I have seen the unemployed and it has scared me. Not having a job sucks. I’ve touched on it a few times here at The Moral. It’s an awful feeling. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. My sympathies to the unemployed made me slightly excited to be able to search through resumes and do some interviewing for a job opening at “the day job”. I also know that being the interviewee can suck. You’re hinging your hope and future on one shot at an impression. No pressure there, that’s for sure. I try to make these things painless and mostly offer softballs during interviews. (Softball: An easy question designed to help them showcase their assets and skills to me) I don’t need or want to watch anyone squirm for an entry-level position. Frankly, I think those that do are kind of sick.
Since I choose to not be very hard-hitting as an interviewer, I don’t expect too many curves coming back to me. A good candidate is rehearsed and can wax poetic for 2 or 3 minutes at a time on their communication skills, team player abilities, and customer service history. I toss these questions out there just to make sure they are seasoned enough to be able to answer them. Oh, the humanity of the answers I’ve received the last couple of days. Here was one memorable exchange:
Me: I see you work in counseling with minors, that’s great, tell me about that
Interviewee: (Drones on for the high points) then mentions teaching sex education
Me: That had to be awkward to discuss with teens. How’d you overcome that? (Thinking: I’ll get an answer about either being prepared or growing in communication…something along these lines)
Interviewee: It wasn’t bad at all really. It was just awkward trying to show them how to use a dental dam.
Me: Blank stare (Thinking: Did you really just say that to me?!?)
Interviewee: I don’t know if you know what a dental dam is but it’s… (pauses and starts to move her hands around as if trying to think of how to explain it)
Me: Continues blank stare (Thinking: Wow, I can tell she’s trying to figure out how to put this into words. She’s GOING to explain this to me. Why? WHY?!? Someone please beat this memory out of my head or I’ll be forced to remember it)
Me: Ok, that’s enough of that; let’s not even get into that. (Thinking: Time to wrap this up. NEXT)
Sadly, this was my good candidate for the day. I always try to reach out to friends and family when I know of an opening. If I happen to know a good candidate for a job, why not help those that are part of an extended network of people. Hell, that’s the whole point of networking. I had one suggested to me. This should be fun, let’s play a game of multiple choice. If you hear that someone is hiring for an office position would you:
A) Call for additional details and to introduce yourself
B) Email the contact with a resume and introduce yourself
C) Try to leverage your contact to introduce you
D) Show up unannounced and unexpected, without a resume and state “I’m here about the job”
While I’m certain that the correct answer isn’t D, that’s what my next candidate chose to do. I’m a good sport. I played along. I figured after dental dam girl, this can’t really be worse can it?
I asked for a resume: “I don’t really have one.”
I asked what her experience with Microsoft office was: “Well, like, we have a computer at home and I’m a fast learner.”
I asked about customer service experience “I’ve done a lot of fast food jobs, so, like, there’s always the customer, but there was a lot of pressure. I don’t do that well with pressure, but I’m getting better.”
So in a span of 5 minutes I learned that you have no understanding of office etiquette, no experience with how to do office work and fast food was too stressful. NEXT
In fairness, they did put together and send me a resume. Their objective was: “I want to find a job that I like and don’t get bored with. A career I can stick with for awhile and maybe go somewhere and accell!” I was tempted to delete any personal information and include the resume in this post. It was THAT bad, it was worthy of internet fame. My wife talked me out of it.
I don’t make a habit of kissing and telling, so to speak. I don’t see the point of mocking interviewees on the internet via my blog just to fill up a post. Maybe they will read this though and that’d be good for them. I won’t tell these people they bombed so horribly that I would rather dump sand in a bucket, pay it $8 an hour and try to teach the sand to answer the phone. To be fair, I’ve also had some very good interviews. Not everyone is cringe inducing, but wow some sure do leave an impression.
The moral of the story is, some people are unemployed for a reason.