Tag Archives: job hunting

What I Learned from My Painfully Bad Interview

Should you hire this woman?

One fake motto, several awkward silences, and numerous failed attempts at jokes later, I have finished my first phone interview of this job-hunting season. Note: the professional shirt I was wearing did not prevent me from sounding like an ass.

The greeting was great. We both introduced ourselves and had friendly words. I was flying high when he asked me, “So what do you know about our company?” I was prepared for this question. I had spent the last twenty four hours digging into the recesses of their website and stalking individual members of their team. Unfortunately, the company is one of those weird hi-tech startups that uses phrases like “infrastructure API” and “Cloud IVR.”

In short, I struggled to explain to the man what his own company did. Instead, I said I liked it because I felt like “their company searches for a tree even though it doesn’t know what a tree looks like, but it finds something to fill the tree-shaped hole, if that makes any sense?” It didn’t. I was trying to say that their company was innovative but ended up swallowing most of the toes on my left foot. The awkward silence after this mangled corpse of a metaphor said it all.

Things looked up when he asked me about myself. This is one of my favorite subjects. I talked about International Relations, Egypt, blogging and meeting people and talking to them, and it all sounded really good until he asked if I read any blogs daily.

I threw out a few and joked that I read my own blog. No laughs. Note: do not mention that you daily read your own blog. You will sound like an ass. I also said that I read Mashable occasionally to catch up on “the stuff.” It was supposed to be a joke, but I’m sure I came off like “an idiot.” It’s also not true, unless you count looking at tweets as reading Mashable’s articles.

He inquired if I was familiar with the start up industry in San Francisco or using technological terms. The short answer is no but the long answer is “my motto is that if I don’t know it today, I can learn it by tomorrow,” a motto I made up on the spot and also one that sucks.

When he asked if I was involved in any weekly meet ups, I said that I spend a lot of time with my family right now because I don’t have a big community in Oklahoma. What he heard: I live under a rock and my best friends are my own leg hairs.

Finally it was time for me to ask questions, and I gave him all I had. I wanted to know everything and prolong the conversation as long as possible, which is why I asked if his company was “more of a get in and get out kind of operation or if people are in for the long haul.” Note: asking this question will make you look like an ass. People are always in for the long haul. I should have asked what the turnover rate was, or better yet, just let the conversation end.

It was a start to a wonderful interviewing career and in the end, a great piece of blog fodder.

Here are my takeaway points:

1. Don’t use complicated metaphors that involve trees and make zero sense.

2. No fake mottos.

3. Have a 2 minute or shorter summary of the company and why you like them.

4. Save jokes for the break room.

Now get out there and good luck!

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We’re Modern Now. We Don’t Have to Sweat.

It’s functional. Don’t worry about it.

Saturday afternoon, 1:30 pm. College graduate exits bedroom and runs into father, also a college graduate, for first time of the day. Pleasantries are exchanged. Father, pleased to see the college graduate, lists the yard work he has done that day. He has trimmed the hedges, cleaned out the pool, fixed something, moved something else, and used a loud machine for about two hours. He didn’t mention the last one, but the college graduate knows because she was sitting inside and had to listen to the racket for about two hours.

He’s tired and asks the college graduate if she was planning on making lunch for everyone, a laughable prospect. She chuckles and thinks of this question later when she sees the family has cracked wheat in the pantry. Why didn’t he just make this? She wonders.

In the meantime, college graduate has also been busy. She applied for 3.5 jobs and wrote 2.5 blog posts and made herself an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly on it for lunch. Her mind is tired but she’s hasn’t left the house, hasn’t made any money, and is wearing an old pair of sweatpants and a shirt from two days ago.

She was reflecting on her outfit earlier that day and how she felt surprisingly accomplished despite the fact sweatpants are viewed as the garb of the defeated. At least, she had accomplished until she met father, who had exited the house, made money by virtue of the fact he is a salaried employee of a real company, and burned over 20x as many calories as the college graduate.

She wonders how to explain to father that despite the sweatpants and the fact she was emerging from the bedroom, she had also done work that day, work that was laying the ground for her future and paving the way for his entry into a comfortable nursing home. In the digital age, she thought, we don’t have to sweat while we work. We don’t have to do anything besides stare at a computer screen and think really hard and sometimes type/write stuff down. This is the technological era. We don’t need to go outside anymore.

But instead of saying any of this, she lets the conversation fall into silence and quickly hides the tab with the YouTube music video of “Call Me, Maybe,” the music video that the college graduate had danced to only seconds earlier, maybe, when trying to recall some moves from her hip-hop class last spring.

Maybe father will read blog post later on and want to dance to the music video as well, she thinks, and then we will both burn calories.

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The Cover Letter that Gets the Job

I’m coming for you.

Listen up, mother narker

I know what you’re thinking. You’re at work, wearing your power skirts and wrist-control cuff links, and you think that this is just another cover letter, just another piece of pre-trash that you need to skim before taking your 15th M&M break of the day. Turns out the power to control human destinies doesn’t energize like it used to.

Your precious bundles of neurons are throbbing with boredom from the mediocrity of the stack that lies before you. Where is a peer? Where is the employee so detail oriented she counts her Lucky Charms and times herself on the john?

Where is that special someone with the suit-wearing abilities of a psychopath and marketing skills of nervous high-school nerds trying to convince Big Bob he doesn’t want to beat them up?  All you want is someone with a degree from every Ivy league university and 59 years of experience that has brought the total costs of running a company down to zero while increasing efficiency by 867 percent. Is that too much to ask?

Well let me tell you something, you open-gobbed hand-shaker. I don’t have any of that crap, and I’m not about to sit here and dump out my purse for you and tell you why my tic-tacs are the best ones for this company and how I really am the go-getter you’re looking for because I punched someone when they tried to cut me in line.

I’ve been out there. I’ve met with the graduates of this generation and I was parented by the last generation and I have some friends who belong to the place in between. You think they have something I don’t? You’re wrong, dead wrong. Your last-season shoes and chipped coffee mug tell the whole, sad story. You’ve spent your life trying to find the best and the brightest in the front displays of department stores, hand picking the newest merchandise that still smells slightly of formaldehyde. Then they come in and what do you get? Beneath their shiny surfaces, they’re turds like the rest of us.

This is the best it gets, sweetie. Leave Nordstroms and you’ll see me there on the street. I’ll be playing a pan pipe and have an overly-exited following of neighborhood dogs. Watch me closer. I’ll take those dogs across the street and trade them to the CEO of a start-up tech company called Whiznit for thirty bucks. I’ll take that thirty bucks and come back to Nordstroms and offer to take you out to a cheap lunch and tell you why I’m the best person for this job. Because let’s face it, you can get a shiny Gucci bag from any street corner in the world, but they only make me in Oklahoma, baked in the close confines of an over-crowded womb and served in a harsh world that doesn’t give out any favors. Hire me.


Snotting Black

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