A couple of weeks ago I had a job interview. I got dressed up, made an attempt to brush my hair and I even put on make-up. One co-worker asked, “have you been out in the sun?” No, I want my blush to say, “I’d rather be at the beach. In fact, that’s where I was before I got here.” I rubbed away at my cheeks to try and look more sun-kissed and less sun-scorched.
I arrived at the interview a few minutes early to show my eagerness. Unfortunately, I was the only one. Two of the interviewers arrived late and one dashed out the door promising he’d be nicer if we waited on him. Who could protest? When the interview began they explained that they would take turns asking questions and one of them showed me on their list of questions where they’d circled every 3rd question so he could remember it was his. The other interviewer chimed in, “mine are all the ones that are divisible by 3!” Great. Then each person took a turn asking their questions. At one point, one attempted to ask someone else’s question and there was some huffiness as the other interviewer declared, “but that one is mine, see it’s 9 and you can divide that by 3.”
I think I did well on the first question, but a few questions in, a scuffle for whose turn it was to ask the questions and I became keenly aware of the fact that I was moving into “observation” mode and losing sight of giving any more quality answers. I observed that one of the interviewers, who’s been known to appear in mink stoles, had something completely distracting going on with her teeth. Half of them were brown – as if a line had been drawn down her head and it was decided that the teeth on the left would be one color and the teeth on the right would choose a completely different color. Now every time she asked her 3rd question, divisible by 3 of course, I would stare at her teeth. How did that happen? Did genetics come into play? I wasn’t trying to be cruel; I was actually fascinated by the science.
“Have you ever worked with different levels of staff?” I’ve worked directly with the deputy treasurer for the State of Texas who was also Governor Ann Richards’ campaign manager, I’ve worked with various community and business leaders around Austin, TX and I’ve had dealings with “Claudia Taylor’s” staff. Heck, I’ve even sat in a car for several hours chatting with Bobby Seale when I helped bring him to my college campus. In fact, there is no one at the place where I was applying that would be higher on the food chain than some of the people I’ve assisted or had dealings with. So, my great answer was of course, “I work directly with my manager and ummm… I uhh… well, I’ve dealt with their supervisors when asked.” Look at those teeth! I think the bridge of her nose is a bit collapsed and those bangs form quite an awning for her brow. What percentage of our genes do we carry from Neanderthals? (Yes, now I was in full-blown distraction mode with a hint of cruelty thrown in because I was floundering badly and trying to make it ok.) “ummm yeah.” Yes, I really did complete one of my answers with that profound thought.
The next question came out (incidentally, it was not divisible by 3) and my response to it began with, “I have an interesting story!” Part of my brain looked at the other part and snorted, “really? You have an interesting story? This is going to be your great response? Please tell us you’re not seriously going to do this?” and the other half defensively replied, “yes! It’s really interesting!” Yeah, it wasn’t that interesting. In fact, as I enthusiastically recounted my “interesting” story the part of my brain that was against the whole thing to begin with sat back and frowned noting each polite smile and stunned look on the interviewers’ collective faces. The looks that said, “do we really have to jot this down?”
One of the final questions was, “why do you want this job?” Now, we all know the answer to this one. This is where you talk about how excited you are by this particular job, what you’ll bring to it and how you’re the exact right fit. In fact, when you saw the posting you knew the two of you were meant to be together. However what I said, in a complete fit of crazy was, “it pays more than what I currently make.” And then I smiled at them – a crazy, satisfied little smile, because I was convinced in that moment that I had delivered the best answer EVER!
Fortunately, that was towards the end and the last divisible by three question, so I was able to thank everyone and bolt out of there hoping I’d never run into these folks again.
When I got out, I immediately called by good friend April and recounted the whole thing – all the bad responses and the amazing half head of brown teeth. We now have a deal that before any interview she’ll prep me, because clearly I lost my little mind. She promised she’d help remind me of “how awesome [I] am.”
Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.