This actually happened to me.
I was applying for a call-center position as a Technical Service Representative in one of the local business process outsourcing companies. I have already gone thru the earlier stages: preliminary phone interview; English grammar, syntax, and words familiarity tests; typing speed evaluation; and customer satisfaction assessment. As last part of the online examination, the proctor told us to write an essay within 15-minute time allotment, "Who I would like to meet in hell, and why."
The instruction came as a complete surprise to me as well as to many others in our batch of prospective employees. After being scrutinized on conversational ability, speaking and active listening skills, knowledge of synonyms, antonyms, acronyms (abbreviation made up of initials e.g.; WWW = world wide web, USB = universal serial bus, WYSIWYG = what you see is what you get), competence in handling customer complaints, mathematical aptitude, and so forth, we were not prepared to worry about what goes in or have any intention of visiting hell.
The clock began ticking.
My mind raced thru several possibilities, which has to be known worldwide; should it be in the political, historical, show business, or sports, circles; should it be of financial, educational, or scientific, fame. I finally settled on the last choice because I wanted to give an indication of my technical background, but who should I pick?
"Only ten minutes more."
Just then I remembered one of my favorite contemporary authors, Carl Sagan. He was an astrophysicist who popularized space exploration to the general public thru a series of television episodes entitled Cosmos. His numerous published works written in layman language were instrumental in bringing the concepts of relativity, planetary travel, and space rocketry within the grasp of ordinary people. What's more, he was an avowed agnostic. I had my perfect selection.
How to present my composition?
It has been many years since I wrote one, in fact not since college. Still, I definitely recall that basically I must have an eye-catching opening statement and a smooth-flowing theme. For some reason the following statement came into my mind: "Abandon hope, all you who enter here." from some mythological sources of long ago Very appropriate for hell, I thought.
"Five more minutes."
Feeling the time pressure, I had to start tapping the keys and wished my creative juices would flow uninterrupted until end of the allotted period. Finally I was able to write this:
"Who I Would Like to Meet in Hell and Why
"‘Abandon Hope, All You Enter Here'
"So says the inscription at the entrance of hell. Therefore, if I am given the unconditional promise of the Almighty that I would be able to return back to the land of the living, and I am accompanied by the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, I really would like to meet Mr. Carl Sagan. He is the famous astrophysicist who popularized inter-planetary travel to the general public, and also an agnostic or non-believer.
I want to ask him if he still has the same opinion of God. "
"Time is up!'