Interview # 3: The Big-Bad Interview, Part 2, October 2010

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am on my way to the Green Dragon, a bar bought out by Rogue but with limited Rogue product available so that the place retains its original, exclusive atmosphere. Because they only contacted me via email, I was under the impression that I would be interviewing for a bar tending or serving position, my interview being at a bar and all.

Not the case.

The guy who interviewed me, a 6 foot 4 inch giant, was a lawyer who was Rogue’s general council. I looked him up on LinkedIn prior to my interview. When he pulled out my résumé, he informed me that what he thought would be a good fit was an administrative position with a creative edge. He asked me if I had any writing samples. I said yes, I had a blog, non-fiction, and fiction samples, he asked for the blog address. I gave it to him, oops.

Before I left, he requested that I submit a couple of writing samples and write-up a fake press release for Rogue wet hop ale. This is what I submitted:

A few days later I received an email notifying me that “good work on the sample” and “i’m passing you up the chain.” Two days later in my inbox was an interview request for 10 am at Rogue Alehouse.

The morning of the interview.

I got up early, dressed in a suit and made my way down to the Rogue Alehouse (40 min walk). Just by chance I discovered on my smart phone an email sent earlier that morning requesting that I show up at DIFFERENT site. Now, if I didn’t have a smart phone I would have no way of knowing of the switch (it’s not like I check my Gmail for interview location swaps at 8 am).

I would have shown up at the wrong place, been directed to the right place, and shown up late. Great impression.

I make to the right place and I’m 10 minutes early. It’s a studio office with fake walls. From where I’m sitting, there’s a fake window/wall separating me, the CEO, and his current target practice.

When the guy ahead of me finishes, the admin assistant walks behind the fake wall, tells the CEO that ********* ******** is here. She tells me to come back.

My screw-up # 1.

I didn’t shake the guy’s hand. In my defense, he was sitting down, hunched over his laptop and didn’t make any motion to stand up.

I sat down and he said, “And who are you?” Despite the admin telling him my name and me hearing it from the other side.

My screw-up # 2.

They read the blog entry that I wrote about one of their employees. I had considered deleting it, but thought that they might have already seen the damn entry, and I would look bad, regardless. I decided not to cut it, because darn it if I’m not a writer and idealistic about my right to say what I want. Besides, I didn’t write anything bad.

He says: “You’re the one that wrote that CRAZY stuff about ****.”

Me: “I thought that might get back to me.”

Him: “Witness a murder? Ha. She said you EXAGGERATED a lot.”

Actually, that’s exactly what she told me. I didn’t even have to pry it from her, she couldn’t stop talking the minute she lighted that cigarette.

He looks at my résumé. “College? That’s worthless. Red Lobster, eh? That must have been miserable. So you graduated in 2007? You must be like 25, that’s kind of young.”

Me: “I’m older than 25.”

My screw  up# 3.

I had read up on Rogue, honest, I did. I knew about the company before moving to Portland, I researched the company in Portland. But when he asked me what I knew or why I wanted to work there, I just CHOKED. Most likely because his demeanor, unlike the first interviewer, completely threw me off.

I mentioned my mildly dark sense of humor. He said, “Tell me a joke.”

As if dark humor is measured in jokes.

I said, “What’s the difference between a Porsche and a pile of dead babies?”

Him: “What?”

Me: “I don’t have a Porsche in my garage.”

Yep. I told a dead baby joke in an interview. At least he and the admin laughed.

I shook his hand on the way out, even though he eyed me like that was too fucking late, and I left, miserably awaiting a rejection letter that would be sent to me by none other than the murder-witnessing gal two days later. She must have loved that.

Their screw-ups:

1.  Common courtesy, jerk. Instead of calling me like regular people, they emailed me to show up at a different site. Imagine how much worse this interview could have gone if I had shown up late. Not to mention that he vigorously insulted all of my past work history.

2. The girl either lied to me or lied to her bosses to fend off any embarrassment. Not my problem. They asked for a writing sample, I gave them four.

3. The CEO had no idea what I was applying for. He did not read my press release nor communicate with the other interviewer.

Yikes. At least I learned that maybe I should have taken a Xanax or two beforehand.

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Unemployment #4: Taking objective notice of how everyone around you with a job is doing piss poor work

January 26, 2011 § 3 Comments

When you’re only applying for the most basic of jobs (the ones you can see on your daily job hunting treks), you find yourself wondering how that person at Starbucks that took 30 seconds to greet you because they were talking to their work buddy is STILL working there.

Relax. This is just the desperation permeating your touchy touchy nerves.

Breathe and stop (Q-Tip offers sweet advice). Agitation comes easily with unemployment. Irritability is unavoidable. And yes, you probably could do a better job navigating the register than that new girl at the gas station that you just asked last month whether they were hiring, but CHILL.

Take a step back. Has much really changed? At some point in your employment history you thought, no, you KNEW that you could do a better job than the person above you.  Remember your last job?   You probably scoffed at the idea of minimum wage.  “Been there, done that.”

Well, you might have to be there and do that all over again.  Get over it.  Thinking that you “deserve” something more than someone else is bullshit. Patience, time, and focus are what you need to keep trucking. Success is measured not on what you become, but how you come into yourself. Alright, I even cringed a bit over that one.

Anyway, you can’t stay unemployed forever.  We hope.

Keep your poise and aim to grow into something like this hepcat:

Lester Freamon from “The Wire.”

Unemployment # 3: Job Scams or Getting Money out of the Penurious

January 24, 2011 § 21 Comments

Scammers are the insipid, redneck cousins of savvy computer hackers; the Peeping Toms of all out serial stalkers. They’re not smart enough to break into your personal accounts, but damn, they’ll try to convince you in any way to give them your information: rent ads, porn, free shit on the internet, and spamming your Gmail like a Tommy-gun that just won’t listen.

Hell, they’ll even give you an interview–an attractive offer for desperate, lowly job seekers such as myself.

The other day I applied to a job in Seattle via Craigslist. It was under the Office/Admin link and was a simple description of an optical office in need of a receptionist. Like any admin job, I supplied my standard Craigslist cover letter which was something like this:

January 20, 2011

Re: Administrative Assistant/Receptionist

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am very interested in applying for the administrative assistant position advertised on Craigslist.

I have many years of customer service experience in the service industry as well as hospitality management. Along with a strong education and a professional background, I would bring to this position a keen eye for detail, writing and communication skills, and prior administrative and front desk experience.

The enclosed resume, pasted into the email and attached as a Word document, summarizes my background and experience. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you in greater detail.

Sincerely,

IamtheAmericanDream

T: (608) xxx-xxxx

(I’ll get into Cover Letter banality later).

I received this response from hollymarino@janiceoptical.com.

Dear Gxxxxxxxx,

After reviewing your résumé, we’d love to interview you.

Our corporate office, however, requires us to perform a background check and a credit check. Safely apply for your FREE credit check here . Do not send us any private or personal information, simply the VERIFICATION # which we need to schedule your interview. The background check is conducted during the interview.

We look forward to meeting you. Please e-mail us with any questions.

Holly Marino

Office Administrator

janiceoptical.com

What Janice did right:

1. Spelling and grammar were both correct.

2. Supplied an actual website with an email to corroborate that website.

3. Told me not to send them personal information.

Why it was STILL suspicious: Although many jobs, especially corporate jobs, require background and credit checks, these are usually done during the hiring process and NOT before they’ve even met you.

What Janice Scumbag did wrong:

1. Told me not to send them personal information.

Typically anyone that sends you a link for a FREE anything is someone who wants your money or your identity. So the claim that they didn’t want any personal information told me that they all they wanted was personal information, maybe even my underwear drawer.

What a teeny bit of Internet RESEARCH found for me:

I checked out janiceoptical.com, it’s an actual existing website BUT it’s a WordPress website and signing up for a WordPress blog costs nothing (why else would I have one). Oh, and their “Contact” page is conveniently “under construction.”

Additionally, the company is not in the Yellow Pages and not searchable by Google. The free credit check website they sent me to was a legitimate site that provides legitimate reports, however, if you sign up “for free,” you’ll see in the fine print that they will charge you $14.95 per month for providing this credit check service. Having less that $4.83 in my bank account, I decided against a free credit check (especially when I know mine is shit anyway) and against an interview with “Janice Optical.”

I can now say that I have had bad interviews, canceled interviews, and fake interviews.

It’s best not to get scammed if you’re not making any money to begin with.

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