Thursday, August 12, 2010

this actually happened.

I had the privilege of helping one of my coworkers conduct interviews for an opening in her department yesterday. She had a sick child in the morning, so one of our lead volunteers with HR experience and I did the first several on our own. My friend was able to come back for the later afternoon interviews and still wanted me in on them for continuity's sake, just so there'd be at least one staff member who was familiar with the entire pool of applicants. I happily obliged, as the morning's interviews had gone well, it was a nice change from my daily routine, and I felt like I was starting to get the hang of asking the right questions to elicit the most useful information.

Until...the most bat-shit-crazy woman ever came in the door.

She looked normal. Middle-aged. Dressed appropriately. And she seemed normal for oh, the first 15 seconds or so. Until we started asking questions, and then things went steadily downhill. The following is my best attempt to capture just how bizarre the exchange actually was.

"So, tell us a little about your experience in your current position."

"Didn't you read my resume?" she scoffed. This subtle hint of aggression should have been our first clue to end it now before she had a chance to remember our names and find out where we live.

"Yes, but if you could expound on it just a little..."

Since an interview implies asking and answering questions, no?

"Well, can I see that copy of my resume you have? I didn't bring one with me."

"Sure, no problem." Across the table it went.

At this point, she starts READING US HER RESUME. What??? Seriously, we've already read it. How do you think you got asked to this interview?

So we moved on to the next question.

"What about this position attracts you and makes you think you'd be a good fit?"

She says, "Well, I have a real passion for working with people in crisis. I'm just really good at it. What can I say?" she shrugs, "I have an incredible gift."

That was her answer. Awkward silence.

Allow me to insert that she works as a hospital secretary. And in her prior experience, she was a fitness instructor.

"So, a great portion of this position involves being rather meticulous in organization to keep track of personnel availability, skills, and training. Can you tell me a little about your organizational skills and how those might be useful in this position?"

Flipping to the second page of her resume, she answers, "Oh, I'm very organized. I organize everything for everybody."

"Ummmm...can you be more specific? Maybe give us an example?"

"I keep a calendar."

So this is the point where my coworker kicks me under the table, and I'll admit, I just wanted to get the woman out of there. We then start to ask about things that might hopefully talk her out of the position all together.

"Ok then. Moving on, another key component of this position is serving in an on-call capacity for our incoming disaster calls. Is that something that you're comfortable with?"

"Oh, absolutely. I work as an emergency room secretary in my neighborhood and so I'm used to emergencies." Um, your neighborhood has its own emergency room? Remind me not to go there.

"Actually, it's not exactly the same thing. We have disaster calls come in regularly on nights, weekends, and holidays, and the person in this position, in addition to working during the day, will be often required to take those afterhours calls and respond to them. So it could be at 3am, during your Saturday afternoon, or even on Christmas morning. It's just important that the person who takes this position has thought through that and is ok with it."

"Didn't you hear me? I already said it was fine." She proceeds to flip and skim through her resume some more and says, "Quite frankly, my resume is awesome. Don't you have a copy of it?"

Did she really just say that her resume is awesome?

"Uh, no, you took our copy, remember? Because you didn't bring one?"

What the F is this lady on? I am now biting the inside of my mouth in an effort to keep from laughing. It hurts, but it is my only hope.

Looking at me, she then asks, "And who are you? What's your title?" She says this in a challenging tone.

So I tell her my name and title (which, I might add, is clearly visible on my name badge), and then she questions my friend so she does the same. Granted we're younger, and it's probably not fun being middle-aged and being interviewed by girls 20 years your junior, but you know what? Get over it. Or at least pretend to hide your feelings about it. Aren't you trying to make us think you should get this job?

She continues, "Well, who's Larry? He's the one I talked to to schedule the interview. Where is he?" I think at this point it's dawning on her that if we're her only audience, then she's already blown it.

"Larry was helping with the interviews this morning but had to leave. He's a volunteer."

"A volunteer? How does this work? Don't I get an interview with the Board of Directors, or are you it?"

"We're it. We make the decision." And yes, we said this gloatingly. By this point, she had pushed us too far.

We continue, "So, what about stamina? Working on disasters involves a lot of stress, and during large disasters, we have to work 16-18 hour days for weeks on end. Is that something you'd be up to?"

"18 hours a DAY?" she challenged. "What on earth could happen that would take that long?"

"Oh, just general acts of God," I say smugly. "During Hurricane Katrina, this office was open 24/7 for 5 weeks. Tornadoes, floods..."

"Like the one in Nashville?" she asked. She's thinking she might be able to redeem herself now. I can tell.

"Yes, exactly."

"Oh, I would totally be there. Oh yeah, I would work that. That sounds like an adventure, and I love adventures. How would I be compensated for working that much?"

"You wouldn't be. It's a salaried position, and during disasters, we all have to do our part until the job is done. That's the way this organization works."


"Do you have any other questions?"

Again, looking through her resume, she finally says, "Well, I've done a lot of awesome things, as you can see from my resume. Here, you can keep it. And here," sliding us her copy of the job description, which she did bring, "you can keep this too. And give it to someone else."

"Um, yeah thanks. We'll do that." Definitely will do that, along with posting flyers around our building with your photo and a warning to call the authorities if your awesomeness is seen on these premises. I know that sounds mean, but this lady had a screw loose. And not a small screw. It kind of reminds be of the time we had a threat at an office I was working in, and we all had to look at this guy posted around the building for weeks on end:

Yes, really. That really was the only picture available. Things like this make me feel like I'm trapped in an episode of The Office. And let's face it, that's fun to watch on TV, but not so much when you find it paralleling your actual life.

1 comment:

  1. and that is how a thursday should end. wouldn't you agree?