Job interviews have become extremely competitive in this tough economy, where college graduates are applying for jobs that I, less educated, would previously have snubbed my nose at. But you have to take what you can get to survive, no matter how low paying, how far away or how menial the tasks you will be performing.
Employers know this, and are aware they can get someone with 8 years of education and $100,000 in outstanding student loans to say, stand outside in 20 degrees holding a sign all day advertising a retailers sale. While I don’t have that level of education, employers like to make a twisted game out of interviewing all levels of pathetic unemployed people.
My last interview was typical of the new “selection process” employers utilize to weed out the unwanted and unemployable. The first interview was only round one in the boxing ring fighting to get a job. The recruiter gave us the heads up about the selection process.
“Today is the first round, and out of that group we will select those who will be brought back for a second interview. If that goes well, we’ll have a third interview, where we will interrogate you with a Tae Kwon Do master on hand. You will be tied to a chair with rope and hooked up to an electronic gadget and a lie detector test. At that point, we will determine if you are telling the truth about your previous employment and each time it doesn’t prove out, an electric shock will be sent to your brain, and our man will practice some torture methods on you.”
“Hmm,” I said, “You really are thorough in choosing an employee.”
“Oh, that’s nothing. You should see what happens if you make it to the fifth interview!”
And so it goes. Since I’d had other interviews where I followed the common advice to the letter as far as how to answer the interview questions, and was still unemployed, I decided this time I would answer the questions honestly, to see if I would fare any better.
It’s always the same redundant, predictable questions at an interview. It went something like this:
“What was something you didn’t like about one of your jobs, and how did you handle it?
“Well, I had this one boss, she was a real witch. I used to sit at my desk and dream up ways to kill her. One time, I gave her four flat tires and tried to run her over while she was getting help. Another time, I put this stuff in her coffee; she went home early but showed up for work the next day. I was quite surprised.”
There was a long pause as he gripped the phone in front of him tightly and his eyes darted over my head, gazing out the window, viewing the sane, employed people there, going about their tasks.
“Does that answer your question?” I asked, and gave him my million-dollar smile.
Then he kind of smirked, took his hand off the phone, and leaned back in his chair.
“Why did you apply for this position?”
“I applied for this position because I am a go-getter who has a sincere longing to line my pockets with change. Even though this position is paying well under what it should be for the work you are requiring, I spent hours getting primped and spent a small fortune on a new outfit so I could impress you and compete with the 118 other people in your lobby applying for this position.”
“What motivates you?”
“I am motivated by a desire to eat, and not just at McDonalds, but places like Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse. Additionally, my cable and Internet was just shut off and I’m nearing the point of insanity and a stint in a mental hospital if things continue this way. Dude, I need money NOW.”
“How do you establish a working relationship with new people?”
“I like to establish relationships with others by letting them know right away I’m a prima donna. Things must be done my way, and there’s really no compromising.”
“How is your work ethic?”
“I don’t like to work too hard, because, let’s face it, we all need to text and instant message while at work and I can’t let too much work get in the way of that.”
“How are your computer skills?”
“Hell, when I’m messaging someone online, I’m a pretty fast typist, especially if its someone I met on a dating site and we’re planning a date.”
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
I looked at him square in the eye and said, “Locked away either in jail or a nuthouse from having been abused and tortured by potential employers like you!”
He must have been impressed with my answers because he was nice enough to call another employee and security in to walk me out to my car.
I know I’ll get a job eventually. Somebody out there really needs me.