Based on a true story…
He stood there dressed up the smartest he’s ever been. His brand new suit his mother bought him. Fresh faced, baby faced. Ready to kick some ass at his very first interview.
This was to be his second ever job. His first being a cleaner at the college he also studied at. After deciding to leave college his dad helped him get an interview with a computer company, doing customer service. Call centre work. He hadn’t done anything like this before, he was practically fresh out of college.
The job was based in his hometown, the other side of town so a bus ride and a long walk. He didn’t mind, the job was handsomely paid.
He walked into the building and politely checked in at reception. He waited for his interview to begin. 15 minutes they had him waiting in the reception area. How would they have liked it if he was 15 minutes late?
The longer he waiting the more nervous he became, he never had an interview before so he had no idea what to expect. But eventually he was called into a meeting room, just him and a guy named Dave.
Dave shook his hand and introduced himself then invited him to sit down.
“Water?” Dave said.
“No thank you.” He said nervously.
The interview soon began and Dave began asking question after question, he struggled to answer them confidently. In life he is probably one of the most charismatic people you’ll ever meet but the moment he stepped into this room he froze. He lost his charm, he lost his edge. What had happened?
He soon began answering questions the exact same as he answered the previous one.
“So what sort of person are you?” Dave asked.
He stared blankly and replied, “I’m just a calm sort of bloke… Yeah just really calm.”
Dave nodded and wrote something down on his clipboard. “Right okay… And what would you consider to be your biggest strength?”
“My biggest strength?” He pondered, he took far too much time thinking of an answer. “Well I suppose my biggest strength would be the fact that I’m just a calm person.”
Dave with a puzzled look on his face nodded again and proceeded to write down something on his clipboard, probably something like, “This guy is definitely not getting the job.”
“If we gave you the job, what qualities would you bring to the team?” Dave asked.
“Just a good level of calmness I suppose.” He replied while clenching his fists. He certainly did come across as a lunatic. As like someone that was about to snap. ‘A good level of calmness’?! What kind of answer was that!? Inside his mind he was screaming at himself for being an idiot.
He tried but there was a mental block. The rest of the interview didn’t go much better.
Why did he keep answering every question with the word “calm”?!
“What do you think is your biggest weakness?” Dave asked.
He replied instantly with, “Sometimes I can be too calm.”
“Okay that’s it for my questions, do you have any questions for me?” Asked Dave?
Not knowing the rules about interviews his first question was, “Yeah how much is it an hour I’ll be getting paid?”
Followed by, “What sort of holidays will I be getting?”
And finished with, “What are the hours?”
Terrible questions to ask in an interview! But he knew no better. Dave answered them regardless as he already knew in his mind that he wasn’t getting the job.
“Okay well thanks for your time today, we’ll let you know.” Dave said. The two shook hands and he walked out of the building. He lit up a cigarette knowing what a major screw up he had made.
‘We’ll let you know.’ He whispered to himself as he walked towards the bus stop.
But you know what? They never did.
Now whenever he has an interview he thinks back to this day and he makes sure he never ever uses the word “calm”.