14 Jun 2003

The Eliminator

The next round of the selection event took place on Tuesday. I have been reeling from it ever since!

They left me in a room. There was a desk, a PC, a phone and chair and a static camera observing my every move.

A laminated sheet of paper described the task: I needed to draft proposals for developing new contact strategies for 2004 in the form of a report. I had 45 minutes to complete the assignment and could use the facilities in the room.

It seemed easy enough. I set about having a brainstorm, writing down all the crazy things that came into my head: “the job’s mine”, “I can piss all over this task,” “Lot of lip service to keep Bernardo happy is all that is needed,” etc.

Then the phone rang. I looked directly at the static camera as if it should answer it. “Hello”

“Hi. We have had a major system failure. The main call parallax of the ACD has collapsed. We are not receiving any calls into The Call Centre.”

“Thanks for the information,” I replied, “but I am in the middle of an interview at the moment, can you tell some else to sort it out.”

There was a silence at the other end.

“Thanks.” I hung up.

The phone rang again. I ignored it for about 5 minutes and continued doodling on my pad. I couldn’t take it any more so picked up the receiver, “What?”

“There is a high level, director on the phone, he has a complaint about the ‘on hold’ music, he knows that you are in and wants to talk to you immediately.” I recognised the voice, it was Bernard doing his poor Terry Wogan impression.

It dawned on me that it was all part of the test. I accepted the call from the customer and dealt with the query: “Of course not everyone has the same taste in music – it is different strokes for different folks – one person may object to pan piped versions of The Beatles, while others are asking for details of the album.” I went on and on for about 30 minutes on the subject and seemed to be making a strong impression Bernard who was acting as the customer.

In mid-flow, someone entered the room and said that “time was up” and switched off the camera. They took the notes I had made. “I haven’t done anything about the report yet. Those notes are useless.”

“They are all part of the thought process, so they will be useful.” He said.