Monday, August 17, 2009

Job Interviews

I'm lucky Tinker likes me because if I had to go out and interview for a new job I think I'd have to top myself on the way there. You cannot imagine how much I despise job interviews. It might have something to do with my hatred of HR people in general or maybe it is my aversion to team sports and musical instruments? Either way I make for a lousy job applicant. I always have.

Back when I was at university and I joined the manic rush for a summer clerkship at a prestigious corporate law firm, I sold my soul for a day and went to an interview at the firm made famous in Sydney for its unscrupulous document shredding.

At the interview high up in the Wintergarden overlooking our beautiful city sat me, about 20 gallons of lipgloss (what was I thinking?) some HR twit and one of the partners from the M&A team. The partner seemed to like me, we made some lame small talk about how his sons went to Riverview and how I kicked their school's pansy ass in a debating comp in tenth grade and I think I may have spun a story about playing the violin or was it the cello? It had strings anyway.

He seemed to be coming to the end of his questions when he flicked through my application again and asked "so Carolyn you said here that our firm is progressive. What exactly did you mean by that?"

I don't think I even stopped to take a breath. I wish I had. My instant reply?

"Progressive? Oh that's just an HR catchphrase I threw in there."

The coiffed cow from HR dropped her clicky pen. It rolled across the jarrah table towards the partner. It may have hit one of his pieces of paper, I'm not sure. I was too busy swallowing my own tongue and praying for terrorists to fly a plane into the building. "I'm sorry?" he asked. But it was too late for a second chance then. I knew I'd blown it so I gulped, smiled and said "that's right. It's just an HR catchphrase I used to bulk up my application. I'm not sure I can really think of anything that makes this firm progressive to me."

And with that, I was ushered out, never to return.

I have pages and pages of similar tales but the bottom line is that I don't interview well at all. It's just not something that works well for me, I'm brutally blunt and not at all good when it comes to talking myself up. I hate it so much that I become a defiant mouthy little rat. So, just another reason why I love love love being a housewife. Please house, don't ever divorce me? No more interviews!
So tell me, do you have any shocking interview blunders?


  1. i also suck at interviews and am eternally grateful to be able to stay at home with my children and no longer face the day-to-day grind of a 'REAL' job; however, i did find that you can go to a million internet sites, and download tons of canned interview questions, along with the canned answers, and it does help make you sound like you know what the hell you are talking about ... just in case.

  2. wow, at 14 just reading your blog,helps me learn all about the working world.

  3. Haha...yeah I have one 'shocking interview blunder'.
    I was being interviewed by a placement cell member in college (I did leave that college and join another one, but that was for totally different reasons). He was this tall strapping guy who had such a deep and sexy voice. I was being interviewed by him as he was the coordinator of the cell I wanted to join. He asked me, 'So Priyanka why should I take you in my team?'

    I blanked.

    Its not that I hadn't prepared for this was just that I was sooo into his eyes at that moment that I couldn't think straight. Mind you he was a senior and had ragged me quite a bit during orientation-induction.

    Finally I said... 'Ummm...because you want me to.'

    I'm sure he thought of me as extremely self-righteous and pompous.

    But thankfully that hasn't gotten in the way of how he thinks about me now. He and I are happily in love with each other. Very often he even tells me, 'You know hun, I did want to take you in that time.'

    And I just blush joyously :)

    *Not that much of a blunder in hindsight...but it did give me sleepless nights at that time*

  4. I've interviewed some shockers on the other side of the desk!

    Last year I was interviewing someone for a senior application support (superuser) so in other words, they needed to know their sh!t!! This girl told me how she had done x years doing this that and the other and when I asked her a seriously introductory support question (up there with how do I log in?) she started babbling something to me that not only had words that seemed like another language but had absolutely no relevance to the question... I was baffled and just out of politeness went through the remaining questions and started to usher her out.

    You can imagine my surprise when she said 'oh the interview went so quick, I suppose, when you know what you're talking about....'.

    Seriously. I don't know how people think they can bullsh!t an expert..?

  5. Hmm biggest interview blunder ... That's a tough one, I've had some doozies. I suppose my favourite was when I was interviewing for the a position in a chartered accounting firm. At the time I was a early twenties naive/outspoken thing who when asked, "Do you have a serious boyfriend?", by the senior male partner, I responded with, "Do you?" After a stunned silence I was asked a few more quick questions and then ushered out the door. It was a no brainer that I didn't get that job. Funny thing was that an industry mixer I bumped into the same gent about a year later. I don't think he remembered me, until I asked how his boyfriend was?

  6. i have a bad habit of just talking too much. i explain everything in detail. always. cant help myself. im hoping my interview with DET next year will go swimmingly well.

  7. When asked what some of my weaknesses were, instead of saying the usual "I'm overly committed to my work" etc. I said "I'm easily distracted" which stunned the panel of interviewers followed by an amazing awkward silence. I then went onto say "Sometimes I also speak without thinking, like just now". Somehow I still got the job!

  8. I hate job interviews too! I'm lousy at them. I remember one in particular, near the end of it I asked the twenty-something girl how she liked working at the company. She retorts "This isn't about me, understood?" I left there and called her every name in the book on the way home. What a nasty little cow.

  9. "my hatred of HR people"


    We're not all bad.

  10. LOL MM actually I just a firm believer that a professional should be able to recruit her/his staff without the help of a third party.

    A great lawyer with years of management experience should know who to hire without an HR person interfering in the process and asking what kind of fruit they'd be if they had to be a fruit and then analysing their personality on other such questions...

  11. I hate the whole interview process. I hate putting together the CV to try to sell myself.

    A few years back I applied to work for the new state government in Victoria and got on the short list for two positions. When I got to the interview with the Minister his sidekick asked me "where do you see yourself in two years - five years?
    I almost groaned...I hate that bloody question with a passion!

    I told him I thought it was a pretty pointless question as he would have difficulty answering it because our jobs depended on the government being re-elected. I didn't get the job.

    It's a crap question that people ask when they don't know what else to ask.

    I'd rather stay at home too...but work part time now. Not for the state government though

  12. Your response was just too funny. :D I do dislike being interviewed. I cannot grovel for a job either. Most people cannot handle my frank attitude.

    They just ask the stupidest questions at interviews. There might have been one or two great interviewers that I met. When they ask the obvious stupid question - "where do you see yourself 3 years from now?" The one response I want to deliver is : "Hopefully in your seat. But I will try and not ask people absurd questions like that!!"

    In fact, at my previous jobs, I did interview a lot of people. But I stuck to objective questions and tried to gauge the attitude and professional aspirations of the interviewee.