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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Dec 5, 2010

Worst Interview Ever III

Here’s another 2nd person account of a terrible interview. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

A year ago, “Janet Blackstock” was in the market for a new job. She found one at a national philanthropic organization located in a downtown high-rise, and sent them her resume.  The posting was for a low-level administrative position that she could do from 9 to 5 while attending university on nights and weekends.  The salary was sufficient, but not great, and she’d recently heard that this organization was not an awesome employer. Needless to say, getting this job was not a matter of life or death for her.

Janet arrived at the interview on floor 9, 15 minutes early and introduced herself to the receptionist.  After 30 minutes the interviewer had not arrived, but she waited patiently. At 40 miutes after her arrival, the interviewer’s assistant came out to speak to her. “The job that you’re to interview for is filled. Sorry.” She then offered Janet a chance to test for a different—more responsible—position in the same area. Janet was dubious but positive about the situation. She reacquainted the lackey her skills as listed on her resume, making sure to point out that her typing speed was lower than the position required—even allowing for 100% accuracy.  The lackey smiled, waved off her protests, and got the testing room set up for Janet.

30 minutes later, our heroine emerged from the test to await her  results. The computer-generated verdict was that she did not have a high enough typing speed to apply for the job. Janet thanked the stupid go-between and slinked off back to Mt. Vernon for lunch and a quick sulk. She had spent nearly 2 hours in travel, waiting, and pointless testing.

Today, Janet holds a Master’s degree and is an art director at in a communications firm in PA. When retelling this story she always laments that she could have been more firm about her desire to skip the test, and left the office when she learned that her job was filled.

The moral of the story is that she’s right. There’s no reason to be a push over in an interview. You should let the hiring manager direct the flow of the conversation, while always remembering your agenda items: finding out about the company, seeing if it’s a good fit for you, selling yourself as the ideal candidate.