Back on the Soapbox

My bachelor weekend is almost over. I went to the writing cabin early with a few goals in mind. I want to make some headway on the next Dresden Files novel, and to edit more of Arson.

My main character in Arson is a firefighter who loses everything. Others take control to help guide him. He’s at the point where he must stay the course to see some kind of Justice served, even if he doesn’t have all the skills he needs. It’s a point of no return. He’s my afternoon plan.

I settled into my office and Lisa* brought round some coffee and mini muffins. I dug into Harry Dresden with relish. There’s just something about winged monkeys throwing flaming poo, you know.

I found myself rereading sections. It isn’t Butcher’s fault, he a great writer. I was distracted. I had a conversation with my daughter yesterday that stuck in my gizzard.

“Lisa! Bring me the soapbox,” I yelled.

“Right away, boss. It’s in the basement,” she said.

Her rushed steps reverberated through the cabin as she left her upstairs room and rushed to the basement. She tromped in wearing heels, those tight knee length jeans, and a bathrobe.

“Don’t you put the shoes on last?” I asked.

“No. Nobody taught me any protocol on how to get dressed. You’ve never complained about my work attire.”

“Good point.”

She placed the soapbox in the middle of the office floor and went to finish dressing.

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Here I go again

My daughter is 20 years old. She hasn’t been in the workforce that long, but she still has the first job she ever had, and has worked as many as three places at once. She holds three jobs, she doesn’t work them at the same time. She’s the kid who comes to work; rain, snow, piss or blow. She pulls extra shifts and covers people who call in sick. These are mall jobs, and she’s set a few sales benchmarks at a couple stores. In other words, she’s a good employee.

She’s into clothes and cosmetics. She’s starting beauty school in a couple of weeks. When she found out that Lush cosmetics was opening a store here she was manic.

She called them and explained how she’d been ordering their products for years and loved them. She’s very familiar with their line and can talk knowledgeably about it. They made an appointment for an interview, and for a sales lead job too.

She got dressed and fixed herself up for the appointment. It turned out to be a group interview. She said that’s kind of common in retail, but was shocked to find twenty people there. She said there’s usually about five. Lush held three such sessions that day too.

They started off by asking if anyone knew anything about Lush cosmetics. She said it turned into some kind of Jerry Springer fiasco with everyone shouting over everyone else. She doesn’t play that game and sat patiently, and professionally.

They wanted them to split into groups. One group had to role play between customer and salesperson, while the rest of that group critiqued what they saw. She said the critiques were catty and insulting.

She wound up in the drawing group. They were told to draw a picture of how they were feeling today. The drawings were going to be presented and critiqued too. Then the groups were going to switch. She doodled on her page for a bit and walked out. They asked what she was doing and she told them, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

She explained it to me this way. There is no situation where any sales people are going to have to draw while on shift. She knows it’s an assessment tool, but it proves nothing. It doesn’t show salesmanship, knowledge, or work ethic. The role playing had a smack of reality TV, including being booted off the island. She felt like the human beings who showed up were being made to dance like puppets on a string.

I don’t know about you, but I’m open to new ways of doing things. I appreciate that getting through about 60 or so applicants might require some creativity. Isn’t that what resumes and applications are for? Interview the ten or so that look the best on paper.

Assess their skills using some role playing. The interviewer can play bad customer. I just don’t get it.

I’m sure Lush will open on time, and stock their shelves with products my daughter genuinely loves. They’ll have a full sales staff of extroverts who love attention, and possibly a lot of drama based upon what my daughter saw.

What they won’t have is one introvert who’s a lot like her old man. They won’t have the kid who loves the product and uses it herself. They won’t have the girl who set a few sales records. They won’t have the dedicated employee who goes to work despite the weather, bloating and cramps, and last minute invitations from friends.

I don’t get it at all. This reality competition interview process should have failed at the beta stage. I’m sure they’ll land a few decent employees, but I doubt they’ll get all that many. In around 13 years American Idol managed to find two legitimate stars. They only went through about a billion hopefuls to do it.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’m back to my scheduled plan.

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and works for me at the writing cabin these days.

12 Comments

Filed under Muse, Uncategorized

12 responses to “Back on the Soapbox

  1. This is really sad to hear. Unfortunately more and more interview processes are going this way. If it’s the LUSH that’s based in Poole, England then I too love their sales products and I have to say their staff as helpful friendly and knowledgeable about the products. They can be a bit too enthusiastic at times but hey, that’s sales. Perhaps your daughter should give them some feedback. 🙂

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  2. Good for your daughter to walk out on that fiasco even though she would have loved to work for that company.

    I’ve heard of…and participated in…”group” interviews before, but that’s where I, an individual, was being interviewed by a group of people from the hiring firm. And yes, it was kind of stressful because they were peppering me with questions, as if I were testifying before a Congressional committee. But at least it was me they were interviewing and were focused on. I would not have participated in an interview that was more like a game or reality show than an interview process.

    Again, kudos to your daughter for having the courage to get up and walk away of that nonsense.

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  3. It sounds to me as if your daughter was rather more professional than the store. Sorry to hear she had to go through this. But fair play to her for leaving. If I was being interviewed and it was like that, I would too. What’s more, if I was the interviewer, she’s the one I’d hire. It may be that Lush end up with quite a high staff turnover initially, your daughter could still be in with a good chance of getting a normal interview a few months down the line but I’m guessing she might not want one after that.

    Whatever the outcome she sounds as if she’ll do well. Wish her the best from me.

    Cheers

    MTM

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  4. Jim Lambert

    Well said, Craig. I’m interviewing people for work right now and I’m having trouble figuring out what to do there. I would never consider anything like that. One applicant at a time, although we do usually have more than one interviewer. Skills usually get you to the interview and being a “good employee” is what we try to look for.

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  5. That is a really weird interview and your daughter made a good call in leaving and in letting them know why. Hopefully they’ll go bankrupt in the next few months and she will get to see that she really dodged a bullet. Good for her! 😀 YAY, Team Boyack!

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