Wednesday May 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write an (or about an): interview answer.

Feel free to answer a question you asked in haiku form yesterday and consider this a little two day theme if you wish. Or you can take this in another direction entirely. Up to you, as always.

Me? I'm answering the question in my first haiku.


"Is... this a hypothetical question, or...?" I trail off because my brain has frozen and I can't come up with the opposite of hypothetical.

"I think you meant theoretical," the interviewer (Oh good, I've blanked on his name as well) replies with a wan smile. "Regardless, just answer the question please."

"Well... I guess my response - to the client, that is - would depend on who was asking." I'm trying to buy myself some time as my brain slowly comes back online.

"How so?" The smile has disappeared now. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or not.

"If it was just some guy my answer would be a quick and forceful No," I tell Ian. Yes, that's his name. Good. "You don't get involved in something like that with some blue-collar nobody, obviously."

"Mmhmm. Except we don't take on cases for nobodies."

"Of course not. Therefore my response would be dictated by two things." I lean forward and give Ian my hardest stare. "First: just how high up in society is this client? Clearly, the higher he or she goes, the more the scales tip towards Yes."

"And your second... consideration?"

"I'm surprised I even have to say it, Ian." I smile and relax back into my chair. "Before I bury any bodies, I'd want to know exactly how much the client plans on paying me to do his or her dirty work."

"Indeed." Ian regards me with a face devoid of expression for about five seconds longer than I'm comfortable with. Then he smiles, a dark and dangerous thing, and says, "Welcome to the firm, Mr. Lee."


Greg said...

Heh, you found an answer to the question that wasn't "How deep?"! Though since it sounds like your interview candidate is applying to be a lawyer I'm not entirely surprised that the answer was "How much are you paying me for this?" :)
There are, as always with your writing, some lovely details in there, including the loss and recollection of the interviewer's name; I think I've been in that position before as well! Ian's smile is a fantastic image too.

Calum sighed. There were always "show us how you'd do this" questions in these interviews; he was sure when he'd started out the questions had been easier, more along the lines of "Can you build a wall this high with these bricks? (Answer: no, those can only be used for walls up to ten feet high and are better used for decorative work anyway), or "Given a blueprint like this, can you put the sewer pipes across the shortest distance (answer: no, the smallprint says that the printing presses would be directly above the sewer pipes then, and that's going to get messy. And smelly.) But now he'd been presented with a lego construction of buildings and asked to show how he'd go about demolishing them.
He did admire the little lego dynamite packs. They must have had them custom made, and they even had the detailing of black and yellow caution tape wrapped around their tiny grey cylinders, but he'd never seen that in real life. Usually the most you got was "do not shake" on the cardboard box they came in.
He sighed again. If he had two more dynamite packs this would be easy, he could get all the buildings down with the one detonation.
"Are you finished yet?" The interviewer, a severe-looking woman with a lazy eye and only three fingers on her left hand poked her head round the door.
"Almost," he said, twisting a dynamite pack between his fingers.
"I'll get a coffee and come back."
As the door closed he wondered if he could have asked for a coffee himself, and decided he didn't need it. He turned the lego construction round, and suddenly he realised how to solve the problem; from the original angle he simply hadn't seen how close the buildings were.
The interviewer returned and sat down. "Are you sure?" she said. Calum nodded.
"Let's find out." She pulled another board out from under the table and connected it to Calum's; her's had a little red plunger on it. She pushed it down with a finger on her right hand, and the little dynamite packs exploded with sharp cracks and puffs of smoke. The lego buildings toppled, smashing into each other and reinforcing the damage to the supports, until just lego rubble remained.
"Very nice," said the interviewer. "See Jennifer on the way out and she'll do the paperwork; you start today."
"Today?" Calum sat upright, startled.
"Yes," said the interviewer. "We'll be using that pattern tonight to remove some awkward tower blocks, so we'll need to provide you with protection. Um... you don't live in Scobie Square, do you?"
Calum shook his head, it was a poor, run-down, heavily populated district.
"Good... I'd avoid going there tonight, by the way."

Anonymous said...

Wow, Marc. You've completely outdid yourself on this one. I am really intrigued as to what kind of firm this really is.

Interview Answer:

“The mishen statement of this compony is very important to me. I want to help you change the world. I want to make a diffrnce. I believe I can help your team to do that.”
The lady in the grey skirt and vanilla blouse smiled down at the applicant.
“Thank you very much. I’m afraid we cannot hire you at this time, though.”
The applicant screamed in outrage. “Why not?”
The lady simply shrugged. “You’re only six. Come back to us when you’re a bit older and we’ll see.”

Marc said...

Greg - I felt challenged and inspired by your suggestion that 'how deep?' was the best reply :)

Heh, the image of the Lego getting demolished by the little dynamite packs is wonderful. I shall think of it every time I play Lego with Max now.

Ivy - thanks!

Haha, the outraged scream was unexpected, but then you turned right around and explained it perfectly in your very next line. That's well done!