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A moment later a man in a business suit appeared beside her. He looked around and frowned. The little brown bird immediately began chirping, and hopping around dragging its wing pitifully. The man turned his frown toward Danika after a moment.

She swallowed nervously and then introduced herself, "Hello, I'm applicant Danika Belova."

He nodded, and then seemed to realize that some reply was expected. "Chen Zing, HR. Well," he glanced around again and said, "let's move on to the next phase."

The bird edged a little closer and chirped more piercingly. Chen Zing frowned down at it, and said, "I don't care about your nest. Hush up." The bird chirped again and Chen Zing waved casually and destroyed it.

Danika stared at the feather that floated alone for a moment where the little NPC had stood. Even though she had prepared for the bird to be attacked or killed, its sudden destruction shocked her.

Her scenario triggered, and the bird's mate flew into the scene with harsh cries of protest. She flew toward the tall berry bush and snatched the golden berry. As she flew away the vegetation shriveled behind her, as though she'd taken away the vitality of the world in revenge for her loss. Chen Zing gazed after the bird in surprise and then turned a startled expression back toward the stone gates which had swung open with a groan and revealed the golems.

The heavy stone golems stepped out to attack the interviewer who had destroyed the bird, and Chen Zing destroyed them one after another with the same casual motion. A few moments later only he and Danika remained in the dessicated landscape. The expression on his face when he turned back to her was rather neutral, and Danika couldn't guess if her scenario had been good, bad, or insignificant.

Chen Zing brushed an imaginary fleck of dust from his spotless suit, and said, "As I was saying, the next phase." He snapped his fingers and vanished.

A worried looking elf took his place and asked anxiously, "Why is this game so broken? What kind of support system is this?"

Danika took a long moment before realizing that she was expected to reply. She asked, "What seems to be the trouble?" At the same time she quickly brought her menus back up to see if they had any new information for her.

The elf said, "Obviously there's no save, no double jump, and I can't even attach a screenshot to my bug report!"

Danika's menus had completely changed. She was now looking at a form full of multiple choices and input fields. She chose game interface as the primary problem while replying, "What system are you accessing the game through? And are you still in the beginner's vale?"

The elf replied angrily, "Of course not, and what business is it of yours?"

Danika winced and flicked frantically through the new options while trying to reply calmly, "There's no save because the game is running in real time, and you won't lose the progress you've made. The mentors available at the beginning can assist people in learning the basic movement skills available to them, and explain which path's skills would give you access to an ability similar to the double jump you were looking for. If you already have that information and are simply having difficulty executing the motions, knowing which system you're using would allow me to look up exactly what controls you'd need to be using."

"@$!& that," the elf cursed. "So you think it's my fault?"

"I have no idea," Danika replied honestly. She couldn't find an option in the menu for dissatisfied with lack of familiar game configuration. "Can you tell me more about the trouble you're having?"

"This game is for the birds, and you suck at this," the elf snapped and vanished.

Danika stood alone on the shriveled grass. She tapped an input field and began describing the player's complaints and behavior.

A moment later Chen Zing reappeared. Danika finished the note she was entering before closing her menu and meeting his eyes. She was fairly sure that the elf had been an NPC version of a player, but if it had been a player, she would have wanted to have the information she'd just entered if she were the next person to have to deal with them.

Chen Zing asked her a string of familiar questions, they were the same questions that had been on the application form, so Danika was mostly able to simply repeat her answers. And then all of a sudden he asked, "How do you think this interview is going?"

Danika replied, "I'm not sure… If you've been giving me feedback on each phase I've either missed it or have not understood it."

Chen Zing looked a little exasperated to her, but he replied calmly, "I think we've gathered enough information, someone will contact you about the result in a few days."

That didn't sound very promising, but Danika wasn't sure how to react. After a moment, she said politely, "Then I thank you for the time you spent, and I'll look forward to the response."

Chen Zing raised an eyebrow, but nodded and made a dismissive gesture. A moment later Danika was back at the blank black notification screen, reading: "Thank you for your application with Starcraft Technologies, Living Jade Empire Technical Division. You will receive a reply within two weeks."

Danika sat there staring at the notification for awhile before disconnecting. She was disappointed that only the combat version of her little bird scenario had been displayed, but she supposed that asking the interviewer to replay it several times while making different choices wouldn't be very representative of what a player would have experienced.

She wasn't really sure what the angry elf player had been testing, but at least she felt that she'd done ok in navigating the support menus and she had remained pretty calm. She thought that if she'd been expected to resolve the issue, she'd probably failed. She gazed up at the cute dragon and kitten sticker in front of her nose.

After a minute she checked the time. She was a little surprised to discover that the interview had actually used up the entire block of time that it had been scheduled for. It hadn't felt that long. She didn't feel sleepy at all though, so she stretched a little and then settled back into place and logged into "Living Jade Empire."

A message from Aishin was waiting: "Hope it went well. What's the entrance word for your garden? I hadn't realized, but I've only teleported to you since you got it."

Danika replied swiftly: "Dragonheart. I guess I forgot that I only told your dad, not you. Sorry. I am not sure how it went, but I don't feel very hopeful. I was told I'll find out within two weeks."

She checked, but he wasn't online, Shrubbery was though. Danika exited her garden, scooped up her pebble from the roof she stood on, then activated her wings and flew swiftly over the rooftops toward Shrubbery's garden at the edge of the city. The party compass indicated that the dryad was in that direction, so she didn't bother sending a message to ask.

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About the author

gusdefrog

Bio: I'm not actually a frog... but frogs are cool! They have tiny little hands! And some frogs can even fly (glide)! ...and my name isn't actually Gus, but I've been wearing it long enough that it is?

Since beginning to lose my vision, I've been writing to replace the creating I used to do as drawing and painting.

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HamsterDesTodes @HamsterDesTodes ago

What a deeply unsatisfying interview. Hope the guy gets to eat crow later on for rushing through the tests and wasting time on repeat-questions.

tmill89 @tmill89 ago

I'm a bit surprised by the elf. Danika's question about which system they are utilizing is a very fair question. All applications are supported differently and it is near impossible to diagnois an isue without know where to look first.

    SciVo @SciVo ago

    Having done tech support, I found it realistic. Some people expect you to be psychic, and also nothing is ever their fault so you don't need to know anyway, and in fact just asking was offensive and they want to speak with your supervisor because you're so incompetent and rude.

      sunderkeenin @sunderkeenin ago

      Agreed, but at the same time the psychotic customers are rarely a truly good test of customer support capabilities, as it's usually only by luck you can bring them down from their volcanic state.

      If the customer was angry yet sane it would have been a less shitty test.

      feha @feha ago

      I feel like the test was less about helping the npc, and more about seeing how she would react to abuse and pigheadedness. With an added spice of being suddenly given unfamiliar tools and no information. Which means its a perfect test for a customer support job. Seeing as she kept calm and helpful I would argue she did well, but admitting to ignorance could easily have shaved off points for her depending on the one hiring. While some value transparency and honesty, others abhorr it and think one of the worst thing you can do is admit that you cant help your customer. Instead they want you to pretend to be doing stuff to help until It gives up on the support call and leaves. I never heard of any support center that is ok with the employee to be the one ending the call, although some places encourage them to discourage the user (I assume, I dont know why else so many would do it) to make them leave faster.

      In my opinion she lost many points to not even attempting the third issue however (inability to attach screenshots to bugreports). While accurate to my tries at getting support with more than one issue (they always ignore some), she should have attempted something regarding it at least. If it is supposed to be possible, that sounds like a serious bug. And if not, her job would have been to inform the customer they currently lack that feature.

      If the goal had been for her to solve Its troubles, then the only people really passing would be doing so by luck, because of being given unfamiliar tools with unknown capabilities and permissions.

      Moridain @Moridain ago

      She couldn't realistically deal with the screenshot issue without first knowing what system he was on. I suspect she would have looked into it had it progressed to where she had a firmer grasp of the situation, but he left before that.

      And I agree with those above, the test was to see how she dealt with abuse not really resolving the problem itself. I actually suspect the Elf himself was there to subtly do the same, which was why he was so abrasive.

      Dealing with assholes is the hardest part of that job after all. Not many can deal with it for long.

      feha @feha ago

      She could try a few things regardless of system. I would argue the first thing she should ask with the screenshot issue is "is the screenshot feature enabled on your account? It's a perk you buy with the in-game currency Karma."

      Author

      gusdefrog @gusdefrog ago

      You all left such astute comments! Surprised Amazing. And ... I'm sorry I never mentioned the screenshots, Danika probably should have, but... nobody's perfect?

      feha is right, first they need to be enabled through the Goddess' of Memory.