Thursday, July 7, 2011

Job Interviews Part 1 of 3

Recently, I've had three memorable experiences interviewing for work.  What I've found is that it's stressful to visit someone else's office and go through the process of trying to convince someone that you're a good fit for doing a job they want done.  I've come up with a system to take as much of the stress out of the process as possible and to do everything I possibly can in advance so that I'm not in a rush on the day of the interview.

First, I'll walk you through my boring pre-interview process and then I'll get into the marginally less boring experiences I've had recently while interviewing for work.  When I speak to the person setting up an interview, I pull the following information up on my computer screen and am sure to fill in their information for all of the blank spaces or am sure that the information is being emailed to me.  

First and Last name of the Person I spoke with: ___________    __________________
Address being emailed? If not, take it down:__________________________________
Phone Number: ________
Interview Time: ________
Interview Date: ________

As soon as I get off the phone with the person or receive the confirmation email from them, I look up directions to the office where I'll be interviewing.  If I'm not familiar with the area, I'll often look at the Google Street view image to help orient myself when I'm driving to the office on the day of the interview. Then, I email myself the directions to the office so that I will have them on my phone the day of the interview.

On the day of the interview, I pull up this short checklist to be sure that I have everything i need for the interview:

  • Directions to job location
  • Name and number of the person I will be meeting with
  • Shave your face
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Blue folder
  • Two extra copies of your resume
  • Pen
  • Copy of your interview questions

My first of three recent interviews was with a company looking for someone to work for them part-time taking data from various sources and converting and entering the data in a proper format inside of Excel.  The data would then be run through a program to insert all of the fields I would potentially be entering in Excel into the blanks of a form letter which would then be emailed out to people to drum up business.  

I applied for this job because I kick ass using Excel. I can type quickly and accurately, know the ins and outs of the formatting paintbrush, can sort multiple columns to put data in the proper order, can turn huge lists of data into useful, digestable information by setting up Pivot Tables and have picked up on all the ways to get things done quickly and effectively using Excel. In short, I am an advanced Excel user so a job that requires heavy Excel use is something I would be well suited to do.

I went to the interview and met with two young women who told me that 99% of the job would be using Excel and, after a half hour of discussing my background and skills, agreed that I would be a great fit for the other 1% of the job as well.  The words that came out of one of their mouths verbatim were:
This seems encouraging...

Then, one girl said that she would sit next to me while I performed a series of tasks inside of Excel.  If that test were a woman, she would have been delivering a diagonally cut a roast beef sandwich with fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes and onion that she just prepared and placed on a plate, which she then carefully balanced on her back and crawled on all fours to my spot on the sofa to deliver.  When I take the plate from her and smack her on the rump to say thanks, the test would say on her knees at my feet with her eyes downcast to avoid making eye contact with me.  In other words, I made that test my bitch.  My misogynistic fantasy life aside, the young woman that was administering the test really did say the following:

I forgot to poorly sketch in my very large beard and the 
fact that the woman interviewing me could actually 
see what was taking place on the monitor.  Opps.

99% of the job is Excel, which according to the person conducting the interview, I am better at than anyone else that applied and I am a great fit for the other 1%. So it came as a surprise when I got an email a few days later saying that they had gone with someone else.

Tune in next time to read about quickly scroll past the somewhat exciting tale of my second of three job interviews!

TL;DR: Despite my excellent ability at using Excel, I failed to secure a job that required heavy Excel use.


  1. That's disappointing
    I did like your drawings though.

  2. Wow that's discouraging. Great story telling skills, I really didn't expect that ending. :/

  3. One another reason that most of people fail to make is , be smart but not smarter than the interviewer.
    Sometimes people who interview dont know what they are intervieweing for.
    Personally I have handedout questions to my subordinate since usually I dont get time to conduct interview. He/She asks question but he cant verify or know the answer to the question.
    So, usually the confident ones end up as pain in the ass later while the efficient humble ones miss the job. Looks like you are one in the list.

  4. better luck next time. I've only used excel like twice in my life and looked like a lost puppy while doing so.

  5. The job application process is mind boggling.
    I never get interview. Despite my personal touch of hand written CV on used tissues.

    Shit buzz for you. They always want 110% - maybe that's where you messed up.

  6. i want a new job so bad, you have no idea.

    these are great tips thanks lookin forward to part 2 and 3 :)

  7. You may take me a bad man, but on the job interview, I gently realize that employer needs me and not vice versa. ALWAYS works; )

  8. the adventures of the employed to be... :)

  9. Looking for a job myself, you're list is pretty good thanks! :D also the drawings are cool

  10. That sounds sucky!

  11. I wonder what the other 1% was about? Being coffee guy? Carpool driver?

  12. That sucks. Who knows what they are actually looking for.

  13. I've only applied and been rejected from jobs a couple times. Given that I'm still studying and don't currently need a job I'm not too fussed. Your story is not very encouraging though, well told, but not encouraging. Maybe you should become a story teller.