I have had several bad interview experiences of which I wish to share in hopes of expert feedback. When I think back to post-recession days, I form the opinion that in this period, there was a surplus of jobs verses people who were capable/ willing to do them. This lead to things like more opportunities for on the job training, internships, part time jobs and relevant income earning activities. More recently, there has been a shift which shows a surplus in unemployed candidates verses jobs available. It is because of this observation that the question of employment standards needs to be raised and hopefully addressed.
The worst telephone interview ever
A job interview is typically a reply from a potential employer seeking further correspondence from a potential employee. It is usually an arranged face to face meeting but it can be over the telephone or a multimedia correspondence over the internet. Regardless of how the meeting is organised it is usually conducted in polite, professional tone usually leaving no significant negative feelings between employer or employee. In a discussion today, I have realised that I have had some fairly interesting and downright unusual interviews. I am sharing some of my worst experiences in hopes to receive some advice and general feedback.
On one particularly bright day I received a call from a lady who possessed no noticeably firm voice. She politely asked me to verify that I was the person who sent the application and then asked if it was convenient to do an interview over the telephone which I consented to. After what seemed like less than one minute went by I answered a few basic questions on my age and education status. It was at this time that her voice had quickly become firmer; I interpreted this as being more relaxed. I maintained the same cordial disposition which I started the conversation. I was excited at the prospect of being offered a job even though it would have been something that others in my experience would not consider relevant. The conversation progressed for what seemed like less than a minute when I was asked the question: ‘have you ever had a full time job?’ To which I replied, ‘yes.’ She then made another specific question to my employment. I tried to point out that my tertiary studies would be the reason for my lack of a full time job. It was at this point the woman became very aggressive and bellowed through the phone demanding a yes or no. My answer was no. Without another word, she slammed down the telephone.
Another unforgettable experience gave me an introduction to multiple interview process. With this particular organisation, my first interview went smoothly. Although the response was not the one I hoped for, it was clear from the interview that there were unforeseen time constraints and deadlines. Therefore, we were both in mutually good spirits with an understanding of each other’s direction. I was encouraged to contact this organisation again should my situation change. A few months after, it did. So one email and a phone call later, I found myself in this the lobby of my potential employer. On my first occasion, an error with my smart phone and a miscalculation of the traffic on the road caused me to be there almost one hour early (I use public transportation). On this occasion, I arrived half an hour early to the interview and was told that my interviewer (and I will never forget this) “has gone to lunch because he expected me to be earlier.” In polite shock I composed my slack jaw to ask whether I got the time wrong. The receptionist assured me I did not and ushered me to a seat.
The interview itself was also filled with firsts.
This interview, as I have told those close to me, was the first time I was interviewed by a male who was young enough (and other preferences) for me to find him attractive. To his credit, the multitasking my brain had to do probably did not help my responses to be the most exceptional. Also, the fact that I was visibly sick may have irritated him a bit. After the usual pleasantries and interview questions he was indeed very blunt and matter a fact with his musings. It was the epitome of a professional insults said in the most demeaning tone. I did not flinch, I continued to sell myself as an ideal and experienced candidate for the role. The interviewer was indeed impressed with my response, commending me for being the first person to withstand this particular part of the interview. I felt a bit guilty because I used his moment of drama to mentally drool. So the half smile that accompanied my ‘thank you’ may have been for the compliment or the thoughts I secretly got away with.
I left the interview and had a great day. One week later I was called to be told that I did not receive the job however the same interviewer would like to interview me for another vacancy in the firm. Unfortunately, I was low on funds that day and had no perceivable way to make the interview within a few hours of the call. Apparently, the lady was not too fond of the fact that I politely asked for another day to be interviewed and eventually said bluntly to me, “you want the job or not?” To which, I realised my only other option was to decline.
And I wish that was the time of the interview for being a stripper...
A good write up on a vacancy can do wonders. I do not remember what the particulars were but I remember the job entailed co-ordinating entertainment for young persons. For some reason, I ignored the fact that there was only a name and a phone number to call. The phone call was light and cheery and even though I made the point that I was not at home and not prepared for an interview (as I was involved in one of my volunteer capacities) the interviewer encouraged me to come to an interview as soon as my volunteering was done.
On arrival to the site in question, the first thing I noticed was that it was a site of ongoing construction. The men stared as I searched for the door as it was described to me on the telephone and recognised the door when a lady came out of it. The silent gaping of the men went unnoticed as I made a mental note of a woman with average bust with too much cleavage showing. It looked unprofessional and it repulsed me but it comforted me to know that I was not the worst dressed for the interview. When I entered the unpainted and otherwise unfinished room the interviewer made an odd pause before running through the usual interview pleasantries. He apologised for the state of the room and while doing so, I interpreted his shock and unease as some form of tiredness. (Clearly, I assume the best in everyone I meet). However, the constant drill of the construction equipment supported the idea of fatigue. For the time that I was there it definitely took a toll on me and I could not imagine what it was like to be there all day.
This was not a normal interview, but my final clue was after. After leaving the interview which took and 35% of the interview time to talk about what the job actually entailed the interviewer suggested that I write up a proposal and submit it to him. The tone of the conversation lead me to go along with it. It was outside of the meeting room where I considered asking for an email address and so I paused to consider turning around. It was as this time I felt the same construction workers staring at me. What he thought was a soft comment was not. I could feel the stares in my back emphasising I had only a second ago caught in the corner of my eye. Almost blending in with the drill of the jackhammer I heard the words that broke the silence of the men.
“Man she doan look like nuh strippa.”
On another sexual note.
Have you ever been a situation with your significant other where you mused about “interviewing” one another for a “job?” Then these two accounts are probably why such suggestions do not win attraction points for anyone who suggests it to me.
Previously, my standard line to be interviewed would be at some place of business, even if the building is changing hands and undergoing construction. One night in question, after overhearing about and asking to join an interview I found myself behind the clouds that blocked the fading sun. I was being greeted by my interviewer, at the interviewer’s house. The interviewer in question seemed very comfortable wearing a vest and an exercise shorts because of the heat of the evening. Traditionally, Barbadians do not consider 6pm to be humid especially in the windy area of said residence, however, I allowed it. Someone presenting an opportunity to work with one of the major financial institutions of the region (and maybe the world) could be afforded a few liberties such as inappropriate attire, sweaty appearance...and a messy workspace.
Aside from being interviewed after hours at an inappropriate location, there were other hints that brought to mind being arrested for fraud. I would have been excused from not knowing. It was a short time between asking to join the interview and the interview so even though I would have not been expected to know much in the first meeting, research would have been required for the next one. Using the information given, I discovered that one online address my potential employer gave me was an unconstructed wordpress blog with a paid domain. Ever the optimist, I just assumed that the interviewer was cheap. The website was simply a reflection of the person. Nothing more, right? The fact that this was someone in a supervisory position in an organisation whose clients are one of the regions’ largest financial institutions was not important because this was simply a reflection of the person. However, when both organisations would have had to review and discuss the documents that were important for the job and these instruments still consist of blaring typos, this self publishing blogger knew better than to find another excuse for that.
These experiences lead me to question the extent to which potential employers have a standard of quality that they owe to their potential employees. In the world of business, there are businesses known for their quality service and quality products and some who are known for exactly the opposite. It therefore should come as no surprise that such reputations can trickle down into every aspect of the business. Another piece to consider would be that all individuals may not be a micro representation of the business that their individual interactions can leave a lasting impression that should be given less credit than they are. It is also possible that these incidences are perfect examples of me thinking the best of situations which really are not acceptable. What are your thoughts?