Jason Kocemba 989 words 4 minute read

“That concludes the oral part of the interview. Thank you for being patient with us and our seemingly unending array of questions. We hope you don’t feel too tired by the process?”

I stared into the camera and had to stop myself from wiping my brow. “No, no I’m fine.”

I was exhausted. Four hours of questions about my employment history. It had asked about the how and why of every decision, major or minor, I’d made in the workplace. It asked hypothetical questions about what I could have done differently in retrospect. “It’s not often I get to think and talk about myself this way. I hope it didn’t seem like I was blowing my own trumpet.”

“Please, do not worry. You were satisfactory. The length of the interrogation is commensurate with the quality of the candidate.”

“Okay, that’s good.” Was that a complement? Or just another part of the process?

“You have passed the oral section of the interview. You have the skills and experience and your answers indicate that you are closely aligned with the company’s values and goals. This is no small thing, and we wish to congratulate you on making it this far.”

“Thank you.”

“We put all candidates that make it this far through a psychometric test to help confirm alignment. To keep the process objective, you understand. So that we are not blinded by a charismatic and forceful personality. Would you agree to such a test?”

I hesitated for only a moment. “Yes, that’s fine.”


[I’m five and I wonder what it would feel like to crush a spider under my thumb.]

[I’m ten and chasing a girl after she pulled my hair. I am crying and very angry. I want to pull hers. I want to make her cry.]

[I’m eleven and fighting another boy. We throw jabs and crosses at each other. It’s all very civilised for a playground fight. It’s a real fight, with real intent, but somehow we are both smiling because we see the stupidity of it.]

[I’m fifteen and working as a kitchen porter. I am sneaking a look at nudie magazines in the Head Chef’s office.]

[I’m twenty three and stare daggers at the back of my colleague who has just been promoted.]

[I’m thirty four and drinking shots at two a.m.]

[I’m thirty six and my boss is a waste of space and an idiot.]

[I’m forty four and I’m tired and don’t want to do my job anymore.]



My eyes opened. I felt groggy and nauseous.

“It seems that you have embellished your answers during the oral interrogation.”

If I was sick I’d never get the job. I swallowed and took a deep breath and attempted to understand. “What do you mean ‘embellished’?”

“We will not say you deliberately lied, but you may be guilty of self-exaggeration of the parts that you have played. You may have attempted to place yourself in the best possible light.”

I swallowed again, the need to vomit had gone.

“We see you are confused, that is normal, many candidates are so deeply routed in their own self-belief systems that they are also blind to those self-same systems.”

“I’m not a liar.”

“No, of course not. You are merely deceiving yourself and think of yourself as one type of character when, in fact, you are actually someone quite different.”

“Are you saying that I don’t know who I am?”

“No, what we are saying is that there is a discrepancy between the oral interrogation and the psychometric examination and we are merely trying to ascertain where the source of error lies.”

“Source of error.”

“Yes. Does the error lie with you or does the error lie with our psychometry? We know that statistically speaking, the psychometry theory is sound, but it is not one hundred percent accurate. People are too complex for that. If candidates do not understand themselves, what hope does a humble interview panel bot have?”

“I’ve told the truth, and been open and transparent. I didn’t try to bullshit you.”

“Indeed. And we detected no such emotional or interpersonal manipulation on your part during our conversation. However, the psychometric results do not corroborate your answers.”

My hands closed into fists and my breath became shallow and fast.

“You are unaware of your propensity for embellishment and deception. You have developed a number of strategies to compensate for your true self.”

I clenched my teeth. “Your test is wrong. This is me being me, I’m being genuine.”

“If that is the case, (and our belief metric is 98.85%), then we are in agreement, that you are unsuitable for this role, and we are sorry to inform you that you have been unsuccessful in your application. Please leave by the door indicated and do not, under any circumstances, apply for a job with this organisation or any of it’s subsidiaries or partners for the rest of your life. As a leopard cannot change its spots, a person who is unaware of their core personality cannot change their behaviour.”

I stood up. I wanted to punch the camera. “So that’s it? I’m done?”

“Yes. Thank you for your time and patience. You may now leave by the door indicated. If not, you will be escorted from the premises.”

“I passed the oral, didn’t I? I have all the skills and experience you need, right?” I walked forward and stood with my face an inch from the camera. “What did I do wrong?”

“Thank you for coming and have a nice day. It was a pleasure meeting with you and we can only apologise if you feel you have made a wasted effort. Best of luck with finding a job elsewhere, and, ha ha, finding yourself.”

I made an inarticulate growl and head-butted the camera. I left splashes of blood on the lens. Security threw me out and left me jobless and bleeding on the pavement.