Monday, October 25, 2010

My Failed Job Interviews

Image: Psychology Today
If human resources departments gave grades for job interviews I would be given an F. That's right, an F for Failed, or another word that begins with the same letter.

I'm just no good at it.

I guess I have been fortunate. I had never needed to do a serious job interview until I was near fifty, then for whatever reason, I decided I needed to get a real job, the kind where you have to take tests, and answer scientifically chosen questions about yourself and your knowledge of the business.

And then to be interviewed, which was to become my stumbling block.

"Why do you want to work here at Schmedly and Sons?"

This is a tricky one. "Because I'm looking for a job you stupid SOB," is not the right answer.

"Tell me a weakness you have as it relates to business." 

If I know that I am supposed to say, "I work too much and expect too little in compensation because that's the way my depression-era parents raised me," shouldn't I assume that he knows I am going to say it and that it's not true.

Once, when applying for a sales position, I was asked why I considered myself a good salesman. My answer was that I must not be a good salesman because if I was a good salesman I wouldn't be looking for a job. Wrong answer. I didn't get the job.

On another interview I was asked to talk about myself and my experience. I hate talking about myself, so I asked her if she had read my resume. She replied, yes, curtly, and asked me to talk about myself anyway. I said, read the resume, that's what they are for. Wrong attitude. She ended the interview.

The weirdest HR guy I ever met didn't say much of anything. He just smiled, nodded, and said, "go on," like a priest in the confessional. I soon ran out of things to talk about and by the third, "go on," I think I was rambling on about my kids and camping or some such nonsense.

Needless to say, I wasn't offered the job.

I do think it's about time for a more human approach to the hiring process, but even then, I doubt if I will be very good at it.



Jake Good said...

Developer interviews are strange as well, it's like a nerd battle with the person interviewing having a pre-determined question that they know the answer too... and in the little bit of time, the interviewee puts together a solution... It's awkward.. It doesn't have to be right or whatever, but it's still stressful...

I don't like it when people cut your talking off with "uh huh" "right right" or those little annoying "ok, I got it remarks"...

"Yeah, so I am current..." "uh huh"

Francis Shivone said...

I was thinking just yesterday how that trip went for you. Funny description of the developer-conducted interview. Regardless, I hope it works out.