Chapter 0:

The interview

July 24th 2026

" Alright, next one is my last interview for this new hire group. " - said Guylaine after taking the last applicant out of the office after his interview.

That last interviewee had very little chance to get this position. No experience, hinted criminal background, demeanor befitting of a psychopath.... She'd rather not think how he'd treat clients if she picked him. That would reflect poorly on her overall performance... /She took quite a while to get out of her reverie and by the time she got out of her thoughts, she was already sitting in her office chair. She was a little peckish, after all she hadn't taken a single break during the day, too many people to interview and too little time.

A light knock on her office made her realize she wouldn't actually get the chance to eat for at least another thirty minutes. That knock was a signal she had asked her receptionist to follow when an interviewee is there so she knows they are waiting and that she was 5 minutes to prepare for her job.

She opened a drawer in her desk and pulled out the last sheet of paper she would need to work on today... About time. 

The name of the interviewee this time was Richard Lamontagne. He was a 20 years old male with a very promising curriculum. Experience in management, customer service and call center to boot! During the initial screening, his references ended up being extremely flattering. One of his referees even mentioned that losing the chance to hire him would be a loss for our company.

If this guy managed to flop this interview, it'd be absolutely ridiculous. He had the perfect profile for the job, all that guy had to do was to reply properly to her questions and he'd be in the job in no time.

After reviewing a few things she had prepared for the interview, she got up and opened her door. The interviewee, Richard, was sitting upright, a relaxed and confident mask painted on. As she stepped out of her office and walked towards him, he got up and shot her a professional smile with a slight head nod in her direction. He was looking her straight in the eyes and she instantly knew he'd get the job. 

" Nice to meet you Mr. Lamontagne, I hope you didn't wait long? " - She asked him with a smile appearing on her face as she thought about the possible promotion that might come her way.

"My pleasure as well Ms. Root, I just got here." - Richard replied courteously

They shook hands, a firm yet flexible handshake. His hands were soft, she assumed he wasn't one of manual labor, else she'd feel calluses on his hands. Probably a game fanatic, she guessed.

" Please follow me " She replied, accentuating her smile a little bit, in the fashion people invited to follow along.

He followed her silently, she noticed he didn't have an heavy walk like most male applicants she was used to interviewing, she pointed toward a chair with her open palm and he sat. She walked around the table and sat at the other side of the table, positioning herself as comfortable and professionally as possible since she would probably be stuck in that position for at least 30 minutes.

" Let's see..." - Guylaine said as she pulled out the sheet that was Richard's curriculum.

She always used this tactic with her applicants. Their eyes would be attracted to the sheet and she had the occasion to discreetly eye them over and get more detail on who they were behind the facade. He did as she expected and his eyes drifted from her eyes to the sheet of paper. In reality, she had read his Curriculum a few times already and had tried to poke some holes in it. This was really just a scene for the interviewee, making them feel like she barely took time to prepare for them.

His eyes remained glued to the back of the sheet, which was weird because most applicants would let their eyes wander, uncomfortable by the silence. The office was precisely made with this in mind, some "bric à brac" as she would joke around with her other Québécois colleagues. There were a few different species of plants which she didn't even bother identifying, she just picked them for looking natural enough while being entirely fake plants. A small bookshelf containing a few of the most professional books you can think of. One of them being "How to properly interview an interviewee" by a writer she liked, Lace Cameron. A non-descript beige adorned the walls to put emphasis on the details of the room, encouraging further eye distraction and gaining her more valuable intel.

She took the time he oddly stared at the sheet to detail his face. He had short dark brown hair, a freshly shaven face and a round head, making him look slightly juvenile. His traits were slightly bubbly seeing as he was a little bit overweight, it added to his innocent looking appearance. She stopped being tense after Richard finally looked away towards the wall behind her. He seemed to study the white board which had been adorning the same graph as it had been years ago when she molded her office. Since she was the human resources representative, she had asked her director for permission to turn the room into a perfect interrogation room. The graph was a long line moving towards the other side of the board. On it, several other lines were dispersed on it, explaining the foundation of the Quebec Driving School company (QDS for short) until nowadays.

Richard's eyes darted towards the bookshelf, her attention moved to his clothes. He was wearing a dress shirt, a bit too small for him which she assumed to be an XL. It was black, the kind that has faded after years of usage but still looks clean. She took her eyes back to the paper, barely a minute passed but she had a greater picture of the person that was in front of her now.

" Alright, before we begin would you like some water?" - She said, expecting him to agree since it was a pretty common interview trick to agree to water.

" I'm fine, thank you for offering. " He replied calmly, his smile dawning once again on his face

She noted that his voice was soft and had a very charismatic hint to it. He wasn't attractive but he had a certain talent at garnering attention, she figured it would be a strength with his interaction with clients since his appearance was very regular and clients wouldn't particularly see him as something else than an employee. She thought it was weird of him to decline the water since he seemed to have a decent interviewing experience but she let that flow.

" Alright then let's get right into it. First of all, I appreciate that you were early for our meeting. I sent you an email regarding the need to be diligent on May 3rd 2019 and I see you've taken the time to understand my request behind it" - She said

" Naturally. " He replied after waiting for her to finish her sentence

" Now as you know if you've taken the time to review our values on our website, QDS puts a high priority on finding employee who are on time, professional, lively and empathetic. I see you already check a few boxes" - She said with a slight chuckle.

" I'd like to think I'll eventually be able to check all of them " - He said, chuckling back.

Humble... That's good, she thought, Her smile coming back to the professional norm after the chuckle they shared.

" I like that answer. Would you be able to tell me why this company would benefit from you joining it ? " - She continued

" Yes, I think that my passion and drive will allow the company to teach the next wave of students successfully. I may start only as a receptionist today but I would love to be a great driving instructor in a few years when I have the necessary driving experience " - Richard replied.

" It's great to have aspirations. I'm sure you'd be a great teacher. " - Guylaine agreed

After a long joust of questions and great responses, Guylaine noticed that time had flown. She usually took around 15 to 30 minutes to interview a potential employee. After looking at her watch she noticed it had been over 45 minutes. The hour hand was creeping dangerously towards 4PM. Her belly reminded her she hadn't eaten that day and she decided she'd need to cut it short if she wanted to finish her report and submit it before 6PM, the time her director expected a decision from her.

" Well Richard, it was a pleasure to meet you today. I'll reach back with you as quickly as possible with an answer regarding your postulation. I'll reassure you though, you've done great and if your background check comes in clean, I think we'll be able to draft a contract with you shortly. " Her excitement was a bit apparent as she finished her sentence.

His smile grew and he slightly folded his body forward, in a courteous semi-bow. Not as you saw in movies but more as in a I appreciate the comment gesture.

" Thanks, I'm looking forward to learning how to meet QDS' expectations and possibly exceed them " He replied in his usual tone.

She walked him to the door and he left. She looked at the receptionist who was tidying up her desk before leaving and gave her a big smile

" I've got a good feeling with that one ! " She said, excited.

" We'll see how his background check looks. I sent it last night so you could make your calls today and get some rest for saturday. " Caroline replied.

As usual, Caroline was an excellent employee. She always had the foresights to take an initiative that would profit her work and once again, she was thankful for it. She made a mental note to mention Caroline's good work to the director when she'd make the report. She nodded gratefully towards Caroline and went back to her office, closing the door and writing her report.