Job interviews have become extremely competitive in this tough economy, where college graduates are applying for entry-level jobs, jobs that I, less educated, would previously have snubbed my nose at. But you have to take what you can get, no matter how low-paying, how far away or how menial the tasks you will be performing.
My last job interview was interesting. This one company called and set up an interview for the next day, so I thought for sure they need someone desperately and soon, and the job was mine.
Employers like to make a twisted game out of interviewing pathetic unemployed people like me. As usual, this first interview was only round one in the boxing ring fighting to get a job. The recruiter told us how it would be:
“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 hooked up to an electronic gadget and a lie detector test while you are tied to a chair with rope. 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 known advice to the letter as far as how to answer the interview questions, 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. The interview 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.
Then he kind of smirked, took his hand off the phone, and leaned back in his chair.
“Does that answer your question?” I asked, and gave him my million-dollar smile.
“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 so I could compete with the 118 other people in your lobby, and hoping I’ll impress you with my answers.”
“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, I’m currently two months behind on my cable and Internet bill and will really lose it if they shut it off.”
“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. 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?”
“Oh that’s an easy one. In an insane asylum 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.