Free Flash Fiction: “Notes On My Recent Job Interview With Your Firm”

Started in 2013, recently revised, and finally (I think) just right. 1130 words.

Notes On My Recent Job Interview With Your Firm

Dear Nancy from HR,

I am writing with answers to the survey I found attached to your letter. I realize they were mailed to me several weeks ago, but I was unavoidably detained during that time, and unable to respond earlier. I have been advised by medical professionals that answering your questions in depth may only amplify the strong feelings of unease I have been experiencing since my interview, but lately I feel oddly compelled to complete any paperwork put in front of me.

Please bear with me, as your form has limited space for additional notes. Some answers continue on the back.

1. How clear was the information you were given before the interview?

C. Moderately clear

After a pleasant phone call asking me to appear for an interview with your firm, I was emailed an itinerary which included the names of staff members I would be meeting, as well as a schedule of events. While I admit that a few of the items seemed strange, I assumed this was your department’s attempt at job-related humor. In hindsight, the schedule was extremely accurate, and I accept the blame for not realizing “Enter Applicant Tracking System” meant I’d be injected with a radioactive tracer. (The bruise has mostly faded.)

I gave you a score of “Moderate” here because the directions to get into the building were confusing. I arrived outside of the Tower fifteen minutes before my appointment, only to find that none of the entrances opened from the outside. I circled the entire complex, knocking on doors and even a few first floor windows. I barely made it back around in time to see an employee gain entrance through the door I’d started at. He heard my yells, I’m certain, but did not wait. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in before the door shut behind him, and make my way from there to the receptionist’s desk.

2. How long did you have to wait before your interview began?

A. No time at all

I’m torn here between “no time” and “extremely long”, because even with the help of talk therapy and medication, I am still uncertain as to whether the entire course of events was the interview, or if it never actually began.

3. How did the staff great you?

D. Slightly warmly

The young woman behind the front desk greeted me by name when I arrived, but refused to leave her station to direct me to the elevators when I asked, even though the lighting in the hallway was flickering in and out. After much insistence on my part, she stood, took two steps in that direction, and stopped suddenly. With a pained expression on her face, she pointed toward the darkness, and said, “Fourth floor”. I never did find out what the clanking noise under her desk was.

4. Did you meet with the staff member(s) listed on your itinerary?

It’s possible that I did meet with the correct staff, but at no point did anyone identify themselves by name. At least one portion of the interview was conducted by large figures in hooded robes.

5. Did the staff answer all of your questions?

E. Not at all

I was never given an opportunity to ask questions. I attempted to find out, for example, why I needed to fill out an application form while suspended over a tank of what I can only assume were thousands of piranha, though the frothing water made it difficult to be sure. No one answered when I begged for help climbing out of the snake pit after successfully alphabetizing the files you inexplicably keep there. However, when I screamed, “Oh God, no, not the kittens!” during the unusually violent grammar examination, I did hear a voice call out, “That’s an exclamation, not an interrogative!” so I admit it’s possible I was phrasing my questions incorrectly.

– Please excuse the change in ink color. The other pen was rendered unusable during my last episode. My time in your building was understandably stressful for me, and I cannot blame the orderlies for acting quickly given my reaction to Question 5. After taking some time out to think about what I’d done, Dr. [REDACTED] and I feel I’m ready to continue with the survey. –

6. List five adjectives which you feel would best describe your experience at our company:

Confusing, menacing, disturbing, dangerous, life-threatening.

7. Was your experience at our company better than you expected it to be, worse than you expected it to be, or about what you expected it to be?

E. Much worse

Nancy, I cannot express to you how horrible the events of that day were, even though we’ve decided to increase my dosage until I’m ready to be moved to an outpatient facility. I do have several drawings that I made during art therapy. I think they express my emotional state better than words could. Dr. [REDACTED] needs to keep the originals for my file, but he has promised to make copies and send them along with the completed survey form.

8. How likely are you to recommend our company to people you know?

E. Extremely unlikely

Your employees are easily startled by strangers and bright lights, suggesting a Vitamin D deficiency. At one point I attempted to escape through a window, but found them to be hermetically sealed (I believe this is a violation of municipal fire codes; you may want to look into that). No one working nearby made any effort to assist me. If the interview is any indication, your firm’s work environment is profoundly unsafe. After careful consideration, I do not believe my coworkers from my previous office would have survived.

9. Would you like us to keep your resume on file and consider you for other positions?

A. Yes

The police did inform me that no one has ever filed a complaint about your hiring practices before. The employees they spoke to cited both job security and opportunities for advancement as benefits of working there. The competitive salary and benefits package listed in your advertisement certainly seem appealing, and in this economy, that’s not to be taken lightly. I have carefully considered this answer, and despite my therapist’s desperate exclamations begging my to reconsider, I would like to schedule another interview, at your convenience. During my remaining time at the Center, I plan to focus on the relaxation and hand-to-hand fighting techniques which will surely make me a more effective candidate.

Thank you, Nancy, for this opportunity to review the events of that day while in a nurturing and medically-supervised environment. I look forward to hearing from you again, soon.

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