I Don’t Do “80%”!

Yesterday was “D-Day” part II; I had the aforementioned job interview at that big company. I’ve spent quite a few days doing “homework” on them, and studying Google Maps to make sure I wouldn’t get lost on my way there (I have a special talent for getting lost), so I felt really prepared. Yay me! So yesterday, I got up, had my coffee, got suited up, slapped on some make-up, put on a pair of heels and off I went. I had to take a train to a station nearby them, and from there it would be a 13 minute walk, which I had not only memorized, but drawn and written down as well. Just in case.

Everything went perfectly according to plan, until the walking part. According to Google Maps I’d have to take a right on a certain road, but that road was never found. Nevertheless, I found the place, although the walk took me 25 minutes. I was 30 minutes early, which I figured would look nice because they all love punctuality. So I entered the lion’s den, received a “visitor” pass from one of the ladies at the front desk, and waited. Unfortunately, punctuality was not the strongest suit of the two I had the appointment with, so I had to wait a bit longer than expected. No big deal, I wasn’t really nervous anyway, and there was enough to do with all the people walking by.

Ten minutes later, a woman walks up to me, leads me into a sort of glass box that’s supposed to be the interview room, and tells me to stay put until she gets her colleague. A few moments later, the party is complete, and we can get started. She tells a little bit about the company structure, and how it’s still a bit of a chaotic company. I reply by telling her that chaos is my favourite work environment – not a lie by the way. Then she asks me to tell something about myself, and I start blabbing, about where I live and my current job (didn’t quite mention that I’m not working any more), and that I love challenges and learning new skills. And then the questioning begins.

“What do you think you can learn here?”

“Well, I think I can learn… Uhm…” *blabs something about how it’s a different branch so I must be able to learn how this branch works or something*

Oh shit. Then they disagree with me that it’s really different, and I’m thinking, “you have no idea what you’re talking about”. But okay. Whatever. More questions:

“If we talk to your colleagues, what will they tell us were your strongest points?”

“Hmm, I have to say I’m not really good at talking about my strong points. But I think they’ll tell you I’m very driven, and very thorough.”

“Okay. So what are your weak points? Points that you need to work on? That must be easier.”

“Well… I’m a little impatient, I don’t like it if I need somebody to do something for me and they’re really slow.”

“Oh really? And what do you do when that happens?”

“I tell them nicely that this is important and it needs to be done within a certain time limit. The trick here is to let them think they’re doing something really, really important. Then they’ll do everything you say.”

True story, I promise. I expected them to be totally wowed by this insight, but they just stare at me like I’m some kind of lunatic. But then the best part starts; the “what ifs”:

“So what do you do when you have, let’s say, a deadline on Friday, and you need somebody to do something for you, but they don’t have the time for it? Because everybody has their own priorities.”

“Well, I try to get them to do it anyway. And if not, there’s always a Plan B, another way to get the results you want or need.”

“Okay, but what if you have 80% finished?”

“I don’t do 80%.”

“Fine, but what if you have 80% and you need to hand it in?”

“Then I give 120% next time.”

“But you can’t always give 100%. It’s a hectic, dynamic environment here. We’re satisfied with 80%.”

“Well, then I guess giving 80% is what I can learn here.”

People, believe it or not, but I was totally flabbergasted. One of the biggest Dutch companies is living off 80% of work, commitment and whatnot. For a moment, I thought I was stuck in some kind of Twilight Zone or something like that. Then the guy asks me the following:

“So what would you do if you’re organising a huge discount campaign, which will be in the newsletter, and in the end it turns out that your supplier didn’t send the goods yet so they won’t be there in time for the campaign?”

“Like I said, I always have a Plan B. We take it out of the newsletter, replace it with Plan B, and then I’ll contact the supplier to see what the hell he’s doing. I’ll probably get away with an extra discount, because we had an agreement here, and he didn’t hold up his end. At least, that’s how it usually goes when something like this happens. I can be very convincing.”

Again, they’re staring at me like I said that I will go out and murder the supplier or something. But in my experience, if you’re a good client, the supplier will do everything to keep you as a client. And I can be very persuasive; I guess in a way I’m a professional bitch.

They rushed through a few more questions because it was almost lunchtime (very professional, huh?), and then I was free to go. They said that they’d discuss the interview, and they’ll call me next week. I politely thanked both of them for their time, and got the fuck out of there. I’ve had a few job interviews before, I swear to god, these were the most boring, arrogant and humorless people I’ve ever met. I’m somebody who likes to brighten up the mood by being funny. They didn’t even smile. They do know how to market themselves though; if you read the “working with us” page on their website, you’d almost think working there is like working at a Dutch version of Google. Newsflash: they lie.

All in all, I don’t think it was a big success. But to be really honest; I couldn’t care less. I can hardly remember the last time somebody made me feel so small, and I’m an ass for letting “80% people” make me feel like that. I don’t need to learn from them; they need to learn from me how to give everything.

Thanks for reading, I hope I’ve managed to make some of you laugh. And if not, I know the perfect work spot for you! ;)