I sat in my car, watching snow whip around the nearly-empty library parking lot.
Did I screw up? Maybe the open interviews were cancelled?
I decided I could only wait and wonder… until I saw the library finally open 5 minutes before 12PM, and people showed up in droves. Suddenly, my worries turned to the competition. Better, at least, to get ahead of them.
I strode inside, and found the right place on the second floor
People swarmed about. I was directed to fill out a bunch of forms. They prodded about any traffic infractions, which I found odd.
Finally, I sat in front of the head recruiter, a middle-aged blonde woman. She took one look at me and asked, “Can you cut your hair?”
“Yeah.” While working as a sign-spinner, I had let it grow to almost shoulder-length.
“… Can you cut it now?”
She explained that the warehouse was stuffed with machinery and moving parts. My potential employers might worry about my hair getting caught. Plus, she reasoned, they’d prefer a more clean-cut look anyway.
“You’re my guy!” she affirmed
I could sense the shift in the energy – I knew I was in. Suddenly the room full of competition took on a new light. The recruiter was looking for just a couple people who fit the bill, and that was a tougher gig than I thought, even with the mass of applicants.
Suddenly, a woman sitting nearby chimed in, giving me directions to a local barbershop.
First comes the shift, then the stars align. I was enjoying the ride…
… but I had to hustle. This was just the first step. The next would take place at the company’s warehouse. And I had to squeeze a haircut in between.
I thanked the recruiter, darted out of there, and drove to the barbershop. There, I explained I needed a crew-cut fast… and a potential job depended on it.
For the next few minutes, I watched the locks of hair I’d grown over the past couple years, fall to the floor. Then, looking slightly spiffier, I sped to the warehouse.
The lobby was packed with applicants, patiently waiting for their second interview to begin
My confidence remained full-blast. Only a couple men were in the room (I doubted any of the 100-pound women were applying for the truck-loading position, which turned out to be an accurate assumption).
The HR guy, Bob, called me into his office. I immediately felt relaxed as we conversed.
I made sure to emphasize how I broke down and cleared out offices in my previous job. Sure, it was only near the end, but it directly related to unloading trucks.
“Did you ever transport the gold?” Bob asked.
Hmmm, I thought to myself… and then remembered the day I helped take it to the post office, when the owner let me borrow his SUV for an interview.
“Yes, I did, one time,” I said.
“Okay, so they trusted you… ” he said, while scribbling on his papers.
The dude was sharp
I made it to the next round, and quickly learned the day in the warehouse wouldn’t be so much an interview as a crucible of physical and mental tests.
Two other guys and I were lead through the heart of the warehouse, into another office. There, we were given timed tests to figure out number sequences and match certain names together. Both tests had four-minute time limits, and finishing on-time was impossible, by design. I admired the ingenious way to judge our abilities.
Before leaving us, Bob said, “We’re going to hire two or three guys so you don’t have to kill each other.”
I plowed through both tests. Of course, taking a test is one thing. Performing under “live fire” is quite another… as I’d soon discover…
Then another man, Ted, sauntered into the office. Each one of his arms looked about the size of my legs.
He asked us a few questions. One candidate, a large Hispanic man named Salvador, answered first and I jumped in second. The other guy spoke last, and began his answer with “I won’t regurgitate… ” Heh, not a good word to use. I could sense him slipping out of the running.
We were herded back into the main lobby. Bob popped in through the doorway, and asked to speak with the third guy.
We never saw him again
But the day was just beginning. Next, Salvador and I were lead back into the warehouse – this time for the weirdest part of the “interview” I’d ever experience…