The senior executives of Sabre Corps sat patiently as the next interviewee entered. After Donald Donaldson took over the company two years previous, Sabre Corps had gone from being the runt of the weapons manufacturing business to being the go-to company of the US Military. Such massive expansion of course required a pretty dramatic increase in personnel and for this reason, Zoe Shepherd was now sat across from Donald and his two associates ready to interview for the position of PR Representative.
"So Miss Shepherd," began Donald, "What brings you to Sabre Corps?"
Zoe had been preparing for this interview for weeks. She had studied the company's history, who was in charge of what and pretty much anything that the internet or business journals had to say about the company. She had worked in PR her entire career and with the salary Sabre was offering, she would have to have been mad not to apply.
"Well sir, I will admit I did a lot of research on this company before applying for this position and I couldn't help but be impressed. The way you have turned this company around in just a couple of years is nothing short of miraculous and is something I definitely want to be a part of in the future."
"That's good to hear, I respect a person who is willing to put in the work to really research what kind of place they will be working in. With the salaries we offer, two many applicants are here solely for the wage and with little care about the product. I know weapons manufacturing isn't exactly the most family friendly industry going but we still like to think we stand for something at least."
"I agree sir, and I am more than willing to commit myself to Sabre Corps one hundred and ten percent."
"Please," smiled Donald, "Call me Donald, we're not in high school here."
"Okay sorry, Donald."
"Better. Now you've already passed the first three rounds of interviews as well as the blood test in order to get this far so there's not really much need to talk about your qualifications and how well you can or cannot do the job as we already know you are an exceptional candidate. The purpose of this final interview is to try to discover whether hold the true values of a Sabre Corps employee."
"I really believe I do Donald." replied Zoe sincerely.
"I hope you do too Zoe, my first impressions are that you seem like exactly the sort of person we want working for us. Now have you completed the final application form."
"Yes I have it right here." Zoe passed Donald her fifteen page application form, all filled in and signed in bright red ink.
"Thank you Zoe. Now I want to warn you that the one thing we at Sabre Corps cherish above anything else is honesty. Deceit and dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated within these walls. Do you understand?"
"And with that in mind is there anything you wish to alter or erase before we look over your application or can you confirm that everything written on these pages is the real you?"
Like any other job applicant when faced with a job application form to fill in, Zoe had of course embellished a little here and exaggerated a tiny bit there, but she didn't feel anything she had written was dishonest. Thus she replied accordingly:
"It's all me, I don't wish to make any changes."
"Great." replied Donald as he began to flick through Zoe's form, "So let's get down to business, It says here that you grew up in Ozark, Missouri. What was it like growing up there?"
"I enjoyed it, I mean, my family moved here to New York when I was still quite young, but I still remember enjoying Missouri life back then. I'd love to go back again one day and see if I remember anything."
"I bet it would seem like a completely different country after so long in New York." chimed in Harry Harrison, finally breaking the silence of the two men sitting either side of Donald. "And speaking of other countries it says here that you taught English in Korea for two years, odi il haessossoyo?"
"Sorry what was that?"
"It was Korean, I thought you spoke it?"
"I do ... well I used to. I've forgotten a lot in the last ten years."
"But you wrote that your Korean level was intermediate."
"It is, err was. I still know the basics, it wouldn't take too long to pick it up again if needed I'm sure."
"So you lied to us about your true level?" asked Donald, taking control of the interview once more.
"I didn't lie, I just didn't realise I had forgotten so much."
"Very well, we all make mistakes so I will allow you this one slip up."
"I will have to erase the claim from your application though I'm afraid and seeing as time is precious here I think it's best we assume you were equally inaccurate about your French and Russian abilities also."
Before Zoe could defend herself, Donald drew a line through all Zoe had written in the 'Foreign Languages Spoken' section and in an instant four years of degree level Russian as well as ten years of French study left her head forever. Zoe didn't mind much though, she knew she had never been any good at languages, it was silly to try and get away with it. Only an idiot would claim to be fluent in Russian when in reality they didn't know even know the Russian word for vodka. She just hoped she hadn't made any other outlandish claims in her application.
"Zoe," began Peter Pieterson, third man of the trio, "I see here that you are quite the musician, concert trained pianist, Grade Eight standard at both violin and clarinet. It's all very impressive."
"Thank you, I have always had a love for music and when I was young I just wanted to learn how to play as many different instruments as possible,"
"That's very commendable of you, too many people today are content just to listen to all this hip hop nonsense on the radio. There is not enough love for real music."
"I couldn't agree more."
"In fact I myself back in the day played a bit of violin. Not to your level of course, but I like to think I was quite competent. Tell me though, what was the Grade Eight exam like?"
"Well to be honest, I never actually took the Grade Eight exam in violin. I passed the first seven with distinction and my tutor told me that I was easily at grade eight level, but my family couldn't afford the lessons anymore."
Peter's expression darkened somewhat at this revelation. "So you are not actually a grade eight violinist?"
"Well not on paper no, but like I said my ability level was easily good enough to..."
"We've heard enough for the moment thank you," interrupted Donald abruptly.
Zoe said nothing as she watched Donald cross out line after line of her application. In a mere moment, years of musical prowess was wiped clear from her mind and replaced with a basic knowledge of the triangle. Once more Zoe's only real thought on the matter was why she had been stupid enough to try and get away with claiming to know all those instruments. She felt ashamed and embarrassed and hoped that her silliness had not ruined her job prospects entirely.
"I'm really sorry for misleading you. Honest I am."
"That's not the point Zoe," replied Donald, "We think of this company as a family and lies and deceit have no place within a family. Really I should throw you out of this interview room right now."
"Please, don't!" cried out Zoe in desperation. "I really want this job and I'll do anything to prove to you that you can trust me. Anything."
Donald sighed, "I want to believe you, but right now it's hard to believe anything you have written here. I don't even know if I can one hundred percent believe you are American anymore."
"Well my Grandmother was Japanese." replied Zoe in a half-hearted attempt at a joke.
Donald went positively apoplectic, "WHAT! You mean to say you even lied about where you were from. Does honesty mean nothing to you?"
"No no, it was a joke, I didn't mean it."