Seeing (three pointed) stars.


The Mercedes interview was scheduled for just two days after the call, at midday. I really wasn’t sure quite what I thought of the Mercedes situation, great cars for sure, but the dealership is vast and I wondered if it might be a little impersonal. Bit of a commute too, although not quite as far as Audi in fairness.

I leave home in plenty of time, the worst thing in the world would be to be late for an interview so I arrive with about 20 minutes to spare as usual. Instead of hiding nearby I pop in to see a chum who works just around the corner and pass 10 minutes before heading back to Mercedes and walking into the showroom five minutes before the allotted hour.

The nice slim on reception takes my name and I’m asked to wait in the customer reception area. I’m never quite sure what to do whilst I wait. I don’t want to sit and stare blankly into space but neither do I feel like trying to read anything. I spot a Telegraph on the table and pick up the Business section. I figure perhaps it’ll make me look business savvy or something. Fortunately I realise fairy quickly that I’m holding it upside down…

I’m not kept waiting long before the sales manager seeks me out. Smart looking chap, friendly demeanour, he shakes me warmly by the hand and leads me back to his lair, a medium sized tidy office located in the admin area toward the rear of the premises, obligatory pastel decor and light ash furniture. On the desk is a full glass of water by my chair. A small point but it points to a level of consideration and attention to detail that I appreciate.

There he introduces me to the HR Manager who’s there to observe and take notes for him. I’ve spoken to her on the phone before now and remind her of this, saying it’s nice to put a face to a voice.

This is the fourth interview I’ve had, and it’s interesting how they’ve all been quite distinctively different. BMW was a hundred random rapid-fire think of your feet questions, MINI was an almost no questions all personal presentation, Audi a slightly chaotic rushed twenty minutes at the end of the day.

Our chap from Mercedes has adopted a more methodical approach than any so far, he has a set of obviously very carefully considered written down questions that are asked in turn with the HR Manager jotting down notes as I talk whilst he listens intently. There are absolutely no interruptions or distractions and I’m given plenty of time to think and respond, even told to just say so if I feel a question regarding my career so far is not applicable. I like this approach, it’s measured and balanced and although he doesn’t say so I feel certain that this exact procedure and technique is used for all interviews which makes me feel that I’m on an even footing with other candidates. I think very carefully about my answers, answer as expressively but concisely as I can, whilst trying to radiate my genuine enthusiasm for cars and my experience of high level customer service together with an appreciation and understanding of the sort of quality product and service that Mercedes clearly stands for.

Once we’re through the questions he explains a little about the job, what they expect in terms of sales, and what can be personally achieved if one is reasonably successful at it. And without going into specifics, what can be achieved is impressive. Properly impressive! And, once established, a proper company car scheme too. Seems Mercedes treat their sales team like proper executives, you don’t go home in whatever demonstrator is kicking about that day, you get to chose your own Mercedes down to colour and spec. This is really, I suppose, an incidental, but to a car geek like me that’s a big deal and a very attractive incentive.

That done he wraps up the meeting quickly and amicably and tells me that they’re looking to move swiftly on a decision and start date. They’re interviewing today and tomorrow and that I will have an answer in two days time. If I am successful then I will be put through to the next stage which is an on-line assessment test organised by Mercedes GB. That’s more like it, the interview with Audi was last month and I’m still waiting to hear! My last email requesting news was met with the answer that I’d hear within five days. That was six days ago and there’s been nothing.

Handshakes and smiles all round and I bid them both goodbye.

Frankly the whole thing just feels shot through with a level of professionalism and businesslike nature that wholeheartedly appeals to me.

Suddenly I want this job very much, more than the BMW position, more than MINI, more than Audi despite how much I love the cars.

Back in The Polite Hatchback I hang my jacket in the back and then slide into the front. Switching the phone on I text The Blonde as I’d promised I would.

Interview went well I think. Nice people, nice place, great cars, fantastic package. I really want this job.

I hit send and fire up the engine. Then I pause for a moment and pick the phone back up and text The Blonde once more:

I really REALLY want this job!!

Then I switch it off. I don’t want to hear from Audi yet, they’ve had three weeks to come back to me and now they’ve overrun the date by which they’d promised me an answer. They can wait a day or two, lets see what Mercedes come up with first.

I slot The Polite Hatchback into gear and trundle thoughtfully home. It’s going to be a really really long two days waiting for their answer…


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6 Responses to “Seeing (three pointed) stars.”

  1. Phirefly Says:

    you’re a tinker

  2. clare Says:

    waiting patiently….;-)

  3. Colonel Panic Says:

    Hmmmm. I’m not really so bothered waiting myself. Allow me to explain.

    Charlie, I accept that you may be new to blogging but generally, the whole point of blogging is that you can ‘keep it real’ – that phrase isn’t just something you hear on MTV, it actually has a meaning! It means that it is real and it is happening now. Otherwise it’s a narrative or a diary – a captain’s log if you will.

    If you don’t get it, don’t worry, because there really are no hard and fast rules about what a blog should or shouldn’t be. But in trying to be one thing (a blog) but actually ending up being something else (a narrative), don’t you think you’re selling your readers short a little?

    Now, can you pleease decide which you’re going to be – blog or narrative because the suspense is killing me, but ever so softly (and slightly patronisingly)?

    Cheers, Colonel Panic

    • charliecroker Says:

      CP, guilty as charged I’m sure. 😀

      In truth I’m not going for any hard and fast style, diary or narrative it is what it is. Also, sometimes it genuinely is hard to keep it bang up to date in a “narrative” style because it can take longer to explain than the actual event. For example the day I spent visiting potential employers took three days of blog to write. So if the first post on the subject goes up the following day, by the third post I’m already four days behind the actual event and then during those four days there may be a following on event to write about so that then ends up “late”. Where this has happened I have tried to explain the order and timing of events. I’m not trying to excuse the time line here, just explain how it works sometimes.

      However, come tomorrow morning (Monday) at 9am I promise you that the blog will be not only up to the day, but up to the minute. Have a look and you’ll see what I mean.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂


      • charliecroker Says:

        Indeed it seems The Blonde wasn’t keen on my ending either, so it’s gone.

        Never say Charlie Croker doesn’t respond to customer feedback (although he may sulk for a bit and mutter under his breath…)


  4. Ex chicken farmer Says:

    You are a tease!! Hopefully with a few irons in the fire something should come of it! I read Arnold Clarke are creating 700 jobs and my local Audi dealers say they have neverr had it so good! Get your next blog entry written!!!!

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