Thursday, January 27, 2005

It Should Be Against the Law 

Last week I went to an important job interview and although I had practiced answering many questions, I didn´t do too well. Why? I was being interviewed by a very stupid, sardonic interviewer. They are the worse.

An intelligent person being interviewed by a moron will not get the job. The worse thing is, the sneering interviewer stood squarely between me and any possibilty of talking to the Director whom I would be working for. My kingdom for a tête-a-tête interview with the potential Boss! Totally impossible in this case because moronic interviewer did not even work for the company that was hiring. She had total power to mangle the interview and not be held accountable in any way.

Where did I go wrong? Moronic interviewer asked, "“Tell me about your experience with X,"” where X was a really broad field. There I started my great practiced reply, beautifully highlighting important points very relevant to job in question, succinct, but enthusiastic and smart, everything those interview guides tell you to do. I thought I was going well until after 15 seconds, moronic interviewer *literally* half closed her eyes, staring into a vacuum, with glazed expression on her face which said, "“I´m not paying any attention."” I felt lost and doomed. Oh, frustration!

Reflecting after said interview I remembered one of the tips for interviews: clarify vague questions. Dang! Moronic interviewer was looking for one specific thing in a huge area and she was not interested in anything else. But instead of asking about it specifically, she tells me to talk about my experience in a very broad arena, which I have, and if I don´t happen to mention what she was looking for, she stops listening and I feel lost because supposedly I was answering her question correctly. Note to self: Clarify vague questions, clarify vague questions, clarify vague questions.

“Adapting to the style of interviewer.” I ventured a question about how my experience fit the profile they are looking for. Moronic interviewer replied with a sardonic little smile, "“I am only beginning to get to know you, can´t say."” Later, at the end of the somewhat brief interview, I ventured a few more questions about the job and the company. Moronic interviewer gave me a cold, nasty look which clearly spelled out, “"I pose the questions here. You are here to answer, not ask, do not transgress.”" She did concede a short reply to my questions and then I reinforced very quickly a few points about how my skills and experience fit the details she revealed. She gave me another sardonic little smile, which said, "“Ha! You just clearly did the wrong thing again.”" Or, "“You must be lying or trying to talk your way into the job.”" (Which I wasn´t and that´s why it was so frustrating). It was that kind of nasty look that only someone with a head full of prejudices about you slaps on you and doesn´t care if they are totally wrong. So how did I do in adapting to the style of the interviewer? Not so bad, not so good. As soon as I saw this was her style, I decided to forgo a lot of my questions about the job at this stage. And I felt the playing field was at about a 90 degree angle.

At another point, moronic interviewer who clearly was not knowledgeable in a certain area of my expertise, asked me, "“What was the procedure for X?”" Given that X is a term that can mean many different things, I asked her to clarify what she meant by X. Moronic interviewer then asked in a annoyed, petulant way, "“How was X done?”" as if I hadn´t understood the question itself. Oh, God! Help me... I politely rephrase, ask if she means X when in Y, to which she retorts X is X! In her mind, what is there to specify? Can´t I answer a simple question?

We go for round three, her irritation visibly growing, but finally she specifies X a tiny bit so that I can address the question. I answer that there were several procedures for different X´s, and give good examples of my experience with no less than three distinct X´s. It suddenly dawns on her that´s why I had been asking her to clarify so that I could answer the god damn question properly. She is vexed to realize that it was not me but you know who whom was being very dense regarding question in point. I try not let any of it dampen my enthusiasm and friendliness during the interview and the job prospect, but inside hopes were sinking, and I was pretty sure my chances were being mauled by the moron with each passing minute.

Can anything be worse than inflicting morons as interviewers on innocent people??

p.s. I give myself a 3 out of 10 in my ability to talk to said moron in this particular interview. There is no consolation. I can only think in a future replay of situation, at least I have room for improvement. But it won´t change what happened last week.

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