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.
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.