This week has got off to an absolute blinder! No response yet from Audi, but in the meantime…
As well as the usual job sites I trawl through daily, I also keep a list of local prestige car dealers on my favourites, and check periodically for positions they might advertise on their own web sites. And it’s finally paid off, Mercedes are seeking a sales executive for their huge dealership in the next city. That would do nicely. I open a previous job enquiry letter and re-model it to the company and position offered before printing, signing, and dropping into an envelope with my CV.
That done I take a fifteen minute stroll into town and pick up the local paper, hot off the press. I’ve lost faith with their job web site since the estate agent debacle of early last week. Back home I spread it open on the job section and pore over it, examining and then dismissing each advert one by one. On the last page I spot two car sales positions advertised, one with Fiat in the same city as Mercedes, the other with Ford but remarkably situated in the little town within which I live. Slightly embarrassingly I hadn’t even realised we had a Ford dealer left since the main one closed many years ago. Ok so it’s not Audi or BMW, but wouldn’t that be convenient? Both jobs request application to the HR departments but I’ve little faith in that avenue, preferring to go direct. Two quick calls and I’ve got the names of both sales managers. I open the jobs file on my PC again and within half an hour two more A4 envelopes have dropped on top of the one addressed to Mercedes.
A good mornings work done I head back downstairs and make myself a couple of delicious cheese and ham sandwiches which I devour over the rest of the local rag.
Lunch finished and tidied up its back upstairs and the suit is out of its carrier and lying on the bed whilst I source a suitable shirt and tie. Ten minute later I’m in the Polite Hatchback and rolling off the drive, three crisp white envelopes and a couple of spare CV’s on the passenger seat next to me.
Barely ten minutes more and I’m at the local Ford dealership. I’d had to look it up but it was obvious where it was once I’d found it. I swing onto the forecourt and drive past the showroom to the customer parking at the rear and slide smoothly into a vacant space. Suit jacket on, I reach in, select the appropriate envelope and head for the entrance.
The premises are a fair bit smaller than the huge Audi and BMW dealerships had been, but are none the worse for it. Inside, the place has a more personable air too. No skinny receptionist, just a white tiled showroom with a couple of desks by the far wall, a tiny customer waiting area with a switched off TV, and a small selection of modest but honest Ford cars, a Fiesta, two Focuses (Foci?) and a Mondeo. At the far corner is a doorway to what appears to be a small office. I’m guessing it’s the sales manager. I hear someone out the back down a passage. I need to avoid being fended off by someone requesting I leave the CV with them to pass on so I need to make contact before whoever it is out the back re-appears. I walk toward the small office but as I do so a male voice floats out, he’s on the phone and it’s sounding like a long one. Bugger.
I step back and feign an interest in the Fiesta in the showroom. My mother had one of these in the late eighties and it was very possibly the worst car I’ve ever been in. Terrible hateful thing (although come to think of it my auntie did have a Wartburg and my grandfather a Moskovitch. The eighties were dark times for cars in our family, clearly).
But by Jove they’ve turned the range around since then. What starts as a cursory glance becomes more intense as I take in the tightly proportioned stance and the funky dashboard, shaped to look like an ultramodern mobile phone. This is quite smart! As I’m doing so a couple pull up in a Mondeo and join me in the showroom, pausing briefly before heading through to the forecourt to look at something that’s caught their eye.
Steps approach from the passage, dammit, I don’t want to talk to anyone but the manager, I don’t want a brush off. A salesman appears, “can I help?” “I’ve come to see Mr. Long” (the sales manager) I reply. “No problem”, says our chap, “He’s in his office”. He gesticulates toward the open door in the corner and heads off out to see the punters on the forecourt. Perfect. Another five minutes and I hear the phone go down, time to strike. I put my head around the corner of the door and a harassed looking man looks up from his desk. “Mr. Long?” He nods. I explain that I can see he’s busy and don’t wish to interrupt, but I understand there is a sales vacancy and would like to apply. He smiles and waves me in, excellent, I slip quickly into the seat opposite him and give him a very quick rundown of my situation and what I’m looking for.
He’s receptive and friendly and he explains that he’s looking to replace someone who’s retiring at the end of September for a start date at the beginning of October. I confirm that’d be fine by me and then I play my joker. I tell him that if it suited him I’d be more than happy to work in a part time basis in the intervening weeks if that would help him, cover weekends, whatever. It would give me some valuable experience and might make for a smoother transition.
We talk about my previous employer, he’s heard of them, and a little of his situation too. He also tells me that I’m the first applicant for the position, that won’t do me any harm either. I like this guy he seems laid back, I don’t get the impression he’s married to the company, and the set up is a lot friendlier than the plate glass palaces of the big city premium dealers too.
We shake hands after my improvised impromptu mini interview and I take my leave. That went absolutely as well as it possibly could have and it’s time to quit whilst I’m ahead. I walk back through the showroom and board the polite hatchback, swing out of the car park and onto the main road heading for my next couple of addresses.
I’d gone there with no real feeling beyond it’d be a job and it’d be convenient, but I came away with a little glow about the whole concept of working there. Perhaps the cars wouldn’t light my fire like playing with TT’s and M3′s might, but Ford has come along way in the last twenty years. Even James Bond used a Mondeo in the recent Casino Royale movie. Briefly. Until he went official and the company Aston Martin turned up (and later fell over). Doesn’t get much cooler than that.
In all I felt surprisingly good about the whole thing and I hoped it would go further.