Jack had been unemployed for several months, and today like many other days he was out driving around. But this day at least he had an interview scheduled. It was a Burgers R Us; any job is better than none after all. Ten minutes, that was all he had left before the interview was due. The traffic went at a steady slow pace, but he didn't have far to drive. Looking at the clock in his car, it was 1:58. Should he just turn back and do something else? Last time he arrived at an interview only five minutes late and was told to come back again...on time. The traffic had stalled thanks to the rain and the lights, but Jack was relieved when it started moving once more. To his relief he arrived at 1:58 pm, which is a world away from five minutes late.
There were a few people sitting on benches. "Did someone already talk to you guys, or give you an application?" The man in front of him was older, probably in his late 40's, "No, I just got here myself."
Jack looked around at the others and a younger guy spoke up, "Just go inside and ask for an application." Simple enough. He opened the door of the building and looked around. The restaurant looked like any other fast food joint, except this one was setup only to be a workshop, outside was where customers could eat; shaded by a roof.
A heavyset lady who looked to be the manager came out of no where, "Can I have an application?"
"Do you have two dollars?!" she said in a serious tone. Jack was speechless and just looked back at her puzzled, holding the door open. He was waiting, waiting for her to be done with the gimmicks and give him what he wanted. The lady waited for a reaction, perhaps hoping for him to say "Oh...OK, here's two dollars." When she got nothing she promptly handed him an application. "Thank you." said Jack as he walked to a nearby bench.
That must have been a test, if there is one thing boss's like to do it's mess with peoples minds. Jack felt he passed. One victory so far. As he wrote on the application he overheard the boss lady doing interviews. One by one young applicants answered scripted questions the manager only asked because she had to. It was easy to tell, because she almost seemed rushed as she asked the same questions over and over. One of the applicants was a young woman. Near the close of her interview the boss asked her the dreaded question: "What is your greatest strength and what is your greatest weakness?"
In reply the girl went on to say how wonderful she was, she was this, she was that. You couldn't blame her, she was trying to sell herself. Jack smirked as he listened on, he was going to try something different; a tactic he had heard about that actually worked. Being honest and somewhat blunt. When the question came to him he replied "Alright, I could sit up here and tell you how wonderful I am, but I'm not gonna do that. I will just give you examples." With that he went on to tell her concrete things he had done at his last job, as well as how he interacted with and helped fellow employees. In the end he figured that evidence carries more weight than mere assertions.
The lady smiled as he talked. Another victory. He left the interview on a good note, whether he got the job or not really didn't bother him. Just mastering an interview was good enough. A job would be an unexpected bonus.
For everything is only a lesson to be used for the next time.