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Monday, March 15, 2010

Adventures in interviewing


So out of the blue, a couple of weeks ago, I heard from an executive recruiter who I had spoken to last many years ago. Literally, years. She’d been trying to fill a position for a particular company since October, and this company kept changing their requirements, wasn’t happy with even the most qualified of people, etc. Basically a big clusterfuck. So of course I said sign me up! Okay, not really, but I figured what the hell, sure I’ll talk to these people. Even though the job sounded odd (for a company that sells software that automates Word editing), and fractious (they were doing interviews at a local restaurant so current employees wouldn’t find out they were looking to recruit someone from the outside).

Anyway, the woman from the company wanted to do a phone interview first. Fine, though I hate those because then I don’t get the opportunity to dazzle people with my in-person wit and charm. And it seemed to go okay enough, though I did learn a few things:

1. People interviewing you have no sense of humor. So when she asked me “What was the most difficult challenge you had to face this year?”, my response of “Well, the year is still pretty young, now isn’t it?” didn’t go over too well. Even when I added “I’m just joking.” How was I supposed to know she meant this past year as a whole??

2. Related to that, it’s probably not a good thing to insert a long pause and then almost start laughing incredulously when asked question about said challenges. At least to my credit I made up some mumbo-jumbo about “keeping my current work challenging and interesting” rather than what I really wanted to say, which would have been something like this: “Umm, tough call. Maybe it’s been dealing with all these additional craptastic surgeries? Like the one where I had my lat removed? Wanna see the scar? Or it could have been trying to keep my head afloat and pay my bills after getting into many arguments with my asshat insurance company that doesn’t want to pay my fucking bills. Yeah, that’s kind of sucked too. Or rather, has presented itself as a challenge.”

Hmm, you know, it might be a good thing actually that it was a phone interview.

3. When they ask you the really inane questions, like “How do you stay organized?”, the answer they’re looking for is probably NOT the one that is the least bit truthful, for me and everyone else. Which would be this: “Oh, I generally just use the Stack o’ Paper method – that’s worked pretty well for me.” I do wonder though what she was expecting to hear – something about process flow and GANTT charts and multiple Excel spreadsheets using Solver? “If notes from Meeting A need to go in blue file folder CX, what color folder should be used for Meeting B for maximum optimization and efficiency?”

Umm, yeah, if that’s what she was looking for, she didn’t get it.

There were other random and bizarre questions, but of course nothing pertaining to my actual skills and accomplishments. Imagine that. Isn't anyone out there interested in hiring a witty yet bitter smartass? I gots mad skilz, really.....

4 comments:

UG said...

I'm about to kick off the job hunt and I got the chills thinking about how stupid interviewers are. I hate this crap.

t-odd said...

I know, right? Interviews are so retarded. (I make sure I say "retarded" at least a couple of times during an interview - it seems to be a winning strategy thus far.)

UG said...

Call them Dude or Brah every once in a while and you have a brilliant job hunting strategy.

Roadie in Vancouver said...

Typical HR nonsense, they are so clueless.