Okay okay, some of you asked about the interviewing. It’s no secret I’m in real estate. Sadly, my beloved homebuilding company folded like a house of cards would if someone excavated and built it under Oprah’s ass. It’s okay though, because I got a really nice severance package. Cough. And then some. Cough cough. Anyway, interviewing is a tedious and yet oddly hilarious phenomenon. Allow me to take you on a journey of my brushes with the stupidest of the stupidest in Washington D.C.’s hiring arena. I’ll have to do this in several parts because some of my gems are from the past and we all know how I can tell a long winded story.
1) Time Won’t Give Me Time
If I’m kept waiting for longer than 15 minutes, this is a deal breaker. When I worked at Nine West, I went to interview in that stupid Calvin Klein division. The potential new boss kept me waiting 2 1/2 hours before she would deign to speak to me. Even her assistant was embarrassed. I could hear new boss in her office cooing the entire time, “The heel on this is so fresh…” Yeah, that meeting was groundbreaking. So glad you kept me waiting on a fucking SATURDAY while you solved the world’s problems. I should have RUN. But, I stupidly took the job anyway because I was a 23 year old idiot. I didn’t realize that I learned something important at the interview: These people would never respect my time. And they didn’t.
My new boss would fly in at 1 p.m., park her broomstick in the corner, call her boyfriend and send out Christmas and Valentines Day Cards until 4 p.m. and then expect everyone to stay late with her until 10 at night. The martyr parade was sickening in the morning. “Oh, poor Karla, she was here until after 10!” That, coupled with Calvin Klein’s “everything must be black” rule encouraged me to leave rather quickly. Do you know how infuriating it is to only be allowed to have black file folders and black pens to label them with? I couldn’t see which file I had marked “Burn down 205 W. 39th St.” I lasted just a few months.
More recently, I was kept waiting for an interview while I could hear the guy in his office calling around to remind people about the duck hunting excursion the next day. Oh, where do I start with that one? The fact that you kept me waiting for that shit or that you use guns to kill animals when my own dog has 11 bullets in her leg from someone like you and it’s costing me seven grand? I didn’t have to see his face to know I would not be working for him.
Lesson: They must respect your time from the very first moment.
2) Is This a Lateral Move?
How stupid does a company have to be to look for someone to fill a position with the EXACT skill set they need? Why don’t they consider that if they find that person, and the person takes what is in essence, a lateral move, they won’t be happy for very long, having already burned out elsewhere. They should be looking for the candidate for whom this will be a promotion. Every time I take a job, I do so with the idealistic mentality that I will be there for a long time, so I want it to be a “promotion” and a challenge from the last job I had.
Lesson: The job must have challenge. Don’t take a lateral move or you’ll be bored, and don’t allow the company to coerce you into a lateral move with that “get your foot in the door bullshit.”
Time Out For A Disclaimer: I have taken lateral moves in the past. When I’ve done this, it was always a band-aid to a situation gone awry. Incompetent people, sexual harassment litigation and a boss stealing money and slapping my name all over his papertrail have foiled my plans of longevity and forced me to jump ship, taking anything that came my way. It happened several times in my 20’s when I worked for a record-breaking THREE alcoholic cokeheads in a row. I bookended that run with born again Christians. My luck was Vegas-style back then.
Sub-Lesson: Sometimes life fucks you and you don’t have a choice.
3) Ocean’s Thirteen
I always ask “How many people are you interviewing for this job?” The question kills me. People give the stupidest answers. The duck hunter said, “Well, we’ve interviewed about 8 already and have another 3 to go after you.” Twelve people? You are interviewing 12 fucking people for this job? You couldn’t narrow it down any more than that? I bet even the UPS guy could narrow it down to 3 or 4 by resume alone, and the
Head Cheerleader Human Resources dipshit can knock another one off the list by a phone interview. If you are interviewing 12 people and we’re not talking a CEO level, then yes, you are a fucking moron.
I can’t work for morons. I can only work for people who are smarter than I am or who I want to have sex with. Preferably both. Mmm…ex bosses who I want to have sex with…hold on for a second while I plug this in…
Okay. I’m back.
Wait, I’m gone again. Mmmm…..
Okay, back, and sufficiently relaxed.
Lesson: Don’t work for morons. There’s more but clearly I’m post fantasy and orgasm so you’ll have to figure it out on your own. It’s good practice for you though. I mean, come on people. Two and a half years of this blog, the least you can do is help me out a little.
4) Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away
Ask why the person doing the job now is leaving. Ask it, and RESIST the urge to talk. If you stay silent, people like to fill that silence with something they love – the sound of their own voice. Let them. This is where you will learn that 10 people have quit in the last 4 years because they can’t stand playing solitaire for 8 months while periodically hounding someone to answer an inconsequential question (“Red or Pink Gum Balls in the Vending Machine, Sir?”) that somehow hinges any and all productivity for the next two years.
I also like to find out where the people who are leaving are actually going. One guy was opening up a Five Guys Chain. Another went to work for the Red Cross. Okay, so they would rather flip burgers and work with contaminated bodily fluids than work here? Not good.
Lesson: Why do people leave? Where do they go? If these answers don’t pass the sniff test, something stinks.
5) You Know I Never, I Never Seen Ya Look So Good
I went to a well known Developer / Builder for an interview. Typical office structure – offices on the perimeter of the floor and cubicles in the middle. Men in suits and ties filled the offices and perfectly groomed size zero supermodels filled the cubicles. Needle off the record. What??? I had to look twice. My eyes did not deceive me. Could your gender discrimination scream any louder? There is a pervading theme in real estate that women don’t belong in management positions. This is a hard thing to overcome, especially when I’m indoctrinated to working alongside the type of men who asked me if I would sit on their face during a conference call or threatened to rip my dress off in the hallway for not yielding to their path.
I worked for a builder who didn’t care what we wore to work. The CEO said, “We’re the suit and tie guys, we have to suck up to Wall Street. You guys are building houses. Go build. Wear what you want.” That is the right attitude. We were lucky they had the foresight to enact this rule because it was a lot safer for our construction guys to help the firemen when that house got struck by lightening and burned to the ground because they were in rubber soled shoes.
Lesson: Companies that spend too much time dictating what you can and can’t wear to work are too hung up on appearance and are probably hiding other inadequacies in their business. Tread lightly.
Working on the next part. I know you can’t wait.