I read with interest the notice in the office newsletter about a vacancy. I hadn’t been promoted in years. Although, I already had a great job where I was chained to a computer and forced to drink black coffee all day, my career had stagnated. I could work in my sleep, and very often did, in spite of the stimulation. It was time for a change.
I could hardly contain myself until I could set up an interview. I called and made an appointment with someone named Barbie who had been there only a year and had already being promoted to management. It had nothing to do with her being related to the CEO.
I visualized myself in my new cubical, doing important tasks on the computer, handling business efficiently, watering my plants, and all at a much higher salary. I was beginning to get enthusiastic about how I was going to spend all that extra money.
I got out the old resume and padded it shamelessly to make my current job sound responsible. I wanted to make an impression, a very good impression. I typed it up and dreamed about how great this new job was going to be as I watched it print.
I figured I needed the perfect outfit to wear for the big day. Somehow I had a feeling that Barbie didn’t come to work in a gray flannel suit. I finally decided to buy something new, a navy blue dress in the new longer length that was stylish but businesslike. They call it “dressing for success.” It maxed out my credit card, but I figured no sacrifice was too great when it came to advancing my career.
It took me most of the day, but I tried to think of possible questions that they might ask and possible answers I might give to emphasize my impressive profession qualities without giving away any of my shortcomings. No need to mention the computer files I once accidentally deleted or the time I burned popcorn in the office microwave, I decided.
I rehearsed a few answers in front of the mirror, which was hard because being a female, I had to keep stopping to fix my hair. By the time the big day came, I was pretty nervous. I dropped the toothpaste in the toilet and nearly stabbed myself in the eye with mascara. By the time I finished, however, my hair was perfect, my makeup tasteful, and I had on plenty of deodorant.
It took two motivational tapes to get me out the door, but I finally felt ready. I showed up right on time, not too early and certainly not too late. I clenched my teeth and smiled, trying not to be irritated at being kept waiting while Barbie made an appointment for her hair, nails and aerobic class.
At last I was ushered in. The interviewer began to drill me with the expectations of the new job and asked none of the questions that I had rehearsed. I maintained eye contact and tried hard not to faint until perhaps later when no one was watching. I wondered how long it would take my resume to be filed in the paper shredder after I left. When it was finished, I shook her hand and thanked her for her time, feeling as if the IRS had audited me.
Back at the old office, I lacked the strength to use my computer mouse, so I simply stared at the screen saver all afternoon, wondering why I had never noticed all the pretty colors before. Well, if I don’t get the job at least I will know why. The CEO probably had another relative.
My greatest fear, however, was not that I might NOT get the job, but that they might actually offer it to me.
Have you ever been to an interview that made you wonder if they actually intended to hire someone? Have you ever turned down a good job offer? I would be interested in knowing.
Great story, Sheila. Let us know if you get the job. I recently interviewed and was not hired even though I’m well qualified. Who knows why? I speculate that the boss didn’t want to hire someone who looked like his grandmother. sd
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Probably you are right. No, I could tell they were just going through the motions interviewing me.
A good narrative – quote true and realistic too. One can never know the ‘hidden agenda’ behind any interview, leave alone an internal one. For more musings on corporate life, please check out my blog entries.
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I had an internal interview with a company I was working for. I did very well. I knew the interviewer and he knew me. I knew my competition and felt confident I would get it. The decision was to be made as soon as the last interview was done at the end of the week. After 6 weeks of not hearing anything, I called. Turns out someone inside the company needed to be place somewhere and no positions were to be filled until this person was place. Yep, he got my job. Turned out an even better job came down the pike about 6 months later and I got that. Far better opportunity. When I was younger I always worried that I would be able to do the job that was described in an interview. I came to understand that the job was never what was described so there was no point in worrying. I was once hired to do training. First they had me recruiting, then I filled in for the HR manager, then I was the HR manager. I did my first training program as the HR manager, 5 years after I was hired.
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Interesting story. It was often that way where I worked. They knew who they wanted before the interviews and the interviews were a mere formality.