- One of them is checking his smartphone. I can see you!
- The other is drooling.
- The third is busy "taking notes," a.k.a. doodling.
Business , Career , economy , Employment , humor , interview , job , meetings , Organizational culture , personal branding
There are few things in life more painful than a job interview. Except, perhaps, dating.
There are also few things more shameful. Right? It's not something you want to talk about. The screw-ups, the flubs, the asinine mistakes that everyone makes but which feel totally unique to your sorry ass.
In a nod to the generous holiday spirit, I will attempt to lessen the collective shame of job interviewees everywhere by sharing some actual outtakes from various interviews I've suffered through over time.
I would also like to reassure the group that with each of these horrendous meetings, your self-esteem will drop by 3 percentage points. Which you can later drown in a gigantic iced coffee at any high-end coffee shop of your choosing.
Also on the positive side, you will likely never see these people ever again.
And now without any further ado: Lights, camera, ACTION.
* * *
"Here, Dannielle, have a seat. Sit right here."
Clearly this isn't a choice thing. "Sure. Thank you."
"There are a few of us, so please bear with us as we gather in."
"Oh, there's one more...is Katie on the phone?"
Then, to me, as if I will in any way, shape or form remember this.
"That's Katie, our Director of Field Coordination."
"Are we all ready now?"
The group nods. Waves of nods appear. Mmhmm. We. Are. Ready.
"Well, welcome, Dannielle, it's such a pleasure to met you."
"For me as well."
This is not a pleasure for anyone. I need a job, and for you it's 3:00 on a Friday.
"We've heard so much about you. We love your blog."
"You do? I appreciate that."
Because it's the only thanks I'll ever get. It doesn't make me a damn dime.
"We're on a tight schedule here, so if you don't mind let's get to Question 1."
Back to Planet Earth.
By the way, I have gleaned from many years of experience that the less you say in an interview, the better.
"OK, Question 1."
"Tell us a little about yourself, if you would."
"Sure. Well, I started out as a writer from a very young age...."
"Thanks. Now on to Question 2."
Laboriously he reads. This one's gonna be a doozy, I can tell.
"Tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult communication situation. What was the problem, who were your key stakeholders, what are some of the challenges you faced, and what was the outcome?"
NO! THE DREADED ESSAY QUESTION!
"Um, could you repeat the question please?"
"Question 3. What's your biggest weakness?"
"I am an obsessive perfectionist."
Wait. That didn't sound right.
The guy's expression says: freaking 3:25 p.mmmmmm.
"I get to do Question 4," Katie chimes in. From the phone, all chirpy. I hate her already.
"Why do you want to work HERE, specifically?"
Because you have a job available, idiot.
"I, uh, mm, I, well..." stuttering, stammering.
"...I just love the very important critical aspects of the esoteric specific highly confusing and impossible to understand work that you do."
There. Now it's perfectly clear.
"Last one. Do you have any questions for us?"
Oh good. That one was in the article about interviewing skills. Which I read on the train.
"Tell me what is the absolute worst thing I could do in this job if you hired me. Like the one thing that would make me fail, out the wazoo."
The doodler looks at me as if to say, OMG.
"It's been a pleasure, Dannielle."
"Thank you. I thought that went well."
"That being said - we'll call you."
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia. Currently she is a public servant, as well as an independent freelance writer. This blog, like all of her public content, is written in her personal capacity unless otherwise noted. It does not reflect the views of the U.S. government, in whole or in part. Photo credit: Gerard Stolk via Flickr
"I used to live near the Gowanus Expressway, do you know where that is?"
"It's pronounced GO-WAH-NUS."
"I was going through a really tough time back then. I was poor."
"I'm sorry. I..."
"Now I'm successful. REALLY successful."
"Yeah? Hey listen, I've got to go check on that - "
"I mean BIG. But my kids aren't talking to me."
"Oh. Oh no. Well I guess I can sit down for a minute more."
"Yeah. And my husband walked RIGHT OUT. I was working too much he said."
"He took the kids with him. That's why they hate me."
"Um, I'm sorry I just have to - "
"Yeah, they really do."
"Hey - I see you shifting around over there. I didn't mean to keep you. You go ahead and take your bio break, yeah. You need that."
"Thank you, I mean thank you. Thanks."
"You take care now. Give me a call."
As I am thinking, that would be never.
It took me a while to put myself in the other person's shoes. But I used to be a blabbermouth myself, and once I cottoned onto that, catching others in the act became a little easier for me.
So now I'm telling you.
When you're talking to a stranger, and you feel really comfortable, enough to chat away and tell them all about yourself...consider this: Do they seem to want to hear it?
If they're squirming, or looking away as if for an exit sign, consider it a warning. You're probably sharing a bit too much.
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia. Currently she is a public servant, as well as an independent freelance writer. This blog, like all of her public content, is written in her personal capacity unless otherwise noted. It does not reflect the views of the U.S. government, in whole or in part. Photo credit: sari_dennise / Flickr
"People are as individual as snowflakes, they kinda look alike but no two are the exactly the same, and all classification is the root of prejudice." ― Craig Ferguson, host, "The Late Late Show"
Communication , corporate culture , employee engagement , Leadership , management , Organizational culture , organizational development
I don't know if I can trust you.
I'm not listening to your speeches or reading your blogs.
And I skipped the town hall as well. It's true.
Your official emails are very long. But they don't say too much.
Did you know that your eyes dart back and forth in conversation?
Most of the time you're hard to get, if at all.
What is it you're hiding? Where are you when something is going wrong?
I'm the one who's out there all day, busting my butt to get the work done.
I literally have an impossible job.
Would you throw me under the bus?
Sometimes I feel like I'll never know.
Until I feel like you've got my back, I'll be keeping my options open.
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia as well as her own independent, freelance sole proprietorship. This blog is written in her personal capacity and does not reflect the views of her employer or the U.S. government as a whole. Photo by Oli Young via Flickr.
Communication , emotion , employee , employee engagement , hatred , Leadership , management , organizational behavior , Organizational culture
They tell you to "feel your feelings" and it's true, you have no choice.
But some of them are really unpleasant:
Like many people I try to bypass all this crap and medicate with food. Ice cream and french fries work well. Or, I just get dizzy.
One day I looked in the mirror and saw rivers of early gray.
Other people have less of a problem with negativity. They can admit: "I'm afraid," or sad, or jealous or even self-hating. They can talk about it with friends. All of that is good.
But there are some people who like the dark side a bit too much. They are haters, and almost any pretext will set them off.
Sometimes it seems like hatred has a justification. But when you indulge in this feeling, the only person you're really hurting is yourself. Because you're binding yourself to the target of it, forever.
And the reason you feel hatred, if the truth be told, is more personal than external.
- I've hated others, and learned that the emotion masked my own discomfort with a part of myself.
- There have been people who have hated me because they didn't understand things. But you can't explain yourself to the entire world, and frankly people often don't give a shit about revising that judgment once it's done.
- I used to feel justified in hating those who are antisemitic, until I realized that the real issue was feeling powerless on my part. The Nazis and the radical terrorists seem to have a strength I don't possess.
Hatred is always, always, always about you and never the target.
The spectrum of so-called negative emotions is good for us to feel. It lights the way forward. It's a signal that some important boundary has been disturbed, that right and wrong need fixing, that we have unresolved conflicts from the past.
Dwelling in hatred, however, is never a good idea. It throws your inner compass off. It stops your brain from working. Blocks you from learning. It binds you to the very object of your hatred, in ways you never want.
Hatred keeps you at the junior level of consciousness, when you want to be a spiritual CEO.
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia as well as her own independent, freelance sole proprietorship. This blog is written in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed here are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the National Archives and Records Administration, or the United States government. Photo credit: U.S. Army / Flickr