File this under: interviews gone wrong, open mouth insert foot, it wasn’t meant to be
Ok, so where to begin… I had been interviewing for jobs for months. Like from the moment I graduated from grad school well into the new year. It seemed like it had been going on forever… and ever. My attitude at the beginning of this almost year long stretch had been: Eager! Hopeful! Earnest! But after months of being in the game, my interview ethos had turned into something more like “Oh! Something to do today so I actually will put on outfit on and maybe some makeup too!” I HAD to prove to myself I still had “it.” Whatever “it” is.
Anyway, I had met a recruiter around Thanksgiving time that was (FINALLY) sending me on interviews around mid-January. I should have known it was going to be a shit show when I showed up for my first interview at “this place,” and my interviewer didn’t even glance in my direction in the open office until a half hour after our scheduled meeting time.
“Oh,” she said, “I don’t remember confirming with your recruiter, but you’re here so lets get to it.” We had our tete-a-tete. Why here? Why us? Why you? Why now? And OF COURSE ended with her asking me “Can you do this project for us? We have a very specific style and want to make sure you’re a good fit.” I hear, “We want to make sure you can actually do work.” And I’m thinking, “Do a project! Why I’d LOVE to! I LOVE giving my time and ideas away for free. How did you know!?!”
So I did the project in the URGENT week turnaround time requested and heard nothing for about a month. Then I get called in for the second interview. “Ok,” I thought, “he’s going to GUSH over my project.” So we have our tete-a-tete. Why here? Why us? Why you? Why now? And then, do you have any questions for me. Note: he had not mentioned my project at all during the main interview. So I say, “Well, I did that project for you was hoping to get some feedback on it.” And he says, “Oh, yeah. I haven’t even looked at the project. Do you want to walk me through it.”
“Sure,” I say and proceed to walk him through the project. At the end he says, “Wow, this is great! You really got our style. How did you even know.”
And I say, “I found some of your projects online and mimicked the style.”
He says, “Do you mind if I share this with our ENTIRE team.”
And I say, “Why no, of course not. I did it for you.” Thinking why has no one seen my project, but whatever. We end with smiles and a request for me to come back to meet the CEO!!! And a promise that, “We’ll be in touch very soon!”
And then I hear nothing for about three weeks until my recruiter emails and says, “This place” wants you to meet the CEO, but he’s ONLY available at this time on this day. Can you make it happen?” And as an eager unemployed, over educated girl I write, “Yes! Of course! No Problem!”
The day before the interview I get an email that says, “Oops! Something came up for Mr. CEO. Can you do tomorrow at 5pm? SO SORRY!”
“Of course! No problem at all!” I reply. After all I’m unemployed and he’s traveling and the CEO and busy. These things just happen… My time means nothing.
I show up for my interview at 5pm sharp just in time to hear the champagne bottles pop as I enter the door. This is the PERFECT time for my interview. Apparently they were having a company pow-wow this week and that’s why the CEO – who lives in Vancouver was in town. They have small offices all over the globe. I can tell instantly that of course the CEO wants to have this interview with me instead of have a glass of champagne with all these other people he knows already, but I’m here and it’s going to GO DOWN.
We walk through the open office to the back conference room and shut the door. He says, the obligatory thanks for coming in and then says, “ You’ve met Joe and Jane so that’s good. You told them about your resume or whatever. It’s been a long day, why don’t you just tell me a story. “
“Ok” I say. I got this… and proceed to tell him a story. Then he tells me about how the company is expanding and they have to hire more people. “We need more people now and we are interviewing people, but I think we need to be interviewing MORE people, but I just don’t think we have the time to go through it all.”
This is not the encouraging commentary I was expecting to hear, but we continue on with our banter and I think it’s going fine, not well, but definitely fine. We get towards the end of our interview and Mr. CEO asks “What do you like to do for fun?”
And I say, “Oh! I do yoga, and I love to cook and I love to go to flea markets and estate sales…..”
He interrupts me and says, “Do you like to travel!?” Like that was the right answer to the question.
And I say, “Of course! I was just in Brazil and Italy and I have a long list of places I want to go.”
“Oh really, where do you want to go?”
“So many places. Istanbul, Barcelona, Marrakech, the Greek Islands.”
“Why the Greek Islands?”
“Because NO ONE is talking about them right now and I keep looking at pictures of Crete and Mykonos on Pinterest and it just looks so beautiful. Everyone is talking about Tulum right now. It’s like, “Tulum. Tulum. Tulum!” Which looks amazing, don’t get me wrong – but I want seems like it might be better to go somewhere no one is talking about – or whatever.”
“Ok!” He says, “Well, it was really nice to meet you. Sorry if I’ve been a little bit out of it during this interview. It’s been a long week, and I was just on vacation.”
“Oh, no way! Where were you?”
“Tulum,” he says, completely straight faced.
I could have DIED. I try to recover and say, “Why didn’t you tell me to shut up?”
And he says, “Oh, it’s fine.”
As he walks me back through the open office toward the front door he mentions,
“We’re interviewing other people.” Maybe to remind me of the beginning of our conversation when he said he wanted to interview the entirety of NYC for this position– if only there was time!
And I say, “I would be surprised if you weren’t.”
Then he says, “Are you coming tomorrow” Like I should be fully aware of the company wide pow wow happening tomorrow like I was already an employee!
“I wasn’t invited.” I reply. And I never heard from them again.