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Thursday, September 9, 2010

interviewers who suck: our next installment

I know you guys like interview horror stories -- because you're sadists? -- so here's a great one for you. A reader writes:

I interviewed with a company this morning for an entry-level position. HR called me yesterday to schedule an interview with me for 10 am today. I arrived at the interview approximately 3 minutes early and there were 2 women waiting to go in for their interviews. The interviewer finally took one of the people waiting for an interview in at about 10:05. I found out that she was scheduled for an interview at 9 am and the guy doing the interview didn't arrive until after 9:30.

The first lady came out from her interview and the second one went in. While I was waiting for my interview, one of the field agents came into the waiting area and was waiting to talk to his manager, the interviewer. The manager and the field agent had a 10:30 conference call with their corporate office and it was currently 10:25. 

While we were waiting for the manager to come out of the interview I was talking to the field agent about what type of work I could expect, how he liked his job and stuff along those lines. The field agent then asked me if the manager was interviewing a man or a woman, so I told him that he was interviewing a woman. The field agent told me that they haven't hired any women yet because they interview well but can't perform like the guys can out in the field. I should have stood up and walked out at this point. 

It is now 10:45 and I am getting ready to go in for my 10:00 interview, I will admit that at this point I have really negative thoughts about this job/company going through my head. Before I sat down the guy told me that the interview had to be short since he was already late for an important conference call. The total time of the interview was maybe 5 minutes. The second question of the interview was, when are you available to start? I gave him a start date about 2 weeks out. I thought 2 weeks was standard for a notice that you are leaving so I assumed most companies would be okay with hiring you and needing to wait 2 weeks. To the interviewer, 2 weeks was too long of a time frame and he informed me that I was just "wasting his time" being at this interview so far in advance. He then told me to call him at a time when I can start sooner to see what he has for available positions and we can do the interview process again.

This was by far the worse overall experience I have ever had interviewing for a position. Looking back, I should have just walked out. I have already turned down 2 similar jobs in the past year and am certain that if offered this one I would not have taken it. And in case you are curious, I will not be calling him back in 2 weeks to schedule another interview.

There's so much to choose from here, but I think my favorite part is that he told you that you were "wasting his time," after he'd just warehoused you in his waiting area for 45 minutes.

To make this somewhat educational instead of purely voyeuristic, here are links to posts about danger signs when you're interviewing for a job and more danger signs.


Anonymous said...

I've been on both sides of the hiring process & it honestly surprises me how rude some people have been during my current job search. Is everybody so stressed/demoralized by the bad economy that basic manners/courtesy has gone out the window? I've always told applicants that I appreciate their time/interest and make a point of letting people know when I've filled a position.

Grand prize goes to the guy who made me wait 45 minutes for an interview, pulled random items off of my resume (like asking me to say something in the language I minored in as an undergrad),instead of focusing on the job/contract at hand, and cleaned his fingernails with my business card. I managed to keep cool and be professional on my end of the conversation. But after the previous interviewer giving me the hard sell on the company (he spoke like I was already an employee, which made me feel slightly pressured), it was like Good Cop/Bad Cop. The thought of having to work for such an abrasive personality really made me unhappy & getting a form rejection letter 6 weeks later in the mail was a relief.

First runner up - the hiring manager who called me and left a "I would like to speak with you, please call me back message." I spent two days calling her secretary and leaving voice mails and on day three, got a form rejection letter. No idea why he wanted to talk to me on the phone, but I felt like I'd been duped into thinking it was going to be a job offer.

Amewsing Mews and Views said...

I believe Alison Green when she says that most HR hiring managers are competent and unfortunately it's only the small percentage of losers that people wlll talk about. The OP should post his/her experience on so that others can be warned in advance of this bozo.

TheLabRat said...

Two weeks out being too long has been pretty common in my experience over the last 10 years. No matter the industry (in that time I've worked in multiple offices, food service, retail, and telelmarketing) and had more than one of each while interviewing tell me that they needed an immediate start date. In most cases, I got the distinct impression (and in three instances was flat out told) that the hiring manager wanted me to pretty much cut ties with my current job and commitments and devote myself to the new organization. To me this logic was analogous to the stereotype of the mistress marrying the adulterous husband and then being surprised when he cheats on her five years later. Really, I don't get it.

Ask a Manager said...

Anonymous, cleaned his fingernails with your business card? That is awesome. If I had a prize to award, I would be awarding it to you.

Kat, agreed!

Lab Rat, I think that analogy is exactly right. So short-sighted.

Anonymous said...

I have had one interview that was late, but that was only by about 5 to 10 minutes. I'm used to this world being a "hurry up and wait" sort of deal. As long as I'm on time, they can't fault me in that department.

But I've had interviewers who were distracted throughout the interview. From interruptions (walk-ins and cell phones) to staring out the window behind me, I felt like I was only participating in a formality, at least at the time from then to rejection. So AAM, is there anything an interviewee can say when feeling disrespected/ignored/wasting time, etc.?

However, I still can't seem to judge how well things went since I've had really good interviews with rejection results and others were the interview was quite "blah" only to be offered the position.

Anonymous said...

I win?! Yeah I did almost fall out of my chair when he started cleaning his fingernails because it'd already been the interview from Hell. At that point, I started wondering if it was an elaborate practical joke, because who behaves that way?

Randell said...

What to do?

What about the interview where every signal possible coming from the interviewer says NO INTEREST. That after just 5 minutes.

Stand up, thank them and just walk out?

I've been in a few of those interviews.

Really what should one do?

Anonymous said...

I love the irony that employers are no longer considering unemployed candidates, yet expect you to start immediately. Which only a person without a job could do. Love it!

Jamie said...

LabRat said "To me this logic was analogous to the stereotype of the mistress marrying the adulterous husband and then being surprised when he cheats on her five years later. Really, I don't get it."

This is a perfect analogy.

When I applied for the job I have now I was unemployed and able to start immediately. However they planned the start date for a couple weeks out to accommodate notice, should they have gone with someone who was currently working.

If I was hiring someone and they offered to leave their current employ without notice to accommodate me that would be such a red flag I might rescind the offer...telegraphing lack of professional ethics is never a good idea in the hiring process.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like DS/Max

lorrwill said...

This reminds me of the interview I waited 45 minutes for that never happened. The person I was supposed to meet gave me the once over look and suddenly became extremely busy. Her assistant told me to wait.

And after seeing the interviewer poke her head out of her office to see if I was still there for the 4th or 5th time, I finally got fed up and walked out.

It was arranged through a placement service and they backed me up. They said the company was out of line and should have asked to reschedule if the interviewer was suddenly that busy.

Also, there is no way in hell I would burn my current employer by giving no notice. That is far too unprofessional and they have been very good to me. I have a lot of respect for them. Plus I want and deserve an outstanding reference. Walking out sure won't get it.

Anonymous said...

The 99.99 percent of HR pukes are giving the other .01 percent a bad name.