In a long life in the beautiful world of work, I’ve run into my share of awful job interviews. There was the interview where it became apparent that I was only getting interviewed because, for some reason, the interviewer was looking for dirt on my current employer. I was invited to spill it all. I declined. Then there was the interview in which they viciously attacked me as soon as I said hello—half an hour of innuendo. Reasons unknown.
In situations like those, you don’t want their job. If you are so desperate that you’ll take the job if offered, you’ll regret it immediately. In the nasty old ’60’s you’d be better off going and selling blood or plasma, and yes, that was a thing.
I know resumes are prefiltered, sorted, and optimized these days long before you face an interview. I’m also aware that most are virtual these days, at least first interviews. But the interview is a terrible place to discover that your homework on their company has missed a few glaringly bald spots. As 1950’s hipsters used to say, “You need to cut to the chase, ace!” Do your research.
You get a good idea of what will go down in three minutes. The pleasantries are over; you’ve discovered he has a pet scorpion named Sid. You’ve learned from the spots on his tie that his favorite color is mustard, and the actual favorite candidate is Bob from their motor pool. But Bob will need an assistant to do all the work, at much less pay. Regrettably. You begin to connect the dots and wonder if this job may not be a good fit for your skills in Systems Dynamics. Typically, you’d look at your watch and tell them their five-minute speed interview is over; have a nice day.
An alternative is to take a deep breath and have some fun. You know that in this quality organization, the interviewer found a list of questions they should ask on the internet: Where do you want to be in five years? Why should we hire you? Tell me about a time you failed and what is your dream job. So here are some suggestions:
1) Where do you want to be in five years? – Well, when my probation is done, I plan on leaving this sorry excuse for a state.
2.) Why should we hire you? – Someone needs to pick Bob up off the barroom floor and bring him home after he does a five-boiler maker Xertz chugalugs at the Tiki Bar and Lounge.
3.)Tell me about a time you failed – Just the other day. I saw the ad for this job and failed to skip over it.
4.)What is your dream job? Tollbooth toll collector. You meet interesting people on their way to exciting destinations, but there is no pressure to commit to a relationship.
Extra Credit – pull out your Magic Eight Ball and ask loudly should I accept this job? Tell them that the answer was Very Doubtful. Get up, walk away, and have a nice day.