Well well well. I’m so happy to hear some of you actually used my first round of wisdom in your interviews. Well done. But, there’s more.
6) Whose Attitude is Worse? Bitchy Blogger or Soon-To-Be Supervisor?
I’m a cut to the chase kind of girl. Most people are more politically correct than I am. When someone’s snark and ‘tude matches mine, awesome. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s very good for business, and exceptionally good for MY business, but I digress. When someone turns the corner from snarky to downright evil, then spank my ass and call me concerned. Okay, don’t call me concerned, but jesus, cut a girl some love and do the spanking anyway, please?
It doesn’t matter what someone else has in their backyard: It has no effect on my backyard. This is very important for people to realize. Keeping up with the Joneses is a fallacy. This rule applies to many types of situations. If I get wind of a writing contest, I forward it to other bloggers even though I may intend on entering myself. Know why? Because whether they win or not has zero effect on how good of a writer I may or may not be. How many houses one builder is selling has zero impact on how good another builder is at building and selling houses. Everyone has core competencies, and if they are all the same, then what the fuck is the point of a free market economy? We could all just become communists if we wanted to be the same.
The Duck Hunter, who you met in installment one, said he was “relishing the housing downturn because now all the people who wouldn’t talk to him before are now running to him for his commercial real estate business,” I thought, “Bittttter.” Then I thought, “Run!” It doesn’t matter what is going on with other people’s businesses. It doesn’t. Put your head down and do your best. Unless they are unethically stealing your customers or best practices, don’t worry. And even then…jesus. Do something about it instead of crying like a little bitch.
Lesson: If you can smell emotions are running a business, do some running of your own. As in, “Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just run.”
7) Did You Just…Did I Hear My Own…What the Hell Did You Say?
I have a gem. It’s the “thing” I like to say in an interview and it’s pretty clever but really applicable to my experience and industry only. You should have a gem, something to say that’s a thinly veiled disguise for how much of a team player you are or that you will suck anyone’s cock for the right price. Wait, maybe not that last one. So you drop this gem in a first interview and you are met with smiles and clapping hands and, “Amen sister!” (No no, they really said that.) You think, “Great. I done good, ma!”
So then you go to the second interview. They ask the same question, but then before you can relaunch your “gem” answer, they repeat, almost verbatim, except for adding the part in front “Well I personally always believed,” then trot off with your original answer word for word for word. Hello? What? What did you just say? You burgled my idea. And now you are passing it off as your own! And you didn’t give me credit! THIEF! This one was easy. Cheri O’Teri as Judge Judy just said NEXT!
Lesson: If they steal your implants they’ll never give you credit for being the one who came up with the D-chest idea in the first place. Oh come on. Not all the lessons can be so literal.
8) Come Here Often?
You have to listen to people. You really do. There is no amount of research or ass kissing that you can do to learn more than what you will by what people tell you. I had two interviews with the company who burgled my “gem” of an idea above. At the first interview, I liked the people and was gung ho for the second interview. But in the first interview, there was mention of a business plan rewrite based on some outside bullshit. Then at the second interview, there was mention again of the business plan rewrite based on other, different outside bullshit. What? WHAT? Do you bitches have any idea what you are doing? You keep rewriting your business plan every time you get a piece of information that is from some flunky artist-cum-pornstar-cum-researcher who declares May 4th, 2010 the day the real estate market rebounds? I am not opposed to a constant review of the roadmap for your business, shit, I have a roadmap for my own life and I try to operate with that in mind, but I don’t rewrite it every day based on what the UPS lady says or on what my 7th grade best friend posted on her Myspace page.
Do you know people who canvass for opinions? I do. I’m related to one. It is nothing short of infuriating. But working for one is really really bad.
Canvassing for opinions and acting on every single one means the boss will never get anything done. And if the boss never gets anything done, then I’ll never get anything done. And if I never get anything done, and I spend a year working for that boss, not getting anything done, WTF am I going to put after all those empty bullet marks on my resume with their shitty company name as the header? Christ.
Lesson: Companies do not rewrite business plans on a monthly, weekly or God Forbid, daily basis. If they do stupid things like this that violate everything you learned in kindergarden, consult your intuition and get out of there.
9) The Inmates Are Running the Asylum
I got a phone call from a national company with a headquarters out west somewhere. Several painful emails lacked any punctuation. (“hi my name is chris from x company and i wanted to know if you could do a phone interview with me tell me when would be a good time to talk then i’ll refer you to the local human resources contact he will call you to set up the in person interview also what is a good number to reach you on”) We did the phone interview. It went rather well and they scheduled me to go in to the local office to meet the person doing the hiring. Then I get an email that it’s on hold. Whatever. Then I get a phone call from the local office HR dude, who scheduled an in-person interview later that week. Then I got another phone call that it was changed to a phone interview because they wanted me to get through the screening process before I came on site. Sigh. Do you people have any idea what you are doing? As some crazy drunken Irish guy I used to work with would say, “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Hey, is this someone’s beer or can I finish it?” Wait, scratch that part about the beer. Just the hands. That’s what I meant.
Lesson: If they are disorganized from the start, they will never be organized. This isn’t a good sign, only because it wasn’t just one blip in the process, it was hurdle after hurdle of stupidity.
10) Bend Over
I don’t get it. I really don’t. I know that interviewing and such has changed quite a bit over the years. I have heard that credit checks and background checks as well as “googling” are more common than ever, used to eliminate people out of the interviewing game. This is why I blog as “Velvet” and not as my real name, Persephone Eleni Athena Eros Pappadopolous.
Recently, I met with a recruiter who seemed wonderful, and very well may be, and has an interesting job on deck which she feels I would be perfectly suited for. (Don’t all recruiters think this? Yeah. Anyway.) So she emails me after the interview and says that I’ll have to fill out all these forms because this “big banker” won’t interview anyone without the paperwork. I look through it and discover they want to run credit and a background check. Now, despite how crazy my life has been, I have never been arrested and have impeccable credit. 811 baby. 811. So I don’t give a shit if people want to search my anal cavity for christsake, I have nothing to hide. But, I don’t like the idea that these people want to run all this info BEFORE they even lay their eyes on me. According to the recruiter, they don’t want to pursue a candidate only to find out that they don’t meet their qualifications. So I reluctantly agree, only because the job market is really unbelievably bad right now, and it’s been two weeks. I emailed the recruiter, and she can’t get in touch with anyone at said company. Uh. Hello? Isn’t that like, your job? So then I say, “This is why I did not feel comfortable giving you my okay to run all these these tests which I feel violate my privacy. There is obviously nothing in my background, so they have run the information for nothing, really.” She responded with something I read as “blah blah blah” and that was that.
Lesson: I don’t know. You guys tell me. My personal jury is still out on this one, I don’t know what to do. If you want a job, you might have to do things in this economy that you wouldn’t normally do in better times. This one is open for debate. I know that I’m pissed off about this, and won’t agree to do it again without an offer of employment or being very far along in the process. What do you all think though?
11) Where’s Waldo?
This is one of my favorites. I showed up for an interview and the person who was interviewing me decided not to come to work that day. And they never bothered to call me to tell me not to come. Then they had the nerve (via phone while laying in bed) to tell the receptionist to interview me and to send samples of my best work. Yeah, right lady. Like I’m going to send you a complicated and probably confidential budget I made and stole from my last job when you can’t even be bothered to get out of bed.
Lesson: Over your career you will amass a small (or large) portfolio of really good work. Don’t give it to people unless you are really far along in the game, like about to get a job offer. I hear this all the time – people have to do these mass presentations at the culmination of their interview process to tell the prospective company how to reorganize their business. Then they don’t hire the candidate, but guess whose ideas they use? It’s gray-area but legal, and very difficult to prove anyway unless you managed to patent some of your processes behind your idea. And I don’t recommend trying to work with the Patent Office on anything. They suck.
I hope that’s all I have. I’ve taken a temporary position that could amount to more, were it not in the ghetto. No, no, really, it is in the ghetto. I have five predecessors from the past two years, and all five of my predecessors were mugged at work. So we’ll see how it works out. I’m doing friends of mine in the industry a favor, and you know that all construction is now in unsavory neighborhoods. They understand that once I feel compromised, I’m quitting and they’ll have to put me somewhere else. It’s actually so bad, my mommy said she would pay me the same amount of money to stay home. It’s not a bad offer, really. Mommy doesn’t run credit checks. At least, not the last time I worked for the Mommy Corporation, which was from my day of birth to 18 years 22 years 24 years 30 years oh, hell. Who am I kidding? I am still an employee of the Mommy Corporation. Aren’t we all?
Wow, makes me glad to work in a part of the construction industry which has been very stable, regardless of what the economy is doing (mainly Division 10 for healthcare construction & renovation). Our solid-surface division (mainly residential) has been taking it on the chin, but you can’t have everything I guess. Move to Milwaukee, we’re hiring. Which is about the only reason anybody would want to move here… 🙂
I reeeeealllly hate the credit check thing. I allowed it to be done once when I was right out of college, and even at 22, I thankfully had the balls to at least tell them I was uncomfortable with it. They made me feel like I had something to hide when they expressed their surprise at my objections. They asked for the info to check my credit before my first interview. During the interview process, I realized I hated the organization and did not want to work for them. So basically a company I ended up disliking had all my personal info. I really think it is an invasion.
Also, I have decent credit. Not stellar, due to some youthful foolishness in college that I have since righted, but decent. I just do not understand why a few maxed out credit cards in college would stop me from getting a job I am totally qualified for. If someone is a deadbeat, I get it, but I think checking people’s credit is a slippery slope. I think a company should judge people on the merits of their work, ie their professional references.
Muskego Jeff – Oh, no. It’s going to be 15 degrees here tomorrow and I can barely cope with that. No Milwaukee for me. If I need a Milwaukee fix I’ll watch Laverne and Shirley and just take your word for it on the rest.
Lemmonex – Interesting. I’m considering asking them to cease on it, but I would be they have run it already considering it’s through a recruiter. I think it’s total and utter bullshit, and not representative of anything at all. I agree with you – there is no bearing on unpaid credit card bills, but employers are using that, according to the recruiter, to say that if someone has a lot of debt, then they would be more apt to steal money from the employer. Isn’t that the most ridiculous thing? How do they know that I don’t have good credit because I racked up my credit card bills then stole from my employer to pay them off? It’s so stupid.
14 is the expected high tomorrow, so 15 would be warm! Today was a balmy 4. I wish my wife would let me move someplace warm…
Hmm. Are you saying I should be doing posts on “Anatomy of a Marriage” posts instead? I can see it now, #1: If you enjoy warm weather, don’t marry a person who won’t let you move to the equator…
The credit checks, the background checks…it’s completely out of hand. I jump through more hoops interviewing for straight-out admin jobs than I did for my State Department job…where I had a Top Secret clearance.
Employers are looking to thin the herd as quickly and easily as possible, and in doing so, are rewarding mediocrity.
Can you ask Mommy if she’s hiring non-family personnel? I’d love to be paid to stay home all day. And I promise to never call in sick.
I could do the nonprofit version of this…it’s a lot of “bend over”.
Good to see you this weekend. Hope laying rug went well! 🙂
K – We’re Greek. Sorry sister. We only look out for our own. And even then…sometimes you find a knife in your back…
Shannon – It’s completely infuriating. But I’m fascinated by these tales of credit checks and such, only because D.C. is such a pompous city that I’m curious how this came to be and what it tells employers, if anything. I bet some of the world’s most vile serial killers have decent credit.
From the HR perspective:
Credit checks. As a manager, do you really want to hire someone who’s judgement is so poor that they can’t keep their own finances in line? If a potential employee can’t manage their own budget, don’t trust ’em with the company’s budget. Even if the position doesn’t have any financial responsibilities, internal transfers are possible. The person you hired as the receptionist with crappy credit could be the accounting or payroll manager 5 years later, still with crappy credit.
Background checks. Want to hire a criminal? Someone who would figure out how to break the security controls of the company and commit some white collar crime against you? Maybe someone who will drink and drive while on the company dime, thereby making the company liable for the ensuing accidents? Maybe someone who will sexually harass your employees? No? Background checks. Also good for catching resume ‘errors’. Most common ‘errors’… claiming education you don’t have; claiming to have worked for companies you haven’t worked for; and claiming to have worked for companies you have worked for, for twice as long as you actually worked there, and for 30% more money than you actually received.
Candidates lie all the time, and since you don’t have a lot of time in the interview process to suss that out (yes, I said ‘suss’), criminal and background checks are a good way to cut to the chase.
However, they are traditionally not done until just before you give the offer. Not at the beginning of the interview process. Wastefull of the company’s time, and candidates (as we’ve seen) won’t like it.
Let me clarify that I don’t mind the usual process: offer of employment, pending a background and credit check.
But when the initial interview process is more intrusive than my security clearance investigation, it’s an invasion of privacy. Don’t dig through my financials or ask for a salary history unless you’re really interested in hiring me.
The worst interview of my life, oh boy – I have kind of a random employment background, because I moved a lot due to my former spouse’s job (diplomat). I worked when and where I could doing whatever job I could find. If I explain that, then say I have no intentions of leaving the area again, don’t ask me about my marital status/why I got divorced/question my entire life story. Either you “get” my background or you don’t. Full stop.
I get that people want to hire the best candidate, but being rude and intrusive scares off the good people and recruits the desperate ones.
Sixes – My living room is now officially a wrestling arena for Sammy and Thora. All furniture has been relocated to the perimeters of the living room and the dogs are officially orgasmic.
John – Nope, they wouldn’t even interview me without this information. I get the logic behind why they do these checks, but there’s not necessarily a relation on how I manage my money vs. how I manage a company’s money. Most people typically take more liberties with the “company dime” i.e. if one was paying for a vacation they would drive to the airport and park in economy parking, but on a business trip they would “spring” for a cab since the company is paying etc. I actually don’t do those things, I don’t adjust my life based on who is paying, but still, a credit check isn’t always an accurate gauge. There are also reasons people can have crappy credit, namely, divorce. It’s a shame people use that personal info against someone.
Shannon – I totally agree. What’s the point of pissing off your candidates early on in the process and leaving yourself with just the crap? Only those with a desperate situation will tolerate the hoop-jumping anyway. The ones with good backgrounds and education will say, “Screw you” – not in so many words, but you get the point. And I’ve done just that, as when the woman requested I send in all my prior work when she didn’t even show up to our interview. I was seriously tempted with responding to their emailed request for these items by saying “She couldn’t show up for the interview and she wants me to send this in?” There was nothing I could do but bow out and say it wasn’t right for me. Because even if they saw the error of their ways, and continued the interview process, they never would have hired me anyway. But still, not worth working for someone like that in my book.
The mommy corporation is a powerful one. I think that you should definitely think about writing this stuff for the masses. I’m not kissing your ass either. I’m too lazy to do that. And I hope that you don’t get mugged. I don’t want to have to go and beat up some 15 year olds any time soon.
Some companies are still stuck in the Cold War, believe it or not. This is one of the reasons your debts are questioned and credit checks are run. It is presumed that you may be more likely to give away sensitive information to foreign interests such as the Russians; their money might be appealing to help you out of personal debt. See Robert Hanssen. I have no idea what you are applying for, but keep this in mind if you ever shoot for the FBI or CIA. Even if it’s a domestic company, the same example can be used, just substitute competitor for Russians. It’s total b.s., but it’s part of their reasoning.
MA – I’m not sure if any of us could compete. They all have guns. How on earth do 15 year olds get to pull a gun on me in D.C. but if I pulled one back I would end up in jail because of the gun law? Oh, no, somewhere I just rousted Sixes to her hating D.C. platform…everyone duck!
Cunning Linguist – Uh, they aren’t government jobs or anything like that. This particular job was with a bank. But you would think I’m trying to get access to Fort Knox.
Hhhh… The Mommy Corporation. I work for it too. And how do you file a complaint or how do you sue when there is harrassment?
Regarding “Bend Over”, my 2 cents is not to turn over all that information prior to a first interview. First, from a corporate perspective, the process is usually: a. review resume, b. corp brings ’em in for interview, c. do background check if there is basis to proceed. Second, giving out your information prior to even meeting them (or knowing anything of them at all) endangers your identity. We get resume’s all the time. If we paid for background checks on all the resumes we see, we’d stop paying rent for another office building somewhere. In other words, I have no idea what kind of company runs it business this way, but it seems backwards. Lastly, at a certain level, corporations know what they are looking at when you write things on your resume. They shouldn’t need your credit history and background check to proceed with a 1/2 or one hour interview (that would be done once the review board decides to proceed with your candidacy).
GUNS! Did someone say guns!
I say let everyone in DC have a gun and then let them work it out. My bets are on you anyway, Velvie (and that one drag queen from Chaos).
Did I just read that Shannon worked for the State Department? And Cunning Linguist is right, but I’ll spare you all the Cold War discussion. I swear, I think I was born about 10 yrs late…
Yes, I did, my ex is in the Foreign Service and I picked up piecemeal Embassy work, some of which required a clearance. I got a clearance with a blog, dual citizenship, etc…which is why I find job hunting now so funny. Employers are more uptight than national security people, which means that employers have set the personal perfection bar way too high.
Yeah Stoic, the first movie you remember seeing in the theater was RETURN OF THE JEDI, you big BABY!
And you think The Wall means that cold war era fence in Berlin.
Persephone Eleni Athena Eros Pappadopolous.
Cute name. But, seriously, you don’t look Swedish.