The worst job interview

A few weeks ago, I got an email inviting me to apply for an open job position. Writing a novel is all well and good, but until that sells I need a job to pay my bills. I was more than qualified for the position and I figured I would apply as a safety net. I bought a new interview outfit, updated my resume, practiced my talking points, and then showed up. You know what they say about Β 99% of success is just showing up? That’s b.s.

Over 200 people showed up for this “job interview,” which was more like a cattle call. It took place in a school auditorium with terrible acoustics so everyone was yelling to be heard. The heat was turned up, so the room stank of sweaty wool suits. I waited Β in line for a half hour to talk to H.R. and when I finally got to the front, I was sat with 9 other people at a round table. We all had to go in a circle pitching our qualifications. One after one, I listened to the other candidates amazing backgrounds. Even though I knew I would be amazing at the job, I couldn’t compete with the 9 other people at my table let alone the 190 other people in the room. Nor did I want to.

I was herded to the next H.R. table where the person took one look at my resume, with two years of experience in a director position and three years of experience as the vice president of a company, and all she said was, “Wow, you’re really unfocused.” At which point I collected my things and left.

This terrible experience was exactly what I needed to get the ball rolling on my website for Brutal First Impressions. I am far too creative, curious, and, yes, unfocused, to mold myself into some boring job. I can’t and don’t want to compete in this kind of demeaning job market so the only solution is to create my own job market.

I’m really hoping Brutal First Impressions will be successful and I can look back on this terrible job interview as a catalyst for a great career, but for the meantime, I’m still pretty bitter.

19 comments

  1. Isn’t it interesting how these roadblocks get us refocused on our goals? It’s like we need a prod in the right direction every once in a while. I’ve stayed at home for quite a while to homeschool our kids and work on my freelance career. I interviewed for a job last year, and the HR lady looked at my resume and said “But when was the last time you actually used your degree?” Like it has an expiration date or something! I learned later that she didn’t even have a college degree. People are very odd in how they view career changes, aren’t they? I love your “Brutal First Impressions” and can’t wait to see where it goes!!

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  2. O.K. so I can relate. I just put in a resume and completed an application for a part-time reception type position because, like you, I need a little extra money that all my unpaid writing gigs don’t provide. I have managed an entire college department before, with personnel, hundreds of appointments, multiple programming and budgets, and I didn’t even get an interview. Sigh.

    I can’t wait to see where you go with your dreams. I can just tell it will carry you far. You have that kind of energy.

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    1. Ahhh I’ve applied for so many jobs where I thought I was a shoo in and then I never heard anything from them. Sometimes I think it’s worse to not hear anything than to get a flat out “thanks but no thanks.”
      Thanks for the vote of confidence and good luck on your job search!

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  3. It was worse than my experience. I went for a job and they told me up front they wanted a Black teacher/female. Since I was a White/male I stood no chance. I traveled an hour to get there for a two minute interview because they could not tell me that over the phone. Was it wrong, probably but I just left and went on the next offer.

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    1. Wow that seems illegal. I thought you’re not allowed to hire based on skin color. I understand wanting diversity in the classroom, but that shouldn’t be the only criteria. Sorry about that.

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  4. As frustrating as that experience was, you got the intended message. That job or any job that would pigeon hole you would just be so so wrong. You’re young…spread your wings and fly.

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  5. Sometimes the universe sets up a fail so we go for it on our own. πŸ™‚ Hope all wonderful, wonderful things for you. I so enjoy reading your blog! lots of love xxx

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  6. Our lives really are too precious to be wasted fitting into somebody else’s mold. I learned it a bit late in my own life and regret to a degree the time wasted and the unnecessary stress over the unimportant that I endured. So I am cheering you on as you reject that way and choose your own way. Wishing you all the best for that journey.

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  7. What an awful experience. Don’t blame you for leaving that interview. You are young, ambitious, talented … you have every reason to go seek out what *you* want, not what others are willing to hand out to you. Best of luck to you, Tracy, in your search. I have every confidence that you will find just what you want.

    Now, as for that brutal first impression, I’d be quite happy to pay my $5 to get your take on me. Do you accept Paypal? Or perhaps I have to wait until I eventually make it to New York City? πŸ™‚

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    1. Awesome! You’ll bee my first customer. hopefully I’ll have the website ready by next week. I’m going to have lots of online features so you won’t have to come to New York for some brutality πŸ™‚

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