Thursday, September 2, 2010

My First Interview and Two Half Days

So the second half of Tuesday was quite okay. I hung out in Hannah's room for a while, and something weird was going on. Hannah was being nice to me. I wanted to see what would make her tell me to leave her room, so I asked her to do or let me do increasingly bizarre things. She even let me touch her laptop (she usually hates it when people touch her laptop). Also at one point I told her that I thought it was impossible to wear underclothes over normal clothes, but she proved me wrong and looked ridiculous while doing so. I should have taken a picture for blackmail, since she has a video of me dancing that is absolutely cringe-worthy. Anyway I stayed in her room until she had finished cleaning it up and it looked nice and tidy, then I left.

I had planned to go to bed early, but I ended up playing RuneScape and reading Cracked until a little after midnight, so I was only in bed by 12:45. Oh well.

The next day was Wednesday. I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 7:45am. I did my daily Bible reading and climbed the stairs. I still felt a bit sleepy, so I set my alarm for 8:40am and got ready for another quick nap. Before I did that, though, I read the newspaper and realized that Tuesday had been Merdeka Day. I hadn't realized. Oh well. Happy belated 53rd to Malaysia, I guess.

The nap was very brief but very, very helpful. When my alarm woke me up, I took a shower and freshened up by shaving and deodorizing teeth-brushing and such, and then I changed into some professional-looking clothes and I was ready to go. I grabbed my phone and my wallet and my transcript and my resume which I had printed the day before, and then I borrowed Ian's keys, put my stuff down to tie my shoes, and left.

It was only 9:15am so I had plenty of time before I was supposed to arrive at 10am. I decided to stop by a petrol station to get some petrol and mints for Ian's car. A little after making that decision I realized that I had left my résumé and transcript on the coffee table at home, so I had to turn around and get those.

By skipping the stop for fuel and mints, I managed to arrive at 1 Tech Park just a couple of minutes after 10am. I went to the second floor for the interview, but I found that access required a key card. I went upstairs to the third floor and I was told to sign in and go back downstairs and knock.

So I went back to the second floor and knocked. Sure enough, someone showed up to open the door for me. I asked if Jack was in, and I was told that he was. I introduced myself to him and told him I was there for the interview, so he showed me in to the interview room.

He asked me some questions and I tried to answer them. I didn't do too well, but fortunately for me Jack is a cool guy, so he told me what I had done wrong and how to interview better next time. He told me to avoid speaking too casually, he told me that I should go for a part-time position (I hadn't realized that there were differences aside from work hours between full-time and part-time), and he told me that I should always, always have a pen.

After that, he gave me a quick brief on what I would be doing if I got the job. The company I'd be working for is called Datacom. Basically, Datacom provides IT solutions. To quote their company mission, they are "Passionate people providing creative quality solutions." Recently, they'd also started running call centres (or contact centres, to quote their site). These call centres do work outsourced from other companies. The one I'd be working in would be doing work for Roy Morgan, which is this big research company. My job would be to make calls to New Zealand and ask random people to take a forty-question survey.

Once the brief was done, I was handed a bunch of forms to fill in. There was stuff about my education background and personal details and such like that, and there was also a place to fill in my answers to an English test which I was also given.

While I was filling the stuff in, someone else was being interviewed. He was even less prepared than me, though, so that made me feel a bit better. After a while, Jack left, which was unfortunate because I had a few questions about some of the stuff that I needed to fill in, and I didn't know who to ask.

I decided to fill in what I could and then take the test. The test was easy for three reasons. Firstly, relative to most applicants, my English is really good. That's probably due to all the books and articles on the internet I read, and also due to it being practically the only language I speak. Anyway, the second reason is that the test is relatively pretty easy, too. I'm pretty sure that my first semester English quizzes were more difficult. The final reason that the test didn't worry me was because despite clear instructions not to, someone had written their answers on the test paper. I know I could have passed even without the answers, though. Besides, the person who had written on the test kinda sucked at English (not surprising considering they failed to comprehend the basic instructions), so they got a few answers wrong. But yeah, unless I made a careless mistake somewhere, I'm pretty sure I got everything right.

After that I had a bit of a struggle coming up with who to use as a reference. I remembered working in a store that belonged to the son of the reverend at my church, but that was a long while ago. I gave the reverend a call, and he gave me his son's number. However, he failed to tell me his son, Eusoffe, was in Cambodia. After what was probably a very expensive phone call, I managed to get the number of the store and the guy who was currently running the store, Arthur. I called the store but nobody remembered me, which I had anticipate, so I called Arthur and was pleasantly surprised to find out that he still remembered me. He told me that he was currently driving and would call me when he reached his destination.

While I was waiting for Arthur to call me back, the lady who helped me out from my last visit (Shamini? I'm gonna go with Shamini for now and when I know for sure I might come back and fix these posts) passed by. She came in and answered my questions about the forms and helped me fill almost in everything that I was unsure of. She told me that since I was a student, I could use a lecturer as my reference instead of a previous boss. I thanked her for her help as she left, and then I called Mr Joel to ask if he was okay with me citing him as a reference. He was, so I had everything I needed to fill out the forms, or at least enough to show them to Jack.

I brought them to Jack and told him that I had filled in everything except the bit for previous and expected salary. He told me not to worry about it, so I didn't. He then told me that I'd have to take a typing test.

The test was pretty simple. Applicants would have two minutes to type out as much of a given text as they could, and then their speed, in words per minute (WPM), would be calculated. The goal was to get at least 30 WPM. Jack told me to take as many tries as I needed and to call him when I got at least 30 WPM. Elo had posted in her blog that when she went to interview, the standard was 25 WPM and Arun (and maybe Milan, too) had to have multiple tries before he finally got the required speed. I got 70 WPM and 100% accuracy on my second try. I would have passed on my first try, too, but I made some mistakes half a minute in which would have landed me with 62 WPM or something, so I just cancelled and started over. Anyway I guess that's why those guys have girlfriends and all I've got is a blog.

I went to tell Jack, but he was busy, so I went back into the room. I considered retaking the test and trying to beat my score, but I decided against it since 70 is a nice number and I didn't want Jack walking in while I was in the middle of a test. Instead, I texted Arthur and told him that I had already found a reference, but thanks anyway. He had tried to call me ten minutes earlier, but I hadn't noticed because my phone was on silent mode because my ringtone is not very professional at all. It's a mash-up of California Gurls and Tik Tok with the timing altered so the song has a swing beat. So... Yeah.

After a while, Jack came in to check my score. He asked me why it was so fast. I think he may have thought that I had cheated or that there was some kind of computer error. Anyway, I just told him that it was because I got a lot of practice.

Jack told me that everything seemed good so far, so they would be calling me back for an aptitude test. I asked him what that was and he told me that it was basically another interview, but with other applicants and role-playing and stuff to see how well we'd react in the type of situations we were likely to face. He said that since there were almost enough applicants, it might be possible to have the aptitude test right that day, so I had a seat while he went to check.

It was a comfy seat, and the room it was in was nice. I wish more of my waits were in places that nice and comfy. I didn't mind that wait at all.

Jack returned with my transcript and told me that the aptitude test couldn't be held that day, but he would call me and tell me when it was. He told me to bring a photocopy of my transcript and my IC next time. I thanked him for the interview and left. The whole thing had taken around an hour and half.

As I was pulling out of the parking spot, I got a call from a withheld number. It was Jack, and he was calling to tell me that the aptitude test would be on Monday and they expected me at 10:15am.

I drove over to Pusat Bandar Damansara to get my stuff photocopied at WN and also to get a tasty lunch. Along the way I texted Elo to thank her for her help getting me the job. When I reached PBD, the traffic was terrible and there was nowhere to park, legal or otherwise. I gave Jan a call and asked him if he wanted to join me for Subway. He did, so I told him to be downstairs in ten minutes.

After collecting Jan, I told him the plan: we'd find somewhere illegal to park, then he would wait in the car while I got my transcript and IC photocopied, then he'd order Subway which we could eat in the car. There were no parking spaces to be found, though, so we ended up parking at HELP and walking to where we needed to be. Before we left the car park I realized I had left my transcript in the car, so I went back for it for the second time that day.

As we were walking through HELP, I met Tanuj. He had been in Calculus with me during my first semester. I asked him how he was and what he was doing. He told me he was working on the second year of his psychology degree. I told him that I had just finished an interview. We wished each other well and went about our day.

I took Jan through HELP's corridor and told him stuff about the college. He told me he couldn't wait to go to college himself. He also told me he thought that people were looking at him because he was so unusually handsome. He's quite vain, but judging from his recent success with girls, he probably had the right to be.

Anyway, we went to WN and I got my stuff photocopied. I also bought a pen, since you should never be without a pen in the professional world.

After WN we went to Subway and I had probably my best sandwich ever. It had plenty of meat, its bread was liberally doused in olive oil before toasting so it ended up being golden-brown and crunchy, it had so many onions and enough olives to be delicious, and the black pepper went on the meat and not the vegetables (you would be surprised how many times I've had people put pepper on my vegetables). Its only flaw was that it wasn't a footlong. I guess I'll save that for when I pass the aptitude test.

When I had finished eating my sandwich, I glanced over at my photocopied IC and remembered that my new IC should be done by now. I checked my wallet for the receipt that I had gotten from the JPN, but I got distracted by the fact that my IC was missing. I realized I must've left it at WN, so Jan and I went over to get it back. Fortunately it was in the care of the lady there and not her perpetually-grumpy partner, so we were okay.

When we were walking back into HELP I noticed that the entrance to the level that lay between HELP and the street was open. Jan and I went in to explore. It was a long corridor of abandoned shops that had been closed for a long while. It was dim and creepy but at least it explained where all of the college's cockroaches and the occasional rat came from. I had thought we could exit from the fire door at the other end, but all the exits were locked and barricaded. I wondered whether it was because they were trying to keep something out or keep something in and which would be scarier, but then I realized that we don't live in a horror movie so I stopped caring.

We left the way we came in and walked back into college. The first person we saw when we got back down was Nadiah. She had gone with Effie and me to MTV World Stage last year. I had driven her back home afterwards, actually. Anyway, we said hi and asked each other what we were doing with our lives. She was taking a break for a while. She asked if Jan was my brother, and I said yes, and she said that he was so cute. And also small. Jan was haunted by those comments for the rest of the day, trying to figure out what they meant.

I also met Sam from my Physics classes. He was playing Fallout 3 with all sorts of mods and add-ons. He told me that he was currently doing his degree in Psychology, but in-game he had just started an evil character and was killing raiders in the metro. Nearby, Shaun Joel was playing Just Cause 2. I felt like watching that game, but I don't know the guy well enough to justify watching his laptop instead of Sam's. Besides, his name freaked Jan out.

As I left I was greeted by someone I recognized. He was one of the more well-known guys of the January intake, and he may or may not have won best dressed at the annual ball. He also knew my name. I didn't know his, though, so I just said hey and walked away with Jan.

I drove back and went on my computer for a bit, then I hung out in Hannah's room as I read through all my Bahasa Kebangsaan material. I then decided that I wanted to sleep early, so I told Hannah I wouldn't be making a blog post that day.

I went to my room and watched a program on the History Channel about the Al-Ma'unah arms heist. I did my exercises during the commercial breaks. It was a pretty damn interesting documentary and I'm surprised I hadn't heard about it earlier, especially since it happened in Malaysia only ten years ago.

Anyway, after that I took a shower and I was in bed by 10:45. I woke up almost twelve hours later and I haven't really done anything all day except write this blog post. I'm supposed to do my hardcore studying of Bahasa Kebangsaan today since my final exam is on Saturday, so I guess I'll do that sometime after this.

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