I got to the office around two.
Empty water cooler.
Receptionist handed me a clipboard and a biro to fill out a form.
Took a seat.
Filled out the details.
Handed it back.
Andrew was a fluent English speaker from Brazil.
I know this because I asked him his name and he looked at me blankly, smiled, and went: ‘Yes….’
That’s when the fella doing the interviews arrived. Pink shirt. Late thirties. Lost the war on credibility a long time ago.
There was an office out the back. Would we like to go down? He could do the two of us at once.
We stood up.
Andrew went first.
It was supposed to be formal attire for the interview.
I was doing my best in a jacket from 2006 and a shirt from a funeral I couldn’t remember.
Andrew had me outclassed in worn jeans, sneakers, knapsack and chequered shirt. The interviewer’s name was Curt. Munster accent that was full of rhetorical questions and intonations like: ‘Ye’re lookin for work lads, ye are?’
Andrew smiled and said: ‘Yes….’
I nodded solemnly. Curt said: ‘Ok, we’ll need ye to be outspoken, confident, ready to be part of a team. We’re the kind of people that allows our employees to make as much money as they want, or as little as they want, up to them, d’yunderstand?’
We nodded. He went on. ‘Ok, Andrew, would you have a problem callin to people’s doors and tryin to sell them our products?’
‘No, I mean would you like to do it?’
‘How would you say your level of English is?’
‘Monday… to… Friday. All days.’
‘No, how is…your ENGLISH, how would your rate you communication skills?’
Five eternal seconds passed.
Then he said: ‘Yes….’
‘Ok, Andrew, thanks.’ He turned to me. ‘Michael, what about yourself?’
I told him a few things about myself. He said ok.
Took out a sheet of paper. Wrote down the pay scales. Three stages.
The first is the bottom but there’s plenty of chances for going forward.
In no time at all we could have our own teams. Eight weeks max.
Some do it in three. Twelve hour days.
You need to be hungry. Are ye hungry?
Andrew said: ‘Yes.’
I nodded solemnly.
Curt sat back. Appraised the two of us. ‘Ok, lads, it’s like this. We have a panel here today, and what we do is we put all the applicants together that we’re confident about and if we’d like them to come for a second interview we’ll call today between four and five o’clock, does that sound ok?’
I said: ‘What kind of products are ye sellin?’
He looked behind him, at the blank wall, like I was asking someone else. Then said: ‘We have a number of clients, in all walks of life, but we’re mostly doing charities at the moment…’
Walking out. Down the stairs.. My black shoes making noise on the steps. Andrew trying to find some water in his bag. I asked him: ‘What do you reckon, will you go for the job?’
‘For me this is difficult to understand.’
‘Twould be.’ I said.
‘Ok, goodbye now.’
And he was gone.