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Job Interviews Are Not Funny

May 31, 2012 by Lady Unemployed

A funny job interview is a bad idea. Are you still laughing?

About a month ago I got a phone interview for a position I was extremely excited about. It was in the publishing industry and this is definitely an area I can see myself thriving in. I passed the first interview and a week and a half later I walked into the front doors of their building for my in person interview.

The first in person interview I had since being out of work, by the way.

I smile at the receptionist. I am friendly to the lady who reviews my application before I do the sit down interview. I am dressed very professionally having bought a few new items for the big day. Ten minutes later I shake the hand of the hiring manager. I walk into the meeting room and shake the hand of the publication manager.

Right off the bat the subject of pets come up. The hiring manager explains her dog recently passed away and the conversation turns into animal stories. Do I have any pets, they ask. I don’t, but I express my desire to have one someday soon. We joke about talking about dogs instead of the interview.

When the interview starts officially, I can tell within seconds that I have a wonderful rapport with these two people. Great feeling right? I’ve made them laugh quite a few times. Yet, with each question coming my way I can’t help realize how negative all the questions were:

1) What would your last employer say was your biggest weakness?

2) Talk about a negative coworker situation.

3) Talk about when you have been treated unfairly.

4) Tell us about your least favorite job.

5) Tell us your experience with a software we never put in the job ad, but we will act like you should know it already. Next tell us about how inexperienced you are with that software so you look like a loser who didn’t do her homework. (Kidding on that one. Sort of.)

In the back of mind in between the laughter and my responses and their questions, I realized I never sold them on my skill. I was selling them on personality, but that wouldn’t give me the job. It doesn’t take a genius to tell me that. I end the interview emphasizing my enthusiasm for this field and for this position. I make them laugh again as I leave (maybe I should be a comedian?). I’m told there will be a second interview and I will hear from them next week.

Cut ahead a week later, and I get a message from them on my house phone (they never called my cell phone for some reason). I’m excited. I think I must have gotten the next interview, because potential employers never call to reject you.

Right?

Wrong.

I didn’t get the job. They gave it to someone else. Someone internally. They tell me had they gone the normal route of hiring I would have gotten the next interview. How fair is that? Isn’t that like a guy telling me that had he not met someone else he totally wouldn’t have broken up with me?

And why didn’t they hire that person the first place? Why torment people like this?

So you know what I learned from all this? The interviewer is not your friend. Job interviews are not funny, so don’t forget that this is a person you are trying to sell yourself to. Put the jokes aside and remember to sell yourself. I will never trust humor in an interview again. Job hunting is not funny. This is serious business here people.

Meanwhile, I’m off to amateur night at the local comedy club since I’m so damn funny apparently.


19 Comments »

  1. Kristen says:

    This makes me mad because you know darn well they probably intended to hire internally all along, but had to do the whole dog and pony show of trotting people out to interview. Why waste everyone’s time? It makes no sense.

  2. Raluca says:

    Hi,

    What can I say…I don’t work for almost 5 years, at least not a real job with health insurance and everything, I wasn’t fired but my boss (a she) made my life a living hell and I resigned, after that I couldn’t find something to work, just bad jobs (little money, a lot of stress, no satisfaction) so I decided to work online, of course was very hard but I can pay my bills, eat, feed my cat, and smoke (awww bad habit, hard to kill it). Anyway I just want to say good luck and if things are not always like you want search for alternatives. Good luck and God bless you!

    • Thanks for your story! I’m excited to hear working online gave you enough income to live pretty comfortably. To be honest, that would be a dream come true for me. I have also been where you been in terms of having to leave a job because of a bad employer. I swear it’s like a curse.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Grrrr….. definitely frustrating. On the bright side (don’t you hate looking on the bright side sometimes?), you did learn something from it! A bit of humor is awesome I would think, but really, you gotta sell yourself.

    Make sure the comedy club supplies you with all-you-can-drink cocktails πŸ˜›

    • Lol!! Definitely on the cocktails!! That’s the only way to go!!

      I did learn from it though. It reminded me to sell myself on an interview. I still can’t believe I forgot on this one.

  4. Ugh- I so hate interviewing. I really don’t understand why companies interview people when they already have someone picked out to fill a spot. You’d think they would rather save everyone time and be honest from the get go. Good luck with the next thing you find, and chalk this up to practice I guess.

    New follower. Love it you could link up with Weekend Blog Walk also… http://www.athometake2.blogspot.com.

  5. Julie says:

    I had this same type of thing happen more than once over my long job search. Hang in there – something will come along!

  6. daisy says:

    New follower! Looking forward to reading more. Hope you will follow back!
    Daisy @ http://trendymomreviews.blogspot.com/

  7. I wanted to provide a little perspective that may or may not help. First, I think your blog is a great idea. Keep with it! Like you, I find the reason for it unfortunate, but serious kudos for finding a constructive outlet for this frustrating, stressful & challenging time in your life. Also, take the below with a grain of salt. I thought I might share a bit of perspective as someone on ‘the other side of the table’ (HR/Mgmt).

    Don’t throw humor to the side of the road, just yet. Here’s why. What you experienced is a technique known by HR/Recruiting/Mgmt professionals that is called ‘behavioral interviewing’. This approach is a way to assess the candidate in a manner that reveals their strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, it reveals your inner psychology, body language, attitude, approach, human relational skills, and how you handle, manage and/or resolve conflict. The idea is that the employer is seeking to make a good ‘fit’ for the open position. That said, many in the Interviewer’s seat forget that Interviewing is a 2 way process. What’s that you say?

    What I mean is this – you’re equally there to interview THEM and the COMPANY/ORGANIZATION as much as you are there for them to assess in person. Granted, your need for income and a paycheck may put you at a disadvantage, true. But consider this? With such an emphasis on ‘negative’ Interview questions, is this REALLY a company you want to work for?
    5, 10, 15, 20 years from now – you’ll be able to answer that question with a firm – No. No, I don’t want to work for organizations that ask interview questions that focus on the negative. That interview, unbeknownst to you revealed how toxic the work environment most likely is. As did how they informed you that you didn’t get the position. Many HR Managers would cringe to know how you were informed, what you were told on that call. It wasn’t handled ‘professionally’, sadly. :O(

    Your Interviewers failed you. They needed to ask a blend of questions that provided a better way for you to demonstrate your skills, strengths AND personality.

    It was a learning experience. An appropriate amount of humor is a great way to turn the Interview into what it really is – a conversation. Remember this and keep practicing. Look at every interview as an opportunity to practice and I guarantee you’ll nail it eventually. I know it’s clichΓ©, but hang in there! ~ Thomasin W.

    • Wow your comment was amazing. And thank you so much! I wish I could say more, I’m just so impressed with the information you gave me, it’s given me a lot to think about!

    • Maria says:

      Exceptional response. Interviews questions can be difficult. This is a unique way to look at interviews. Do I really want to work for them. Wow.

  8. Esmeralda says:

    Hey, I love your blog and I must say your writing is really good, I enjoyed reading a couple of your posts! (well, the style, not the subject, obviously!!) Unemployment is not funny! Regarding your interview, I have the same problem in my branch (science), it’s become customary to call the employer first to ask if they have an internal candidate.
    Once, I went to another country for an interview, even had tests. But at the end of the 3hours gruelling, they said that they didn’t have any actual free position but as soon as one would open, they would contact me!!!!

    • Oh no!!!! How tormenting!!!!! I couldn’t imagine going through all of that only to find out that the job isn’t even available. Thank you for the compliment on my writing by the way! πŸ™‚ That means a lot to me!! And feel free to send me any of your stories as well! πŸ™‚

  9. Maria says:

    Well I can’t wait to see how you handle your next interview.
    Go Girl!

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