Interview from Hell

Subject: Interview from Hell
From: "Staples, Lorrie" <Lorrie -dot- Staples -at- NEXTEL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 17:26:16 -0400

Rich wrote:

<<A agree, and therein lies the frustration. Candidates are not selected on
measureable, pertinent skills and experience. They are selected on whims -
another element of our highly dysfunctional corporate environments.>>

I have changed my tactics on all this interviewing, having been laid off 3
times in 2-1/2 years a few years ago. I go into the interview "knowing"
that I have great skills . . . for the "right" company for me to work in. I
look at the interview as though I'm a vendor showcasing my abilities. If
it's a fit, they'll buy. I refuse to get my hopes up no matter how peachy
they present the job during the interview.

When I leave the interview, I look at it very objectively instead of
emotionally. I ask myself what is the worst possible thing that could
happen - - they don't hire me . . . Ok, I'm not going to die without that
job . . . Then, if they are not interested, so what. At least I got a
chance to "keep my hand in" at my interviewing skills. In addition, I tell
myself that the situation wouldn't have been right for me anyway, because
there are always unknown things that occur after you are hired, where the
job doesn't 100% meet your expectations.

Steven J. Owens wrote about flying out across the country for an all-day
interview. The whole time I was reading your story, I was thinking, been
there, done that . . .

My interview from hell was approximately the same story as yours, Steven,
except it was with a world-wide pharmaceutical company in another state who
claims to rely heavily on company employee referrals. My friend, a 27 year
employee, had submitted my resume which was then pulled from the company
database. After an initial phone screen, they called to schedule a personal
interview right away, so I "went through hoops" to have my kids taken care
of at the last minute while I flew up.

They grilled me all day (10 hours, from 8am to 6pm) with back-to-back
interviews every hour on the hour, moving from conference room to conference
room all over this really big campus. (I even had to request restroom
breaks as the schedule was so tight.) Even lunch was part of a double
interview in the company cafeteria with the boss (what, so he could watch my
eating habits while confined in a suit?? It was really fun answering
complex, abstract questions about the meaning of life in between mouthfuls
of salad <grin>).

Of course, being a big corporation, they have people in HR whose only value
is to dream up all these ridiculous abstract questions to ask you, & all the
interviewers have to ask you the same questions in 12 different ways. You
are really strung out by the end of the day, because it's like performing
onstage for 10 hours straight. Thank God they had a car to drive me back to
the airport, because I wouldn't have made it due to my mental exhaustion.
By the time I got to the airport, I'd missed the early evening flight & so I
didn't get home until after midnight.

I, too, thought my interviews went extremely well. The boss even assured me
several times that I'd hear from him within 2 weeks and, during the course
of the interview, he had done the classic "start referring to you in the
position already" in his sentences - - something that is "supposed" to be a
very positive sign. He made mention several times of being impressed with
all my diverse background and was very positive about my ability to do the

Of course, the very next day, since I'd received business cards from most of
the interviewers, I sent e-mail thank you's for their time.

Well, 2 weeks went by, then 3 and then 4 with no promised communication.
Since I hadn't heard anything, I finally e-mailed the boss again to ask the
status. I got no response again. Sure enough, 3 days later, I received the
TnT letter with the postmark of the day I'd sent the e-mail. All that
grueling day had been for nothing.

My friend pursued the "why" internally and the best she could come up with
was that another candidate had come in who had a Bachelor's degree & then I
didn't stand a chance, even if I could walk on water because this company is
BIG on Bachelor's degrees. Being a single mom of small children for the
past 6 years, I've never completed mine (I have an Associates & a partial
Bachelors). They KNEW before I flew up there that I hadn't completed my
Bachelor's degree, so why did they waste my time? Was I just a pawn to fill
some quota of interviewees? If so, why did they go past the phone

Stuff happens . . . <grin> It's 10% what happens to you & 90% what you do
with it!

Have a great day!

Lorrie Staples
Technical Writer, Lead
Nextel Communications
Norcross, GA
678/291-3544 (Desk)
770/560-2636 (iDEN - wireless)

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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