Dissed By The Man - 05.15.00

Truth be told, I've never been turned down for a job until last week. Sure, I've had companies tell me that they would keep my resume' on file for a couple months and I've had people not call me back, but last week was the first time that I actually went through at least part of the process of being considered (a first interview) and was subsequently shot down. I would have liked to continue my streak, but outside forces have declared that my personality type just doesn't fit in with what they're looking for in an employee apparently.

Going back a couple years, my interview for my first job out of college was kind of frantic on my part. I'd just gotten out of school and I was sort of desperately trying to find something so I could start paying back my student loans and get an apartment of my own (as living back home again just wasn't cool). Something made itself known quickly and I interviewed and was hired within the same day. Although it didn't pay very well for awhile, I thought that the whole job hunt thing wasn't too bad at that point.

After nearly a year at the first place, I began to get a little anxious again and the first thing that caught my eye was also the first thing that I applied for. A friend of mine knew that I was a bit interested in finding something new and had cut out a classified ad in the newspaper that sounded right up my line.

The first thing that took place was a phone interview with three different people at the same time. They called me at home one afternoon and I was kind of disoriented by hearing 3 different people on a speakphone dropping questions to me all at once, but I figured it all out soon enough. After the interview was over with, I thought I'd completely fouled it up. I felt like I'd stumbled and bumbled my way through nearly the entire thing and doubted I'd ever hear back from them at all.

Only 3 days later, though, I did hear back from them. They wanted a face-to-face interview with me and I was excited and nervous about the prospect. The first part of the equation was that I didn't want anybody at my current job to know that I was interviewing anywhere else, and I was also somewhat scared about getting out and trying to tell someone why they should hire me.

As it turned out, I'd scheduled a doctors appointment for the same day anyway, so the interview was easy to slide in at the same time. Not only that, but once I'd put my tie on and stepped in the door with the person I was interviewing with, I felt a lot more at ease. In fact, the interview went so well that by the time it was over, I was being introduced to other people that I'd be working with if I accepted the job.

I did end up accepting the job and had to break the news to the place that I was working for. They were shocked, but it felt good because I'd always felt underappreciated there anyway. I was moving onward and upward (for me anyway) and I was pretty happy.

Nearly two years passed at the job and in the past few months I've started to feel a little less-than-challenged by the work that I've been given. While I'm not completely disliking things, the job that I talked about way back in the first paragraph made itself known through a person that I work with who was also looking for something different. Intrigued, I sent my resume' over to them and they let it be known that they were interested in doing a "pre-interview" with me.

This is the part where things got a little fuzzy for me, because I really didn't quite understand what the "pre-interview" was determining or what the good of it was. I was told that it wasn't really an interview that would be directly related (in terms of skills and experience questions) to the job that I was applying for, rather it was more of a personality test to see if I would fit in with the company (or something like that).

Having always been interested in personality tests (but always having fared a little left-of-center), I got a little weirded out by what the questions would be. When it was finally time for the interview, I was told that there were 35 questions, some of which would require "yes" or "no" answers, while others would require a longer answer or examples.

The interview itself was crazy in terms of how fast the questions were asked (sometimes I wasn't even finished giving my answer before the interviewer was starting with the next one) and the questions themselves (two examples include "When you're driving your car on the weekend, what do you think about?" and "What are you proud of?"). I was given no time to think of answers, so I said whatever came to mind (which was probably what they were looking for anyway in terms of judging). When the whirlwind was over, I had no idea how I'd done. I thought that several of my answers had been good, but I also felt like I'd stumbled a lot and made too many blank silences while I had to think.

My premonitions turned out to be correct, because two days later I got an e-mail from the middle-person (yes, I was working with a career consultant, also known as a headhunter) that said I'd done (and I quote from the e-mail) "very poor" on the "pre-interview."

For a couple hours after getting the e-mail, I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. It was like someone was telling me that my personality was no good and they weren't even going to give me the chance to meet them in person for an interview because of a rather silly set of questions and answers. After those hours were over, though, I started thinking about it more and wasn't so worried about it anymore. I have no idea what they were looking for and I'm not sure that a company who goes by such standards would even be good to work for anyway. Either that, or I'm just a mis-shapen puzzle piece and eventually I'll find a match.