Worst Interview Ever?

S. Dale Morrey sdalemorrey at gmail.com
Wed Jun 8 15:18:21 MDT 2011


With my next degree almost complete I'm about to dive head first back
into the workforce.

In preparation for my next go-round through the job interview cycle, I
thought I would take a moment and open a new thread on interviews and
interviewing skills.

If nothing else maybe it will be humorous reading for everyone, or
maybe it will just be cathartic.

Since I started the topic, I guess I'll begin with my worst interview ever.

I woke up and checked my email to find the following message.

"Hey we decided to bump the interview time up to 8:30a from 11:00a,
hope you don't mind."
Current clock time was 8:00a

I hurried through a hack job on my facial hair, hopped in the shower
and got dressed as fast as I could.
Current time 8:20a

I called to say I might be a little late because the interview time
had been changed and I wasn't informed until a few minutes ago.

I hopped in my car and tried to start it.  It wouldn't turn over.  I
popped the hood, adjusted the battery cables and the car started, went
5 blocks and died never to come to life again.
Current time 8:30a

Called again explaining the death of the car, said I would take a taxi
or bus and be there as quickly as possible.
Bus departs 8:45a  -  Bus arrives 9:45a total distance traveled 10 miles.

I run as fast as I can to my interview and break a fierce sweat, only
now realizing that the deodorant I put on was in fact my wifes as
evidenced by the overwhelming smell of flowers emanating off me in the
middle of winter.

I arrive and I quickly apologize, then attempt to explain the cause(s)
of my tardiness, try to crack a joke about Murphy's law and the
interview starts to go south from there.

Interviewer:  "Now that you've finally arrived, please tell me what
you know about the job and it's requirements."
Me: "You're looking for a Systems Analyst, so you need someone to take
business requirements and translate them into a software
specification...."

Interviewer:  "Actually we need a Systems Analyst who is willing to
get their hands dirty."
Me: "Can you elaborate then?"

Interviewer:  "We've had this project going on 3 years now, we've had
our specification for over a year and we need someone to handle the
implementation details."
Me: "Ok thats not a problem, you mean like creating diagrams, getting
teams to talk to each other and that sort of thing right?"

Interviewer:  "No we've got someone who does that, he's the CEO's son
and he's the Project Manager, you would be working directly with him
to turn his diagrams into software."
Me: "I'm not sure I follow you."

Interviewer:  "You know how to program don't you?"
Me; "Of course, I've been doing it for most of my life.  It's where I
started my career."

The interview went back and forth like that before I finally realized
that what they wanted was actually a web designer to "program" their
website.  The current version of the website looked like it had been
done in frontpage and they wanted to "Ajaxify it".  They also wanted
someone with an SCEA, +5 years experience, but their website to be,
was primarily a customer management system in ASP with a MySQL back
end.  I'm not positive but I got the distinct impression they were
planning to host it on a machine running windows XP in a closet where
they had previously kept janitorial supplies.  Also the "appropriate
candidate" would be the SOLE person working on the website and would
have to handle a lot of help desk calls as part of their day to day
job duties.  After some pressing he mentioned that the pay range would
be in the range of $10 to $15/hr.  When he asked me about my salary
requirements he became visibly angry asked me if I minded if he call
my previous employer to verify that (to which I had no problem), and
then abruptly terminated the interview.

After forgetting about the interview for several weeks I finally got
"The Letter"

"Thank you for taking the time to apply with us for the job of Systems
Analyst.  After careful consideration we have determined that your
skills are not what we are looking for at this time."

Me:  "Gee ya think?"

6 months later I heard that the company had filed for bankruptcy protection.

When I took some time to really sit and think about it I realized that
they had likely figured that Help Desk and Systems Analyst meant the
same thing, since of course help desk personnel have to "Analyze the
System" if they want to determine the problem.  I should have realized
it sooner, he had been pointing in that direction the whole time, but
I guess I'm just not that good at interviews.


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