“Alright, where are they? There they are! Both of you on time, this is perfect.”
Mr. Tussen looked up and down at the pair of applicants waiting on the office bench and pulled out two resumes from his briefcase. He motioned for them to follow him as they walked from the waiting room to his office with double doors. This place had been a labyrinth for many previous potential employees, all of which were declined for the sought-after position. Mr. Tussen shut the doors and circled around his desk, fixing all of his accolades and degrees that were displayed on the wall. They were on the fifteenth floor, which was dedicated to only the higher-ups of the company. Each executive presented their diplomas and rewards with pride in their office. Every desk offered a career’s worth of acknowledgment; all except for one. The spot for Chief Operations Manager was still up for grabs. Mr. Tussen cleared his throat before speaking.
“So you are Adan and you are David, correct?”
The two twenty-somethings sat down as one said “Actually, I prefer Dave if you don’t mind.”
Without looking up at the papers, Mr. Tussen responded, “Alright, David. I see you two went to the same high school. Fun!”
“My name is Adan and it’s an honor and a privilege to be considered for this job. I am beyond excited to start for you, sir.”
“Thank you, Adan. We’re trying out a new method where the firm interviews two people at once. We’ll see if it saves time.”
“Hah! Good one, sir!” Adan batted his eyes and gave a smile. Dave suddenly remembered his former classmate’s astute talent of sucking up. Adan shuffled his shoes on the grey carpet.
“Well, it’s nice to see one of you guys being excited.” Mr. Tussen wrote a couple notes down then set aside the resumes. His chair squeaked as he leaned back to marvel at the two men in front of him. Their youth juxtaposed the bleak personality of the office, which only offered grey and darker grey hues. The most colorful thing in the room was the thin, red second hand of the clock above the door behind them. A plane passed outside as Dave took a chance to show his integrity.
“I’m just saving my energy for the job, heh.”
The awkward silence that followed was ended with Mr. Tussen saying, with no expression, “Funny.”
He slowly looked down and jotted notes, which was the perfect time for Adan to smirk at Dave’s mistake.
“Alright, let’s start this thing. May the best man win.” He raised his head and squinted his eyes. “So tell me about yourselves.”
Adan quickly recited, “Well David here was on the soccer team! In high school, and then he went and got himself a scholarship!”
Dave started, “Yeah, but-”
“Is this true?” Mr. Tussen leaned forward.
“It is, yeah.”
“Then why are you in an office and not a field?”
“I was left off the team-”
“He was kicked off, actually...unfortunately. He’s still a hard worker!” Adan nodded towards Dave.
“Kicked out, why?” Mr. Tussen said as he quickly scribbled away.
“They found personal things in my bag.”
Adan added, “It was paraphernalia, sir, it was-”
“I don’t need to hear it. Let’s move on. How did you hear about this position?”
“Well Dave probably saw it on his mom’s laptop in his basement,” said Adan. “That’s where he lives, it’s far away. Transportation might be a problem for him.” Dave sunk a little lower in his seat.
“He didn’t need to know that.”
“It’s fine, David. How did you hear about it?” he turned to Adan.
“A website that I’m loyal to. Loyalty is very important to me.”
“Glad to hear it,” Mr. Tussen said.
Dave attempted redemption. “Real quick, can I explain how I heard about-”
“Let’s move on. What is your greatest weakness?”
Adan bolted up. “My inability to fail. It’s the one thing I can’t do.”
Dave scoffed. “Well, I can be late sometimes. Depends on if my car’s in a bad mood.”
Adan rejected this. “It’s those kinds of snide remarks that you won’t get from me, Tussy.”
“It’s mister Tussen, thank you.” He furrowed his eyebrows and looked from man to man. “Next question is what do you think we can do better or differently?”
“I’d make a difference for the better if you hire me. You’d get the opposite from David, probably.”
Dave spoke softly when he responded with “I think the customer service could be improved a little.”
“You know, David, I started out in customer service. Your comment is noted.” Mr. Tussen broke the tip of his pencil when he added to his notes. He switched to a pen and continued writing. Adan’s fidgeting had an impatient rhythm. He spoke with a waspish tone.
“You see this side of him? Since we were teenagers, honestly.”
“Can we just do this normally? Maybe interview one person at a time?” Dave exclaimed.
Adan rolled his eyes a couple times as he chirped out “Oh, yup! Sounds like David, never willing to adapt.”
“We’ll finish this and go on with our lives, guys, come on.” Mr. Tussen flipped the page in his nearly filled-out notebook. “Last question; is there anything else about you that you’d like us to know?”
“David’s probably gonna use his breaks for misbehavior. One thing I’d like to end with is my extreme excitement to be a part of the crew. Can’t wait, boss!”
Adan folded his arms and lifted his chin. The dreary room was beginning to look colorful to him. Dave didn’t feel this or any type of comfort at this point in the interview. He felt like a hundred eyes were fixed on him, judging him and wondering where he got the foolish confidence to apply for such a job.
“And you, David? Any last thoughts?”
“I think it’s really great what you guys are doing here, and I’d really like to be a part of the team. I can contribute, and I’m reliable for any-”
The desk shook as Mr. Tussen stood up and stretched. Dave took this as his cue to stop talking. Mr. Tussen approached the window and looked out at all the other skyscrapers that were visible from his office. He held his hands behind his back and looked up to try to see the windows of the highest floors of the surrounding buildings. They all had endless stories that seemed to go up forever that made Mr. Tussen feel trapped. He looked away from the corporate scenery back to his two applicants. He looked like a parent about to drop the divorce bomb on their kid. He took one deep, heavy breath and cracked his knuckles inside his suit pocket.
“Listen.” Adan and Dave both looked attentively at what they respectively hoped was their next boss. Mr. Tussen ran both hands through his hair and kept them there as he spoke.
“From what I’ve seen and heard, both of you could do well here. However, I have to break it to you, neither one of you will be employed at this firm. We’ve actually reserved the spot for a relative of the CEO. These things happen, and these questions were more of a formality for us. I have to submit a whole thing of notes, you know, that was my role. Thanks for participating.”