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Crazy Interview Story #1
Beware: This can happen to you.
In this depressed economy, extended unemployment is becoming the norm. There is tremendous competition for open positions that when you get a call for an in-person interview; it becomes an event. You polish your resume, spruce up your wardrobe and research the company so that you can stand out. But sometimes there is nothing you can do to salvage an interview. The following is an account of what happened to me during a recent interview.
It was a dark, dreary and cold January day in the northeast. With the smell of snow in the air, I set out with anticipation and excitement to my appointment. I met with the Human Resources Manager. I answered all the questions confidently and was feeling good about my chances. She told me that I would be meeting the department manager next. She escorted me to a small conference room down the hall from her office. This was a good sign, I made it past the human resources screening. The Human Resources manager told me to wait and the other manager would join me soon.
Nothing could have prepared me for what was going to happen next. The manager walked in, smiled and introduced herself. She sat down and then said, "You and I have something in common. We worked at the same place but at different times." She then proceeded to rip my former supervisor to shreds. This went on for close to five minutes. My brain was going into panic mode. What do I do? You are taught never to bad-mouth a former employer during an interview, but this was never covered. I have never had the interviewer bad-mouth my former employer before. I did my best duck impression; I appeared calm on the surface but I was paddling like crazy underneath. "Liar," I heard. I could agree with that but I sat quietly and listened. "Corrupt." Oh dear God, she did work for this woman. "Left with no notice." She most definitely worked in that hellhole. Finally, she winded down from her tirade, which was definitely rooted in bitterness and hatred of my former boss, the manager turned to me and asked, "What do you think?" I told her that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and I started the interview by giving her information about my background. She talked to me about the position for about 45 minutes and never said another word about our former supervisor. We shook hands, discussed next steps and parted ways.
I made my way to the lobby and then to the parking lot. It had started to snow. I brushed the light dusting off my car and was thinking about how snow always makes the world look cleaner and brighter. Obviously, the woman I just spoke to holds a lot of bitterness and animosity towards our former supervisor. I had a choice to make I can be like her or move on. I chose to move on. I got in the car and started my drive home. Confident in the knowledge that I was free from a toxic work environment and excited at the possibility of starting a new position. Well, one week turned into two and no response to e-mails or phone calls. I was not picked to move on in the interview process. Hindsight is always 20-20; I was called in because the manager wanted to see someone from her previous employer. She wanted someone to validate her views of our former supervisor. I could not do that. You must remain professional at all times. You cannot allow past experiences to tarnish future opportunities.