I interviewed for a job recently. I drove 5 hours for an all-morning interview with 4 different people. 3 of those conversations were wonderful. 1 was not, and it left me with this funny story.
I was under the impression that I was interviewing for a director-level role, as I made it very clear to them that I wasn’t interested in accepting something below that level. Since they had put me through the interview process and had me travel, I assumed this was understood.
When I sat down to interview with one director-level employee, it became clear that no one had told her. When she asked me to explain how I came to be interested in the role, I walked through the entire process, including the fact that I was looking for a director-level role. You should have seen her face.
It was like something awful had happened to her. She looked down at my resume, looked up at me, made a face and asked me why I would possibly think that I deserved to be at that level – at her level. So that was fun. She was pretty rude and unprofessional throughout the interview, but I answered her questions calmly and was happy with what I said.
The highlight of it all was when she was demonstrating how, unlike me, she had paid her dues and deserved to be a director. To illustrate this, she said:
“I worked at Vistaprint – maybe you’ve heard of them?”
Now, reading that quote here, you would be right to question the authenticity of this story. That line is so ridiculous that it makes you wonder whether or not this actually happened. Would anyone ever arrange words in that order to form a sentence? But I assure you, those were her exact words, and she was serious.
There are a lot of potential answers to that question. Many of them snarky. “That company that’s always offering me 50 free business cards?” But, of course, all I said was “yes.” Yes, I had heard of Vistaprint.
The conversation with her was so off-putting that I decided, before they even made their decision, that I did not want the role, even if they offered it to me. Why would I want to work with someone like that, if I don’t have to?
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