Chapter 15 : How to Ace an Interview
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A/N: Thanks for reading guys! sorry for the wait (again, I know :-/) but hopefully you'll like this! please review, ive had some really good ones recently, and I got my 200th as an author (eeeeeeeeeeeeehhh!) So very many thanks for anyone who has ever reviewed one of my stories!!
I sit uncomfortably, adjusting the gray pant suit that I had forced myself into that morning. At least I had forgone the heels, opting for the much more comfortable and reasonable loafers. I had coaxed and brushed my hair to be straight and shiny, nervously tucking it behind my ears every few minutes. There were two other people in the waiting lounge with me, the three of us waiting for an interview with Preston Gibbs, the Big Boss at Apparitions Literary and Journalism Company. I had no idea what positions the others were applying for, or how many openings there actually were. I know some people would be like, ‘with only two people, this will be a piece of cake!’ but after watching about twenty people come and go already through the office with varying levels of emotional success is intimidating. That’s right, twenty-something people. Now there was just me, some dude with hair styled into a fancy swirl atop his head, and this chick with glitter stilettos and a huge flower in her hair.
I breathed in and out, playing with the big clasp on the old leather briefcase I stole from my dad’s closet while he was passed out on the couch. It made a satisfying CLUCK every time I opened and closed it again. The receptionist shot me a dirty look and I stopped, closing my eyes and telling myself to relax, remembering the tips Al had given me.
“Just make sure to be yourself while being professional and calm.” He advised at the pub last week.
I raised my eyebrows. “Are you sure this is possible?”
He smirked. “Ok, just try your best, and if anything happens, just remain as cool and collected as you can.”
“Cool and collected, got it.” I nodded.
I definitely do not feel cool and collected now. I feel like projectile vomiting my cap’n crunch breakfast all over the chrome coffee table that had multiple editions of various Apparition publications. I picked up one, recognizing the title as one Al had spoken to me about recently doing an article for about the Andes.
I flip to the article, finding the words, By Al Potter.
The heroically tall snowy Andes mountains rise above the line of foggy clouds, looking like dangerous white caps on the Atlantic during a hurricane, only frozen in time and more permanent. The natives here are the most robust and rustic that I’ve met-
His writing is good. Better than good. It’s clear, distinct and sounds like Al. For some reason, this helps my heart to slow down a little bit and my palms to stop sweating a little.
The door opens and a very composed woman in a khaki skirt and jacket comes out. Her hair and skin is immaculate, and her expression blank as she calls the wavy haired man into the office before leaving.
It is now just me and flower-girl left with the receptionist. She clears her throat.
“So, what are you applying for?” Flower-girl asks.
“A job.” I answer. What does she mean? Are we supposed to have something in mind specifically?
She laughs. It’s a cute laugh, high and trilling, much unlike my chortle.
I’m not sure why she’s laughing, but I feel inclined to make conversation to save the situation from even worse awkwardness. “What about you?”
“I’m applying for a job in the radio department. On-air talent hopefully.” She grins.
I nod. “Nice.” I say, and start to chew my thumbnail, but stop myself. After a few minutes of small conversation, flower-girl gets called in, and the fancy hair dude leaves in a huff.
I tap my feet on the wood floor, then get up and start pacing the room. The receptionist looks up, rolls her eyes and goes back to whatever she was doing (I have a hunch it’s reading the Witch Weekly she’s trying to hide underneath some paperwork).
“Taylor!” Someone whispers down the hallway. I snap my head towards the sound. It’s Al, at the water cooler.
I smile and wave. He walks over, his hands in the pockets of his somewhat casual slacks. “Hey” I greet.
“Hey! Have you gone yet?” He asks.
“No, I’m next. Dead last, of course.”
“Best for Last, right?” He smiles encouragingly.
“Sure.” I say.
“You’re gonna do great, don’t even worry about it. Gibbs is going to be all over you.”
I smirk. “Well I would hope not all over.”
He laughs, realizing what he said. “Yeah, that would be an issue.”
“But, I mean, who wouldn’t want a piece of this pant suit?” I joke.
The receptionist looks like she wants to say something, but then shakes her head and goes back to reading the article about the ten sexiest wizards of the year.
Al Laughs and gestures towards the receptionist.
I laugh. “Whatever. So what are you working on?”
“I’m working on an article for the next edition. I’m mainly researching for the trip I have to take to Scotland for the article. I’m actually just finishing up to leave, but I saw you and figured I’d wish you luck.”
“Thanks, I’ll need it. That sounds really fun though! You’re going to Scotland?”
He nods. “Next weekend. There’s a couple of lakes that are just known to wizards that I’m exploring.”
I really hope I get this job.
“Yeah, maybe when you get a job here, you’ll be able to do some freelance stuff too.”
“IF I get the job.” I state, emphasizing the ‘if’.
“You will.” He winks at me. “I’m sure your dazzling charm and wit will win them over quickly.”
“You mean my loudness and my terrible composure?” I ask, laughing.
“Sure.” He says, laughing.
The door opens and Flower-girl comes out of the office. A graying man in a tweed suit steps outside the door.
“Mr. Potter.” He nods towards Al.
“Hello Mr. Gibbs.” Al says, still laughing slightly.
“And I assume you must be Ms. Ackhart?” He says to me.
“Yes sir.” I say, picking my briefcase up from the table.
“Come into my office and we’ll have a little chat. What do you say?” His eyebrows go up slightly as he asks a question.
“Sounds all good to me, sir.” I follow him into the room with the massive mahogany desk and comfy chairs. Al waves goodbye to me and gives me a thumbs up before the door magically closes behind me.
Mr. Gibbs reaches out to shake hands with me, taking one of my hands in both of his large, strong ones. “Really nice to meet you, Ms. Ackhart. Believe it or not, I’ve heard quite a bit about you.”
“Taylor. Really?” I ask.
“Yes, really.” He grins and motions for me to sit down in the large plush chair in front of his desk. He takes a seat behind the ornate mahogany desk. “Al Potter can’t seem to stop yapping about you,” I feel myself beginning to blush, “-and I remember the article about your Dragon Taming adventures. Quite Riveting, if I do say so myself.”
“Thank you sir. It was a really great experience.” I find myself sinking deeply into the cushions of the chair.
“So, tell me about your schooling. What sorts of NEWT classes did you take, did you play Quidditch?” He says, beginning the interview.
“Well, I took and got a NEWT in Care for Magical Creatures, Potions, Charms, Defense, Herbology, and Transfiguration.” I state. “And I most certainly played Quidditch. I was Chaser for my team at Hogwarts then transferred to the team at Salem quite easily.”
“So you’re a fan?”
“Oh, absolutely.” I basically gush.
“What teams do you follow?”
“Well, I’ve always had a soft spot for Puddlemere, me and my dad watched their games together when I was little. But I also am a supporter of the Tornadoes, as I have a close friend on the team.” I rambled on about the other teams in the league and what it was like playing at Hogwarts with Tanner, Brad, Al, Scorpius, and the other guys.
We talked Quidditch for probably twenty minutes when the receptionist came into the room.
“Mr. Gibbs, there’s a Mr. Drabbel here to see you. It’s meticulously urgent.” She said precisely and clearly.
“I’m sorry Ms. Ackhart, I’ll be right back.”
“No problem.” I said as he left the room.
After a few minutes alone, I realized that I really had to use the loo. Really badly, actually.
I peeked outside the office to discover that Mr. Gibbs had disappeared, leaving the corridor clear for me to dart really quickly to the toilets. I dashed into the nearest door that had a restroom sign on it to speedily relieve myself.
I was washing my hands when another stall opened and someone came out. More specifically, a man came out.
He froze. “What the hell are you doing in the men’s loo?”
“What the hell are you doing in the girl’s room?” I retorted.
“This is most definitely NOT the girl’s room.” He said, his eyes wide.
“It most certainly i-“ I froze, finally seeing the urinals along the tiled wall. “Well, shit.”
“Yeah. Did you really not read the sign?”
“I was in a bit of a rush, I was in the middle of an interview.” I said defensively.
“Ah, a newbie. I see.” He said, beginning to wash his hands. He chuckled.
I continued to wash my hands, utterly mortified at the situation, yet to proud to leave and finish washing my hands elsewhere.
I watched him in the mirror. He looked to be about my age, probably a few years older. He had auburn curly hair and was wearing a nice jumper and khakis with a collared oxford shirt.
“So, what’s your name?” I asked, clearing my throat awkwardly.
“Winston.” He said, turning off the faucets. “Yours?”
He nodded. “Well, I hope to see you around Taylor.”
“Same.” I said before leaving the restroom, praying that there wasn’t anybody outside that would see me coming out of the men’s loos.
“Ah, Taylor, there you are, what were you doing in the men’s loos?” Mr. Gibbs says, as he happens to be right outside the doors.
I wince. “I’m afraid I didn’t read the sign.”
“Well, allright then.” He says, not really bothered. The receptionist gives me another dirty look.
I exhale in relief.
“Well, It’d be best for us to continue on with our interview then.” Mr. Gibbs states, motioning back towards his office.
I nod and follow him.
“So the interview went well then?” Brad asks me later that evening.
We’re sitting out on the deck, staring out at the overgrown garden and eating ice cream sandwiches.
“I think so, except for a few hiccups.” Brad nods.
“So, listen, I was talking to my friend Jessica, and she was telling me about this therapy class that she went through with her mom. It sounds like a really good program.” Brad brings up.
I nod. “I’m sure it is. Is it expensive?”
He shakes his head. “It shouldn’t be. Jessica said it was affordable. It’s a public works program put forth by the ministry, so it’s pretty cheap.”
“I guess it’d be good to try. We just have to convince him to go.” I point out.
“It’ll work out. He needs to realize that he needs help.”
“True.” It’s quiet for a few minutes. “So, who’s this Jessica?”
He shrugs. “Just someone I know from work.”
“Yeah, how is the Department of Magical Sports and Games?”
“It’s going well. I might be getting a promotion next month, actually.”
“Yeah, is Jessica going ‘well’ too?” I wink at him.
“Yes. How’s Al?” He says coyly.
“You should know, he’s your best mate too.” I point out, avoiding where he was heading.
“You know what I mean. Do you think you two will get together? Now that you’re both in the same place and more mature?”
“We’ll see how things turn out. For now, I’m just going with the flow.”
He laughs. “When have you ever gone with the flow? You usually just but in whenever you feel like.”
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