Monday, February 09, 2009

Holding Your Tongue

Terry S - you are the Valentine's Day winner! Please email me through my website janadeleon.com and give me your mailing information and who you would like the book autographed to!

Job interviews are always a pain. I hate doing them. Most people don't know how to conduct an interview and they either resort to the standard questions or they wander around in the weeds, not knowing what to ask at all. And then there's the ones that ask the truly ridiculous and you're left wondering if you should just shoot back what you're really inclined to say because you're not certain you want to work for someone that stupid. Let me give you some examples of me interviewing when I first graduated in accounting. I was living in Louisiana at the time, but interviewing in Dallas and staying with my aunt/uncle to look for a job.

Me (answering phone call at my aunt's house): Yes, I'm still looking for a job.
Him: I see on here you're live in Louisiana. Can you come to Dallas for an interview?
Me: Um, you just called me in Dallas. (And at that time there was ONE phone exchange for the area)
Him: Haha. Yeah, I guess I did. Well, we're a construction company and we've done quite a bit of development around the area. In fact, we're the designers for Texas Stadium.
What I Said: That's nice.
What I Wanted To Say: Idiot! You put that big hole in the top and when the sun sets the shadows are so bad, you can't even see the game on television. Not to mention that all forms of inclement weather pour in there. You stink as architects.

(next disaster)
Him: So, you're an accountant?
What I Said: Yes.
What I Wanted to Say: No, I'm a hooker, but I thought the dress code for accountants would be more fun.
Him: So if I asked you to tell me what an asset is, what would you say?
What I Said: Me.
What I Wanted To Say: You, with a brain.
Him (smiling): That's clever. So what would you bring to the company if hired?
What I Said: (a bunch of boring accounting stuff)
What I Wanted To Say: A set of good interview questions.

My first job turned out to be in the commercial real estate department of a bank, and my boss (that I inherited through merger) was THE biggest idiot on the face of the earth. One day, I'll have to do a blog just for him. Every time he needed to hire a new accountant, he'd go through this huge drawn-out process of reading HIRING THE BEST and picking the "best" questions for the job. Then he'd send me and the other accountant to greet the interviewees. I have no idea why, but we used it to our advantage. You see, someone (who must have had a sense of humor) wrote a book called KNOCKING 'EM DEAD, which just happened to be all the perfect answers to HIRING THE BEST, and co-worker and I had bought a copy. Soooooooo, when we met the guinea pig, we gave them all the answers to the questions idiot-boss was going to ask.

So what about you? Do you have an interview story you'd like to share? I'll probably do boss stories next week, so save any boss stories for then.

Deadly DeLeon

31 comments:

terrio said...

I love that you gave the new people all the answers. And the answer to the asset question is brilliant. LOL!

I've been on so many interviews but most have been pretty uneventful. There was one where the girl interviewing me kept getting some kind of signals from her boss who was just across the hall. He could see us through the glass behind me and she, for some strange reason, decided to tell me he was signalling to her that he liked my legs.

I was amazed. And luckily, didn't get offered the job so I didn't have to turn them down. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

OMG Terrio!!!! What a pig! I'm glad you didn't get the job either. Can you imagine what you'd have to do for a raise - probably breast implants would have been the least of it. Of course, if he had control of the expense accounts, you might have gotten the company to cover the cost......

Linda C said...

I have also been a so many interviews, I have lost count. The worst question to be asked is "So tell me about yourself". Sometimes I want tell the interveiwer about some really wild adventure I've had. BTW I am also a "boring" accountant.

Just finished reading "Trouble in Mudburg". Loved it. Especially the changes of clothes Helena went through.

Linda

Wendy Roberts said...

The interview question I hate the most is: "Where do you see yourself ten years down the road." The first time an old lady in Senior Management asked me that question I responded with "I guess I'll be doing your job." I just didnt' add "because you'll be dead by then."

Christie Craig said...

Love it!

The best interview I ever had was when the boss had me confused as a different person interviewing for a different position, one for a higher position than I had expected to get.

By the way...I got the job.

CC

Gemma Halliday said...

OMG, Wendy, too funny!

Jana DeLeon said...

Linda - if only people realized that accountants aren't boring at all. :)
I hate the "tell me about yourself" one too. If I told them about myself, they'd probably be scared to hire me.

I'm so glad you enjoyed TROUBLE! Look for more clothes enjoyment in MISCHIEF.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Wendy!!! Never the answer they're looking for, is it? Especially as most women in corporate America tend to not hire another woman who might be able to do their job.

Jana DeLeon said...

Fantastic, Christie!!!! That's a great screw-up on an interview - for you anyway. You'll have to tell the whole story sometime.

Christina said...

Uhh. When I see stories like that it makes me gald I work with family.

Keri Ford said...

No, kidding, Christina. I've worked for family as long as I can remember. I did have two outside jobs. One I don't remember interviewing for as I knew the people who ran that business. The other I did an interview, but I don't recall anything standing out to me.

Tori Lennox said...

I hated interviewing. It's probably one reason I stayed in my last job so long even though it was literally making me sick.

I always hated that "where do you see yourself in five/ten years" question too! If I knew that I probably wouldn't have been interviewing for whatever job it was! *g*

Jana DeLeon said...

Christina - Well, I guess that would depend on your family. LOL

Jana DeLeon said...

Keri - You guys must not have any family like mine then. Where do you think I get the ideas for the bad (or stupid) guys in my books? :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Tori - I hate that question b/c they only want to hear that you're forward thinking about the position you're currently interviewing for. But then if you have an insecure boss, they are scared if you want their job, so what the heck is the right answer?

Terry S said...

Unfortunately, I don't think most people conducting job interviews have the experience to do it nor do it often enough to become good at it. I always have to stop and ask myself why the interviewer is asking such nonsensical questions. Most likely they are based on their past experiences but who knows.

I think it all comes down to common sense. It's not a trait that is as easy to find as the word "common" might lead one to believe. As one who has it, I tend to react the same way as you do. Let's face it though, people without it are the ones that cause the most laughter (and most frustration).

Jana DeLeon said...

Terry - very true! I often say "if only common sense were really common." But then who would I write about? :)

catslady said...

I love the answers you wanted to say lol.

My first interview I was 17. 2 from my entire class were picked to go on this interview (secretarial) at a very large firm. I had my testing and an interview and left. Got a call the next day and was told I was suppose to talk to someone else too. I swear they never told me that. So they gave me a chance to go back in the next day. He asked me what I would do if I didn't get the job. Well my father had told me to tell them I would be going to trade school if I didn't get it. Of course they figured why not hire me after I go to school. Honestly I did end up going to trade school and I don't feel I learned much more. But the whole interview business scared me so much that instead of going on all the interviews the school had set up for me because I was at the top of my class, I took the first job at the first place I went so I didn't have to go on any more lol. I worked there until they moved out of state and then I did have to go on one more interview and then I stayed there for over 10 years until I quit to have my family. I definitely wasn't made for the business world. I got taken advantage of so many times it isn't funny.

Jana DeLeon said...

catslady - God that sounds awful! You must REALLY hate interviews. And I hear you about being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, that seems to be corporate america status quo.

Refhater said...

I also hate interviews. It's odd, but I usually get the job when I feel like I bombed the interview, and when I feel like everything went great, I never hear from them again.

The oddest interview I had was when the guy doing the interview kept rocking back and forth in his chair while drumming his fingers over his lips.(Think mental institution.) He ended up offering me the job with a great salary. But, I didn't take it because he totally creeped me out.

Thankfully I've been at my current job for almost 6 years now. So no more interviews in the near future.

Jana DeLeon said...

Ref - I think that guy was my statistics professor in college. :)

Estella said...

Love the answer to the asset question!

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Estella!

Lucy said...

I totally suck at interviews. It seems that the more I want the job, the worse the interview goes. If, before the interview, I've decided that I don't want the job - but go to the interview anyway - I do great and always get an offer. It'd be nice if I could switch those scenarios, now that I think about it. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Lucy - I've had that happen before. Then you're in the quandry. Do you take the job you're offered in case you don't get another offer or do you wait until you hear from the others and risk losing the one. I hate that game.

Virginia said...

I suck at interviews. I have never been through that many but a few. The one that stands out to me was one that I had and about one year later they called me to say I had a job. Needless to say I took the job with very low pay and I lasted about two months. It is the first job and only job that I walked out on. It was the worse job I have ever had in my life, the work wasn't all that hard because it was office work but doctors where terrible to work for. Now I know why they called me to come to work after a year, it was because they couldn't find anyone else to work for them.

Michelle Kafka said...

I have been through several job interviews. When I was taking my administrative assistant class we had to go to a mock interview and there were some pretty tough questions to answer. The toughest question to answer I think is "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

rishi said...

Giving them the answers! Why didn't I think of that? There is no love lost in my house for my idiot former bosses but it's good to know I'm not the only one who's had them.

Jana DeLeon said...

Virginia - there's nothing worse than getting up every morning and trying to find the motivation to go to a miserable job! I'm glad you quit.

Jana DeLeon said...

Michelle - well, at least they were giving you some training on interviewing technique. Too bad no one trains the guy doing the interviewing!

Jana DeLeon said...

Oh rishi, the stories I could tell you about former bosses....might have to be a month of blogs. But rest assured, you are NOT the only one. :)