My interview was scheduled for 9am at the tallest office building Cyberpark. For it, I wore my dark blue power suit and a pair of black pumps with a matching stewardess purse — a confidence-boosting combination that always made me feel I could accomplish the impossible.
After years as a PR assistant for a small media outfit, an Account Manager position for the local affiliate of the biggest public relations company in the world is the one thing I covet more than anything. More than a new iPod. More than a red Jaguar convertible. More than a high-end Blackberry.
Two women were waiting in the conference room when I got there. Mrs. Arcilla was the HR Manager who I had met at two previous interviews. The other was a tall and somber-looking woman, Mrs. Castillo, the Account Management Division Vice-President, who was to decide on my future in this company. Or absence therof.
Pleasantries dispensed, Mrs. Arcilla jumped to the business at hand. “Okay, Bea, tell us, what is your greatest accomplishment so far?”
As I began my response to a question that all job hunters rehearse for, my eyes made contact with Mrs. Castillo’s. They glared back at me, brows askew, strained. Either she does not like me or she is badly constipated.
Twenty minutes went by without Mrs. Castillo saying a word. By then, I had produced my weight in sweat and lost all hope in getting this job.
Mrs. Arcilla barked yet another question off an index card on her right hand, “How do you handle an uncomfortable or inappropriate question from the press received at a press conference? Or if you’ve never experienced that, just tell us how you are at managing awkward situations.”
“Now I remember you.” Mrs. Castillo finally jumped to life, snapping her fingers. “You’re Susie Hocson’s daughter!”
She knows my mom? Sweet! “Yes, I am, Ma’m. How do you know my mother?”
“I went to college with her!” Mrs. Castillo smiled. “She was one of my closest friends back then.”
“Wow. Really?” I managed. I am sooo getting this job!
“In fact, I just remembered meeting you before…”
I will be the boss’ pet even before I get hired!
“…It was at a children’s birthday party thrown by one of our mutual friends. You were only 15 years old or so, at the time …”
I made an impact on her, even then! It doesn’t get better than this!
“… And I remembered you so well because …
Of my sunny disposition? My radiant personality? My contagious enthusiasm?
” … I heard you call my four-year old son a ‘little sh*t’. Or was it ‘little f*ck’ — I can’t remember.” Having dealt her blow, Mrs. Castillo leaned back on her chair and locked her fingers in front of her. “I do remember I haven’t spoken to your mother since.”
“Okay, so…” the HR lady finally broke the uncomfortable silence that seemed to have lasted as long as the last Jennifer Lopez movie. “My last question…” Mrs. Arcilla nervously flipped her index cards, and tried to muster some composure. “Oh, there it is. So, Bea, how are you at managing awkward situations?”