My last job interview occurred at Cisco Systems. I’d been working as a contractor, and soon afterwards was offered a “permanent position.” I walked into the HR office and was greeted by a chirpy young woman, perhaps in her late twenties. After some pleasantries, she settled down to serious interviewing.
“Where do you see yourself twenty years from now?” She smiled while talking nearly constantly. I started to feel bad for her (relatively) unmuscular lips.
I forgot to mention this: I was sixty-four at the time. Sixty-four and itching to retire.
“I plan?” I said, “To work here until the angels bear me aloft to my final reward.” At that point I didn’t care what I said. What could I lose? A final year of work?
She wrote it down and settled back to ask the additional questions. She saved the hardest one for last.
“What do you think is the most important element in releasing a new product? Timeliness or accuracy?”
Oddly enough, this is the same question I’d been asked years ago. To find out how I answered this, the trickiest of all job interview questions, read the following short story, which I had gotten published twenty-eight years ago. Use the arrows at the top or bottom of the frame to turn the pages.well get back to you
I got the job, by the way. It lasted less than a year. Then I was laid off, whereupon I promptly retired and financed my first year courtesy of the states of Massachusetts and Florida.