Job Search Woes: An Interview Episode

While I am actively looking for a new position, I thought I’d do a series on job search woes. This will document the random and sometimes funny and weird people I meet while looking for a new position. Here’s the latest one….

Earlier this week I went for an interview, which should rate as one of the weirdest ones I’ve ever gone for!

Early in the week, I chanced upon a position in one of the job boards I frequent which really appealed to me. This was very similar to a previous position I was doing and I could do the job easily. Plus the position would also stretch me professionally (or so it seemed) and so very excitedly I applied for the position. This was around 10 am in the morning. Sometime around 1:30 pm in the afternoon, I get a call from someone asking me if I was interested in coming down for an interview. I don’t think they mentioned the name of the company (or perhaps I didn’t hear it?), but I agreed and we discussed dates and times and agreed to meet the next morning. Soon an email arrived from the person I spoke to earlier confirming the interview, but again no company name, just the time and address.

I reversed searched the number from where the phone call came and got the name of the company. When I logged into the job board, I was very excited to see it was for the job I had applied that morning. I did notice that the same company had multiple positions open at that point, but didn’t really check them out. I was very excited thinking that they had seen my resume and since I checked all the items they needed for the position, decided to call me for an interview so soon. Boy, was I to be proven wrong! I spent the rest of the day preparing for the interview.

During my research of the company, I came across some points which made me a bit nervous. Like this place, I had worked briefly at another place which had a similar structure and was essentially a one-man show. The owner/founder called all the shots and if they were unhappy with someone, out they went, justified or not. I hated working there from my second week and could not wait to get out. I am sure I do not want to be in a similar environment.

The next day I reached on time for the interview. When I arrive at the venue, while searching for the stairs to get up to the office, I saw two women seated at some chairs downstairs in the open. From the body language, it seemed that one lady was interviewing the other. My feeling was that this was my interviewer and the person they were interviewing was the person before me. I did wonder why they could not do the interview in the office but walked to the office to find out.

At the office, which was a small open-plan office, I was met with 4 youngsters (early to mid-twenties, all of whom from the accents and the way they spoke English seemed to come from the same Asian country). I was asked to fill up an employment form, which had no space to write anything (even the space for telephone numbers was woefully inadequate). So I wait there for the lady to come up to interview me. She comes up after a bit and then starts my interview. She asked me to go downstairs with her which I did. Now comes the fun part.

While walking down to the chairs arrangement, she starts by asking me if I have sales before. I found the question a bit funny because the position I had applied for was not a sales position. I thought she was pulling it from my resume and started talking about all the times I did sales and what I did in the different roles.

She keeps talking more about sales, asking me about big achievements and targets when she realises that I’ve applied for another position. She turns to me saying, “Oh, I see you’ve come for this position and not the other one”. I say yes and start talking about why I am a good fit for that position. So then she starts reading my resume and can’t find the information I am talking about. That’s when I ask her if she has a copy of my resume and she says, “Yes, I have this”, showing me a print-out. The print out was a screen shot from someone’s phone with just the top quarter of the first page of my resume (I have a three -page resume). The paper she had just had the accomplishments and core competencies, with nothing of what I had done previously. So I laughed and told her this is just a fraction of my resume and asked her if I could send her a copy. I didn’t have a soft copy with me but emailed her a forward from another application. All this while talking to her about myself.

Later, on reading my resume, she asked if I was interested in this other sales position. When she explained the position, I did say it was interesting, but I am clearly not very interested in it. She also spoke about working late on a regular basis, but I was quite pissed off by then, so I told her that while working late was not an issue with me, I am a big proponent of work-life balance. I also brought up my India trip in November (even though I wan’t going to at this stage), but I wanted to put all my cards on the table so if they do want to proceed further, they have all the information. As with all companies, salary also seems to be an issue here, with her asking if I will reduce my asking salary.

We quickly wrapped up the interview in less than 30 minutes (including the time I took to send her my resume) and she said she will speak to the CEO and see if she can try to arrange for a second interview with the CEO based on my resume for the position I applied for.

What was so strange to me was that it looked like they’ve just called all candidates who applied for an interview, without even going through their resumes. Second, they can’t even print out a legit, full copy of the resume which the job board would have sent to them. Third, they don’t even know the position the candidate has applied for!

I’ve pretty much written off this company and am not expecting anyone to call back. But the position (as it sounds on paper) was fascinating and if it is as it looks like, it’ll be something I’d love to do. So let’s see what happens. So far, they’ve not gotten back to me, though I suspect they won’t.

Ah well, c’est la vie….

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