The Job Interview Challenge

When not allowing my house to be overrun by “hoards of unruly lads“*, i have a pesky day job, where i reside in the bowels of a large organization, geographically dispersed across the nation.  In any bureaucracy, hiring practices are often monstrously over-managed, with ridiculous rules and requirements to avoid lawsuits assure fair and open promotion processes.

As a result, a senior female generally participates in personnel selection processes for key positions.  Since we are a technology-based enterprise, the number of senior women can be fit into a gnat’s ass with a greased crowbar is low.  Being a Senior Technologist – With Ovaries – i am often asked to sit on interview boards. 

This is an important responsibility, which i do not take lightly – helping get strong candidates into the right positions makes a huge difference.  It also offers a chance to scout for undiscovered talent that can be shamelessly stolen considered for jobs i need to fill additional opportunities.  But sometimes?  It just makes my brain hurt.  Today offered such a moment.

Candidates were pre-screened through a resume review process, and as a result, THE SYSTEM [bleat of discordant music] coughed up three candidates to be interviewed.   Two were “knowns” from within the local population, the third was a woman from an organization far, far away.  And when invited to interview, she accepted.

The resume looked “ok”, but not a strong fit for the position being filled.  None of us had any real sense for how THE SYSTEM [crash of thunder] made the call, but it seemed she had checked all appropriate career boxes along the way.  The fact that she was willing to interview was a bit of a surprise since it really didn’t seem to be an ideal fit.

As we awaited her arrival, we wandered into the “So, any idea what’s up with this?” realm.  Knowing we had some time to kill before she arrived, i said “i can tell you what she looks like” and was challenged by other panelists to write my description down.

My prediction:

– 5’6″, 170 lbs

– Short, dark (dyed), straight hair

– Wearing suit (skirt, not pants).  Black

– Flat, rubber-soled shoes

– Single (sweating just a hint of desperation)

– “Geeky”, but trying to be “A Suit”

– Maybe 45 years old…

– No glasses (perhaps contact lenses)

– “Not”**

My score? 

– 5’6″, 170 lbs

Short, dark (dyed), straight hair Long, gray, braided straight hair

– Wearing suit (skirt, not pants).  Black Gray

– Flat, rubber-soled shoes

Single (sweating just a hint of desperation) Wearing ring on left hand

– “Geeky”, but trying to be “A Suit”

Maybe 45 years old… Closer to 50

No glasses (perhaps contact lenses) Glasses

– “Not”**

Giving myself a 50%, my colleagues said that i’d done better than they would have done – making me wish i’d followed my instincts and made them play along – with wagering.  Might have made it less painful to sit through an awkward interview – which probably should never have happened. 

Alas, once again, i suppose we can blame THE SYSTEM [“Gong”].


* Thanks, oniongirl, for the great turn of a phrase.  This describes my social life well…

** In case you’re wondering, this is one of the most important uses for the internet.  Ever. 

13 thoughts on “The Job Interview Challenge

  1. *sigh* Sounds like me interviewing for my last three jobs. Except that I am shorter and heavier. And over rather than underqualified. Sometimes makes me glad to be disabled, and not have to sit on either side of the equation.

    I also remember trying to hire people as a middle manager. And trying to fire or discipline them was even worse. At least I can manage my dog, most of the time.

  2. In terms of our hiring…I am THE SYSTEM…which in itself is terrifying in myriad ways.

    So, did you ask her really hectic questions about stuff she wouldn’t know anything about? My fav question for the younger interviewees is “would you be comfortable with me reading your blog”…and then I watch them squirm.

    Man. It almost makes work worthwhile.

  3. silverstar – oh, it describes me pretty well, too (except the shoes). the frustration is that this woman was flown over 1000 miles, spent the night in town, for about an hour worth of interview – where she was differently qualified. Most likely THE SYSTEM gave her the opportunity due to the existence of ovaries… that kind of affirmative action really doesn’t help anyone, in my opinion.

    DP – um, did you take the partial? That would be “Differential”, not “Dental”?

    kyknoord – dartboards? are the candidates duct-taped to the wall, or given free range of motion to test agility?

    dolce – Evil genius that’s what you are! Our rules are much more rigid. A written page of 5 questions was generated, reviewed and approved by the HR folks. These questions are given to the candidates about 15 minutes before the interview, so they have time to make a few notes, collect their thoughts. These are then the ONLY questions we are allowed to ask, and the interview is timed. Did i say “over-managed”? There is no freestyle portion of the competition to assure fair treatment for all candidates.

    Bb – It’s a technical position. We need to fill it some time this century…

    nm – “wet” and “naked” are two words that absolutely are forbidden from use during personnel interviews. so, how’d your candidate work out?

    gnu – “psychic”. yeah… i knew you were going to say that…

  4. the restaurant has just changed their recruitment policy….gone is the six months experience requirement, in is “personality”…….or the HOT GIRL POLICY as I call it… worries me so….

  5. I once had the pleasure of being part of an interview process for a new maintenance engineer. I don’t know where the candidates came from, or how they got through the initial screening, but not a one of them was “good” enough to extend an offer to. The position went unfilled.

  6. Fuck. That’s terrible! Do you stalk them on facebook at least? Or pop up on their myspace page and ask them random, supposedly interview related questions? No? *sigh*.

  7. anytime daisyfae – and let’s trade? the gnats ass comment slayed me, or at the very least, made me snort in a rather undignified manner!

    gonna take me a while to purge my brain of that visual – and the expression on the gnats face. cant wait to slip that into conversation. might take a while since i only leave home to do shopping – maybe i could adapt it to a chicken comment and make the crowbar a logging pole… use it at the frozen foods aisle?

    when my husband (referred to in blogland as diablo ), visited his company headquarters in chicago last year, he was quite astounded at the levels of formality and organisation – meetings about scheduling meetings! aiyee. i reckon life isnt so bad in laid back in the deep south of africa after all y’all.

  8. manuel – sounds like Beaverboosh is part of your HR department… i can see the application – “no experience, but gigantic bazooms”. Great – park ’em here in the kitchen and hope the chef doesn’t mistake them for melons….

    rob – sometimes the wisest choice is to do without. there’s help and then there’s HELP!

    dolce – none of that – well, mostly because many of our applicants are too socially backward to even know that Facebook, or MySpace exist… we must follow the ROOOLZ…

    oniongirl – you know the old joke? while riding in a car and seeing a bug hit the windshield, i will sometimes sigh gently, and ponder “i wonder what the last thing to go through that bugs mind was?”… and a wise friend (who knows me) will say “his asshole”… and we drive on, in a reflective, zen-like state…

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