by Morris J. Marshall
Krista Beauregard, a part-time college professor, is delayed in rush-hour traffic one winter morning. Toronto police have cordoned off the intersection of Yonge and King Streets, and a bloody tarp lies on the sidewalk. Krista discovers that this incident has a personal connection: Gavin McLeod, her former top student, has died in a fall from a nearby office building in which he worked. The police quickly close the case, contending it was a suicide, although one of the investigating officers suspects more is at play. Devastated by the suicide ruling, Gavin’s father asks Krista to help him discover what really happened.
Chapter 9: : Interview
Krista looked up from her Economist magazine. She had been reading an article about the fall of the U.S. housing market in 2008 and the near-depression that had ensued.
“Mr. Gavner will see you now,” the receptionist said. “His office is the first door to your right.”
Krista closed the magazine and returned it to the table. She picked up her briefcase. Before she could turn the corner, a tall, slim man with curly, greyish hair and bright brown eyes came bustling out to meet her. He wore a tight-fitting, dark blue suit and a red tie. He extended his right hand. “I’m Earl Gavner, Chief Financial Officer at DBC Financial.”
“Krista Beauregard.” She smiled and shook his hand firmly. It was warm and sweaty. Her first inclination was to wipe her hand on her skirt, but she restrained herself.
Gavner waved her into his office as if he were an usher at a theatre. A floor-to-ceiling window covered the wall. A workspace in one corner contained a large oak desk with a personal computer and some family photos. A bench press, some free weights and a treadmill occupied the other corner.
“What a beautiful view,” Krista said, staring through the window at the CN Tower and Toronto skyline. Lake Ontario was visible in the distance.
“It is nice,” Gavner agreed. “I guess I see it so frequently that I don’t appreciate it as much. Have a seat, Krista, and we’ll get started.”
She placed her briefcase on the carpeted floor and sat down in a chair in front of Gavner’s desk, crossing her left leg over her right. Perching herself on the edge of her chair, she straightened her back, mentally culling up everything she’d read about successful interviews. Look alert and interested. Maintain proper eye contract. Don’t fiddle with your hands. Put them in your lap and make them stay there.
“I see here, Krista, that you’re a part-time economics professor at Apex College and that you have some experience in Finance.”
She nodded. “I’ve been teaching part-time for the last ten years.”
Gavner opened a file folder. “Do you have any experience with giving clients financial advice? The position involves meeting with potential customers, determining their risk tolerance and finding an investment that suits their preference.”
“I worked at Toronto Dominion Bank several summers ago, just after getting the first part of my Certified Financial Planners designation. Most of that work was with mutual funds.”
“Your resume also says that you have strong soft skills and a Masters in Economics. Both plusses. To be frank, you seem a little overqualified for this position.”
Krista leaned forward. “I’m really interested. I’m looking for some real-life experiences in a firm that I can bring back to my students.”
“How is your knowledge of Derivatives?” Gavner asked.
“I understand Puts and Calls. I also know about short-selling.”
“That’ll come in helpful.” Gavner paused, got up and closed the office door. He sat down and the volume of his voice fell noticeably. “As you know, because of the nature of this position, we’d ask you to sign a confidentiality clause and a non-compete clause. People are finicky about protecting their privacy with regard to their investments. You’re also not allowed to work for any of our competitors. Are any of these a problem for you?”
“I’m a confidential person by nature.”
Gavner smiled and stood up. “Great. That’s all I wanted to ask. I have a few more people to interview. We’ll make a decision by next week and, either way, I’ll be in touch.”
He accompanied Krista to the front door. She smiled and shook hands with him. This time his hand felt dry and dusty as though he’d dipped it in baby powder.
“Thanks again for seeing me,” she said and walked down the hall to the elevator.
Copyright © 2017 by Morris J. Marshall