “Gramps”.
At the end I’m invited to set an appointment to come in and take another test: a computer simulated call centre ‘experience’. I also need to take a typing test. So I see the receptionist Rhonda and set up a time for the next day.
So I show up the following day. Rhonda takes me in to the computer, gets a chair for me, explains everything very well and then gets me started on my simulation.
I was hoping for a holo-deck or at least some funky glasses with earphones that puts you in a 3D world. But no.
Just a program that is supposed to last 45 minutes once I click ‘begin’. The simulation asks me about me, including whether I’m male or female. Later, when the simulations begins, I realize “my” voice in the sim is decidedly feminine and I freak for a second that I indicated I was a female on the ‘about me section’ which could lead to LOTS of confusion later on.
Once the program is running it amounts to, mostly, irate callers who are at various levels of pissiness about something wrong with their bill or a delivery or something. And then am given four possible responses that I have to rate each response on a scale from Very Ineffective, Ineffective, Somewhat Ineffective, Somewhat Effective, Effective, to Very Effective. This, again, is completely not me. It works or it doesn’t work. Once something sucks who cares if it sucks less than the other thing? Just don’t do it.
Some of these are really great and I laugh out loud, scaring the people in the cubicle farm around me because they can’t hear what I hear and I can only imagine that if the simulation is accurate, most of the people working here are living on the borderline of phone rage.
“My credit card interest rate is too high (don’t ask why they use this sim for iPod support please) you guys are ripping me off and you better transfer me to someone intelligent so I can get this fixed you pimple faces moron.” Was roughly how the sim went. My choices ranged from, “Listen butt face, I’ve got all your personal info here so unless you want me to destroy your credit rating after I shop on-line for some very expensive gifts for myself and then come around your place at 38 Winchester Ave. and kick your dog “Tiger” and slash you’re the tires on your ’05 BMW, you better change your tone with me real fast!”
“I understand you’re upset sir, let me see how I can help you with that.”
They were looking for “ineffective” and “effective” not “satisfying”.
The worst was the sim call form a lady that wanted to increase the limit on her credit card from $5,000 to $10,000 for her trip to New York where she wanted to ‘see everything’. There was no response option for, “Save your money for a year and then you won’t have to pay our extortionist interests rates that will make you wish you’d never heard of New York.”
On the other hand, I did 57 wpm on my typing test and Rhonda the receptionist said I could become a secretary with that. So, I’ve got that going for me.
Now I wait to hear back and see if my SIM marks were good enough to get the job.
Off to another interview now…