Pre-Screening Applicants Takes Many Forms


Job interviews are just like meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time – there are so many ways to blow it. One time I was interviewing for a job in Oregon. The interviewer led me into a room where two other employees sat a rectangular table. There were two seats left, so I took the one on the side (and not at the head of the table). I figured it was just like dinner – Dad always sits at the head. Makes sense, right? But after I dropped into the seat, my interviewer said “Uh, that’s where I sit.” So I replied “Oh, I figured I’d lead the interview today.”

Somehow I got that job. A few months later I discovered that it was a horrible fit. I’ll spare you the details, but I ended up drinking those nasty body-builder shakes to counter rapid, unwanted weight-loss.

I remembered that after reading about a guy who was interviewing for a job in London. He rode the subway to the interview and, while exiting the train, he bumped into another passenger. So he told the guy to “Go f**k himself.” Then he did whatever for a few hours and walked into the interview, which was at an investment firm. The interviewer turned out to be the person he’d had the nasty exchange with back on the train. But he didn’t recognize him. So the interviewer asked him a few subway-related questions until the penny dropped.

What are the chances of that happening in a city of 8.3 million people? We can laugh at the guy, but he might’ve just saved everyone (including himself) from a real bad experience.

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3 thoughts on “Pre-Screening Applicants Takes Many Forms”

  1. My job brings me in on interviews to throw random, off-kilter questions at the interviewees. I do have a guilty conscience both before and after this but it was how I met Jill Y.

  2. I would love to meet whatever genius thought up the idea of having an interviewer ask all those stupid questions when the interviewee is someone who has been working at the same company for years and is just looking to move up!

    Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    A. Right here at Jack Ass and Co., where I’ve wasted the last 20 years of my life.

  3. I’ve learned not to flip people off on the way to work, because that guy might just be the key grip on the set where I’ll be spending the next 16 hours. It’s happened.

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