The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

Prompts for the Promptless, Episode 8: The SEO Interview

Bob was ready for his interview. He'd carefully ironed his new white shirt and chosen a subtle red tie, having read that such a combination suggested the wearer was in control and prepared. He sat down at his computer 20 minutes before the start of the interview and logged on; he was the first one there but noticed the chat indicator gave the time at which he came on. He smiled to himself, smug in the fact that he might just come across as a consummate professional, despite the fact that he was still only in his Jockey shorts from the waist down. It was an online interview, after which he planned to take the dog for a walk and would need to change clothes anyway. He looked at the display on his screen--he would be the only one online for the interview it seemed; the camera revealed a decent-sized board room with three tablet computers strategically placed at the end of the table where the users would be looking at a screen (Bob surmised) with his grin plastered on it. He practiced his grin so as not to appear gigantically ghoulish in front of his hopefully and soon-to-be employers.At the appointed time, three people appeared in the room and sat in front of the tablets. No one said anything until they had turned on the computers, or logged in, or made their move on Mafia Wars, or did whatever stone-faced executives do at the start of an interview. Mr. Samuels looked up (Bob recognized him from the picture signature in the emails he'd received) and started. "Well, good day, Bob--glad you could join us for this interview. To my left here is Ms. Appleby, VP of Marketing and to my right is Mr. Thompson, VP of Acquisitions (Bob noticed that he was evidently the only one in attendance who possessed a first name). We are here today to interview you for the SEO Professional position. Each of us has questions that we may or may not ask you, depending on your answers as we go along. I'll get us started." Bob watched as Samuels scrolled through something on his tablet and then looked up again. "So Bob, tell me if you would how we might use meta robot tags to impact how search engines crawl, index and display content on a web page?"Bob took a deep breath and began. "First let me say how happy I am to be with you today and that I welcome the opportunity to help your company." His intro was met with expressions that suggested no one was particularly happy to be with him. In that moment Bob knew he had absolutely no desire to work with these people. No one smiled, no one moved. They simply stared at him. He imagined the sound of crickets chirping to fill the silence and had to stifle a chuckle. He felt that not one of them looked particularly happy to be there themselves. In a split second he changed his entire answer. "To your question. I prefer Mecha robots myself for tagging and crawling. They are highly functional and depending on the model are able to use a variety of add-ons. My personal favorite is Mobile Suit Gundam SEED." With that, Bob sat back with a confident smile on his face.The three interviewers were stunned. Ms. Appleby looked like she'd been stung in the throat by a wasp as she swallowed rapidly and repeatedly, while Mr. Thompson openly gawped like a Large Mouth Bass. The silence was thick as Mr. Samuels cleared his throat. "Er, that was a very....intriguing response, Bob, to a question that we typically ask as part of our SEO litmus test." He paused to read something on his tablet and then typed a short answer. "We have a number of candidates to interview and our plan is to complete that process this week, then contact those we'd like to have come in for a face-to-face interview.""Thank you, Mr. Samuels; when should I expect to hear from you?" Ms. Appleby looked like she was going into complete anaphylactic shock at Bob's question. He did his best not to laugh out loud at her facial expression.Samuels was the consummate professional and refused to appear ruffled. He cleared his throat again and replied, "Well, Bob, that is a great question. Based on our current schedule you should expect to hear something within the next two weeks. And on behalf of our team here I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to be with us today.""That's great, Mr. Samuels. Are you sure you don't have any additional questions today?""No, Bob. I think we are good."Bob stood up, revealing his interview attire. "Thank you all again; I must sign off now as I have another engagement in about an hour. I look forward to hearing from you and hope the rest of your interviews today go as smoothly as this one." He smiled even wider as he clicked the "disconnect from session" button before anyone could reply. It froze the camera and Bob laughed out loud, looking at the expressions of horror and disbelief on the faces of the interviewers as they got a glimpse of his toned legs extending below the flaps of his crisp white shirt. As he loosened his tie he closed the webpage and turned off the computer, whistled for the dog, and went to look for his sneakers and sweats.

Oh, the horror! I took a rather irreverent path on this prompt from Rarasaur, but wouldn't it be great to do this, just once? For some reason, the idea of the SEO litmus test inspired me today; feel free to whisper freely amongst yourselves about my nerdiness. It's all good.Anyway, I hope you caught Bob's litmus, and that you too have one of some kind that doesn't involve showing your underpants to the world to help you sort out the details when it comes to friendships, job interviews, customer service, or any other situation where relationships are important...


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