4/2/2012

Hello all John here…

It’s been a while…  A few significant things going on–

First, Yesterday we headed up to Ames to have a wonderful lunch with Don and Troy.  They had their new Winnie Vista there, and we got to soak up the smell of a brand new Winnie, and see their immaculately groomed yard and home, as well as eat their wonderful food.  Yes, Troy can cook.  A couple they know was their as well as Dave and Mitch made it back from CA.  It was an awesome afternoon, in unseasonably warm temps.  Again, Thanks guys!

I felt bad about having to leave early, but I had the Big Apple, Inc. interview yesterday.  I applied at Apple months ago, and received an invite to participate in a hiring event at the Jordan Creek Mall at 7pm on April Fools Day.  At first, I thought it was a hoax, until I realized it was Apple’s 36th birthday…  In any case, who could turn down a look behind the big silver doors, even if it is just a retail position as a part-time Specialist.  I should clarify, as many of you know I have worked my share of retail, mostly in Auto Parts. Those positions can be a lot of fun, and a particular part of them a enjoy is the customer contact.  Coupled with the “passion” I have for Apple, as well as the admiration I have for so many practices Apple has for doing business, I can see some potential there.

So the email invite said to meet at a seating area in the JCM, and wait for the Apple persons to greet us.  The seating area they mentioned was a bit further from the community room the interview was held in than they anticipated (apparently, the Mall just relocated it), which created some confusion, but in the end we all figured it out.  There were about 30 candidates in a standard multi-use room (part of the mall, not Apple Store).  Thy had rows of chairs setup and a projector.  We were greeted by the leadership team headed the hiring manager.  It was a sort of Shake their hand and say hello as they ushered us into our assigned seat deal…  Sort of typical organized Chaos that you see in their store.  So the interview was a “Group” interview.  It was a pretty diverse group, I was among the top 5% age wise, though there were a couple others.  The majority were college aged kids, across a very broad spectrum, even for Iowa.  When we were seated we were instructed to fill out a standard “hours available” form, and record our names and contact info on a clipboard that was on our chair.  We were also told to get to know our “Partner” who was the person they sat us next too.  The entire leadership team got up front, and introduced themselves in pair, one person introducing the other.  Very open, very friendly.  Then the rest of the group got to do the same.  In actuality, it was a great ice breaker, but it was painfully obvious (even though they tried really hard to not make it so) the leadership team was taking extensive notes and judging every move we made from the second we walked in the room.  I was assigned to Sam, a 19 yr old Drake student.  Nice kid, but had the conversational skills of a tomato, so of course while some of the more seasoned pairs were able to drag some cool facts out of each other, we didn’t get very far…  In any case, we made it through.

Then we watched a short apple RahRah video, I saw it before in doing my digging for the interview process on Apple’s site.  One of the managers lead a bit of discussion, again the thrashing of pencils behind us recorded every response.  Another video, and another presenter, all focused on the “Apple” way, and how they weren’t selling products, they were selling the experience, all things true Apple Heads have known for years, but the team is very closely analyzing the group to pick out the candidates that fit there mold.

We then broke into groups of 2 or 3.  In my case 2, I think our 3rd was a no show, as we were the only 2some.  When they checked us in there was a “Code” on our name tags, mine was 2 * B * iMac.  We met with the store leader that had our matching number, then letter, then device.  Three mini-group interviews in which the leader “tried to get to know us better” by asking both of us the same 3 questions, and themselves interjecting an answer or two.  All very relaxed, or at least that is what they were going for.  It was very obvious looking around the room that much time was spent matching the groups up.  My interview mate was similar in age, and while we had a different path in life, many parallels could have been drawn.  It made for quite an intense interview session, as there was a lot of competition that my interview partner encouraged.  They asked fairly standard interview questions, of which I “think” I did ok on, but it was very difficult to tell.  It was also difficult to tell if I was noticed enough out of the group.  Honestly, while I think it was a novel and extremely “Apple” way of doing an initial interview, it was one of the most difficult interview experiences I have ever gone through.

The experience makes me want it even more, even if it is a $11-15 an hour part time gig, it is a foot in the door at Apple.  We are supposed to find out either tomorrow or Wednesday if we move on further in the process, apparently this process is at least 3 more interviews, Amazing for a part-time retail position.  Honestly, no clue, and would not be surprised either way it goes.  I was me, I was blunt and honest, and was as open and smiley as “I” can be.  If I don’t fit the “mold” I just don’t fit, but my curiosity has been sparked.

That all being said, it was great interview practice, and I am super glad that I did attend, even if we didn’t get to go behind the super secret door.  They do have some programs where I think I would be a good fit, and could lead to an interesting “2nd” career, finally out of trucking, with a company that I really do believe is about doing things differently, and focusing on people, and experiences, not just pushing out numbers, but my guess is as good as yours.

Ok–  So School–  It has been a rough session!  I am still doing well on the surface, but really it is wearing me down.  It’s week 6, 2 more and finals!

Alright, Have a “Team Meeting” gotta go…

Have a good night.

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