Sitting in an office located in posh area of Islamabad, she was giving her first interview. The man sitting in front was in his mid-forties. He was wearing a white shirt bearing blue stripes, a grey dress pant and black Oxfords. He wore round glasses and had tinge of greys in his minimal hair on his head. His face had few wrinkles that were showing only because he had a clean shave. Had he kept a beard, he would probably look younger than his age. This man named Jamshaid was the CEO of Brimont, a well-known International advertising company in the city.
This fresh graduate sitting in front of him was referred to by her university’s Head of Department. To be honest Jamshaid was kind of disappointed. An ordinary girl, wearing a head scarf, very simple outfit; in short someone not very impressive in looks atleast.
“Miss Amira, tell me why should I hire you?” dropping her file on the desk in front, Jamshaid leaned back on the chair looking at her intently.
“Sir, before I answer, can I ask you a question?”
Her response is unexpected, he thought. Maybe she wants to know something about the hiring process or the organization?
“Yes, go ahead.”
“Are you a conventional or a non-conventional person?” she asked looking at him in the eye but as if looking past him.
“I would say I am both. I respect some traditional values and…. shun the ones that are obsolete or have no place in contemporary society .” his response was compact.
Where is this girl going? he thought.
“Are you a Liberal or a Conservative?”, another question was thrown his way with a confidence he had not seen before.
What is this? he thought.
“Thank you sir. Now I will answer your question. I am not who you are.” she put emphasis on I and you.
“You mean you are neither conventional nor non-conventional and a Conservative?, he inquired, clearly confused by her response.
“No sir, I mean I am not confused like you.” she was staring him in the eye with a daring gaze and a composed posture, the fingers of her hands infused into one another, sitting calmly on her lap.
“I am sorry?” he was definitely taken aback by such an abrasive response.
“You said you are both conventional and non-conventional and you justified it with a smart answer but the truth is, we cannot be at both places at the same time because our perception of such terms is subjective. You are Conventional but Liberal too, this doesn’t fit together.”
Jamshaid was looking for an answer in his head to an answer that confused him further.
He responded: “You see human beings are dynamic, you cannot really enclose them in terms. A person can be an introvert and an extrovert at the same time. While there may be pure introverts and extroverts, there is no proof of conclusive personalities. As I said, we are dynamic.”
Amira stood up and grabbed a pen from Jamshaid’s desk.
What the hell? he thought
“What is the purpose of a pen, sir?”
“To write.” he raised his eyebrows scornfully.
“I am this pen, sir. I know my purpose.” She stood up and put the pen back in it’s place. “You see the only factor that separates me from you, the people in this office, this city is one thing i.e. I am not a confused person. Hence, the answer to your question. Why you should hire me? I believe that the success of companies lies in breaking the monotony, “different” is the new sexy. In an organization like Brimont which holds an International standing and is a successful example in Pakistan, taking intelligent chances and risks should be seen as an acceptable option.”
Jamshaid was baffled more than ever. What is this thing in my office?
“We do look for innovation and are open to taking risks.” he replied calmly.
He was a cool man and didn’t let personal attack get to him. But this girl over here was something. And that’s when a thought struck him.
“It is a good quality that you are not a confused person. But how about the head scarf you are wearing? Do you know hijab is a very controversial topic and seeing it on your head makes me believe that after all you are not a very lucid person.”
Talking about getting personal? Let her answer this one now.
“I have Pediculophobia.” she said with an air of indifference.
“It’s fear of head lice. I fear I might catch head lice from people.”
“So you don’t wear it for religious reasons?” he was clearly not satisfied with the answer. What was this Pedi…phobia ..whatever?!
“I think I pretty much answered your question already.”
No way. This girl is bollocks.
He grabbed her resume from the desk and for next 15 minutes asked some questions about her final year project. Her FYP was exceptional and her responses were bold and creative.
“Miss Amira. We’ll look into your resume further and will give our final response by next week. Thank you for your presence.”
“Thank you Mr. Jamshaid for your time. It was an honor being here.”
After the interview, Mr. Kamal, the head of Think Tank department entered the room. He was to attend the interview but a lagging customer rather took his attention and time.
“How did it go?” he asked grabbing a chair. Mr. Jamshaid was sitting in the same chair, apparently lost in thoughts but Kamal’s voice broke his trail.
“Strange.” he could say only one word.
“It was mainly about head lice and confusion.” drifting his gaze from the wall to Kamal, he tried to make sense of that which happened a while ago. And then he narrated the whole story to him.