Short Story: The Weird Interview

The interview was weird. He said this with the confidence of one who had participated in many sessions in a very short time frame.

Three interviewers and six applicants sat in a large meeting hall, each with their own table and water bottle 1.5m apart as per social distancing regulations. That wasn’t the strange part. After a year, they were used to the changes brought about by the pandemic.

The strange part was the content of the interview. The only prompt they were given was to ‘xertz‘.

As an older man forced by drastic circumstances to change his industry, he knew he was at a disadvantage. He peeked discreetly at the other applicants. Surely the younger ones would be familiar with the new slangs.

But no one was moving, just sitting still with various levels of confidence. He would get no help there. Unfortunately, he was going to have to expose his ignorance.

“Excuse me,” he broke the silence, “What does xertz mean?”

“It means ‘to gulp something down quickly and/or in a greedy fashion’,” one of the interviewers said.

Ah. That explained the water bottles. A strange request, but not difficult to carry out. He untwisted the cap and downed the whole bottle in three large gulps.

When he looked around, everyone else had already finished drinking or was about to. The interviewers scribbled into their notes, thanked them for their time, and dismissed them. Jaded by his many unsuccessful attemps, he kept his expectations low and turned his attention to his next interview.

He didn’t expect to receive a phone call one week later.

“I got the role? But why me?” he can’t help but blurt out. The other applicants had been younger with much better relevant experience.

“You were the only one willing to ask for clarification. That shows humility and teachability, both qualities we value in our company.”

The unexpected praise made his cheeks warm. He rubbed the back of his neck.

“Please check your email for your contract. We will appreciate it if you can update us with your response within the week.”

At this point, he’d take anything he can get, but he also knew enough horror stories to be wary. “I will.”

He hung up, double checked to make sure that he definitely hung up, then gave in to his excitement and cheered loud enough to startle his dog.


Genre: slice of life

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