The quiet of the room was almost palpable. Ted Duncan refused to be made uncomfortable by it. He knew that to say anything now would just make him seem insecure about his previous answer. Ted figured he could wait out the silence; why he practically had these interviewers eating out of his hand. Finally, the guy with the blue suit and the steel gray hair, (Jacobsen was it?) began to speak.
“So, Mr. Duncan, Ted, you said to call you, in this position you could very possibly be making financial decisions regarding incoming and outgoing funds. Give me an idea how you would handle this.”
“Yes, Mr. Jacobsen. Handling money is nothing new to me. I have a track record, which you can check, for bringing in sizeable profits. I actually brought my portfolio along.” He flipped the latches on his briefcase and extracted several charts showing ascending profits. These he passed across the table.
“Outstanding, I like an applicant who is prepared.” Jacobsen commended. “But elaborate some, if you would, please.”
Ted was feeling better than ever, he knew he shouldn’t let that ‘outstanding’ go to his head, but come on! He had this job in the bag.
“Well,” he began, “I’m not afraid to make some daring maneuvers. I believe it takes money to make money.”
“Right, right.” This was the other guy, Markham. He cocked his head and asked “Mr. Duncan, what would you do if we had a competitor who used underhanded methods to steal some of our business.”
Ted was in his element. “Two can play that game. I have an extensive network of acquaintances in the business world and I know how to use them to my advantage. It’s a rare day when anybody gets anything over on me.”
“I see,” said Markham. “Just one more question and we’ll wrap this up. Tell me Ted, what do you think makes you stand out from the rest?”
Prepared for this question, Ted answered, “My energy level - all that I’m able to do. I’m on the board of several community organizations including both the school and my large church. I’m a high visibility person. People know who I am and what I’m capable of. I get noticed.”
“Thank you, Mr. Duncan, we appreciate your time. We have another interview today, but we’ll be in touch.”
“Thank you Jacobsen, Markham.” He shook their hands nodding as he said each name He thought to himself ‘of course you’ll be in touch.’
The next applicant, Peter Fleming, arrived right on time for his interview. He admired the bright clean room as he waited for questions. He was awfully glad to have the interview, he could really use the job, but he had placed the situation in the Lord’s hands and wasn’t going to grab it back.
This time it was Markham who asked the money question.
“Mr. Fleming, how would you handle money for the best advantage of this company?”
Peter answered right away. “Of course all creditors have to be paid first. Then, I believe it’s important to take an active interest in the community and help where we can. I believe in charitable donations. I’d be prepared to make big financial decisions only after careful advisement.”
“Hmm,” was all Markham said.
Jacobsen asked, “What would your strategy be if you learned you’d lost business to a competitor who used unethical means?”
Again Peter answered right away. “I’d go on providing the best service and quality possible. I don’t believe in evil for evil. It’s important to be honest at all times; in the end it makes a difference.”
Jacobsen raised his eyebrows in an uncommon show of surprise. “Tell us what makes you outstanding,” he asked Peter.
This time Peter considered his answer. He would have liked to say it was his faith, but if he got the job he could live his faith in front of them.
“I would have to say it’s honesty because when it comes right down to it, it’s not what we say we are, it’s how we live that makes us what we are.”
“Fleming, you’ve got the job,” said Markham, “but I want you to influence so many people while you’re here, that one day your honesty won’t be what makes you outstanding, it’ll be a quality that we all share.”
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