Early one morning, I was awakened by a desperate call. I was invited to a job interview, to be held immediately. I couldn’t remember applying for it. So I asked the name of the company. They weren’t sure. Wanting to be helpful, I asked where the interview was. They said they were waiting for me in my living room. Surprised, I jumped out of bed. I asked when this interview was and they said: “Now”. I thanked the caller, hung up the phone and stumbled into the living room, pulling up my pyjamas, rubbing my eyes.
There sat four executives. They had moved my table and chairs from the kitchen and invited me to sit. They said I was punctual, which was advantageous. They asked if I had trouble finding the place. I said no; this seemed to impress them. They were brimming with confidence. One of them asked if I wanted coffee. I couldn’t pass that up, so I said yes. But another announced he couldn’t find it. I settled for water. I figured I could make a pot when they left. I asked how long this interview would last. That seemed to unsettle them.
Suddenly, they didn’t think I was right for the job. Tired and feeling blunt (I’m not a morning person), I said a job interview was a two way street; I asked if they were right for me. They were visibly taken aback, perhaps surprised since the interview got off to such a great start. Feeling cooperative, not wanting to cause a stir, I asked what the name of the company was and what the job entailed. This line of questioning caught them off guard. They didn’t know what to do. A nervous discussion broke out between them. One of them resigned and went home. The remaining three agreed to continue with the interview, if I was willing. I scratched my head and yawned. I told them it was a bit unorthodox, but I suppose I could. Now it was down to business.
They told me they had a few standard questions, after which I could ask them some questions. I said that sounded fine. Before we began, they thanked me for coming in on such short notice. Consulting their notes, the questions began. The first exec asked me what made me the ideal candidate for the job. I said I was flexible, friendly, patient and cooperative – able to handle any job, especially one that may or may not exist. They obviously liked that answer, furiously scribbling notes. The second exec asked if I had any other interviews planned; obviously, they had their sights set on me. I replied that I received no other calls this morning, and unless they were hiding in my closet, washroom or kitchen, no other interviews were imminent. This news seemed to boost their mood. They agreed that they had not come across other people wanting to interview me in my apartment. The last exec asked me about my future plans. I said I wanted to eat, shower, get dressed and go to work. That went over very well. They said I was hired. I didn’t get to ask my questions, but I was too tired anyway. We took turns shaking hands. They shook hands with each other as well.
On the way out of my apartment, they said they would be in touch. I asked about references, as if by rote. They said they’d email them to me, clearly misunderstanding my request. I began to wonder about these three, but remained courteous. I told them I looked forward to finding out more about the job I was going to get, where it would be and who I’d be working for. They laughed, thanked me for my time, waved and disappeared into the elevator. I did the only logical thing – went back to bed.
Just as I was about to fall back asleep, I received another desperate call. They informed me that the board had decided not to hire at this time. They apologised for taking so long to get back to me. Wanting to get back to sleep, I thanked the caller, but they insisted on continuing. They told me I had interviewed very well, impressed the execs with my skills and experience and they would keep me in mind for future positions. I said OK. They thanked me again for my time. After an awkward exchange of thank yous and goodbyes, each of us failing to recognize an acceptable exit, the call finally ended.
Trying to doze off, I figure it was all for the best. Upon reflection, they didn’t interview very well. I felt they failed to supply sufficient detail – like who, what, where, why, when and how. Not a good fit for me. I convinced myself that its best to go looking for the ideal job, put some heart and soul into it, rather than rely on employers showing up in your living room early in the morning. There is no easy street when it comes to finding work. You’ve got to work to work. In the future, I won’t agree to job interviews in my living room – especially early morning ones. Maybe they had no intention of hiring me at all; they only wanted to get a look at my stuff. Maybe this was a cost cutting measure; holding interviews in the candidate’s apartment freed up office space and lowered admin costs, like having to buy coffee. Still, didn’t seem like the sort of place I’d like to work. I sensed organisational problems. What sort of company wakes people up, interviews them, offers them a job then moments later discovers they don’t have the authority to hire? They wasted my morning. Very unprofessional! I take it they saw my CV, and didn’t just randomly dial numbers, hoping to find someone to interview. Either way, they should have carefully considered what I could have brought to the position. I myself have no idea what that would be, but it should have been considered.
Suddenly, I became charged with a certain confidence normally absent within fifty feet of my mortal coil. Clearly, I was in demand – me! I’ve always told people that a job interview was a two-way street: they are interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them. I felt I practiced what I preached. It appeared I had the skills, education and experience that they needed to be successful (if success was their goal, and let’s assume for the sake of argument that it was). After all, I was the one preparing, organizing and making a major change to my morning routine to accommodate them. All they had to do was drag some furniture from my kitchen. Under normal circumstances, a candidate may not be interviewed somewhere in their apartment. Realistically, they could drive hours out of their way to meet with execs; and all the execs have to do is book a room (OK – maybe make the coffee)! I figured that few people take this into consideration – their own self worth. If they did, it would greatly boost confidence and prevent them from taking a job that just wasn’t right for them; that wouldn’t be good for them or the employer! With this knowledge in mind, I slept soundly.