The Interview Gone Wrong

     Have you ever had just a nightmare of an interview?  Did you walk out of there feeling 110% convinced that there was no way in hell that you were getting the job? I’d venture a guess to say that the majority of us have been there, done that at some point in our lives.  I remember one such interview in my past when I was being considered (if only for a fraction of a second) to teach in an inner-city school.  Wow, did I ever eff that one up!

     Given the fact that I come from anything BUT a big city, I don’t have a whole lot of know-how about the rough and tumble life of the mean streets.  I grew up in a bubble where the worst thing that really happened in my neighborhood was a peeping Tom who actually turned out to be some idiot teenager living only a few streets away and was just looking to get his rocks off.  And the only teaching experience I had at this point was a year in an upscale community Catholic school.  So, needless to say, I wasn’t really walking into this particular interview with a whole lot to pull out of my back pocket.

     As I was driving to the school, I noticed that almost every building in the area had boarded up windows — not a good sign, but I had such high hopes of finally working in a public school, that I was willing to overlook it.  When I pulled into the parking lot, I was relieved to see that the building looked brand spanking new, and I breathed a small sigh of relief.  How bad could it really be, right?  I walked into the school’s office and was told to have a seat next to another prospective job candidate.  I sat there nervously waiting for my turn and wondering what the chick next to me was bringing to the table. The school secretary must have noticed my fidgeting and decided to strike up some small talk (either that or she saw how naive I was and wanted to scare the living shit right outta me).  

Secretary:  “Have you had your car tuned up lately?”

Me:  “Uh, yes, I think so.  Why do you ask?” 

Secretary:  “Well, you don’t want to get stuck with car trouble anywhere NEAR this neighborhood.”

Me:  “Oh, ok, good to know.”

Secretary:  “Do you have an unlock button on your keychain?”

Me:  “Uh, yes, I actually do.”

Secretary:  “That’s good cause you don’t want to be fidgeting around for your keys in the parking lot after dark.  It’s best to unlock your car as you’re walking out of the building.”

Dear God, what had I gotten myself into?  I was NOT Michelle Pfeiffer, this was not “Dangerous Minds”, and I did not own a bullet-proof vest.  As I sat there silently wondering if I should just get up and leave while I still had the chance, my name was called.  Holy shit!  I was about to be eaten alive.

     I sat down with the principal and a panel of teachers and realized that I was for sure going to piss myself at any given moment.  They immediately started firing off questions, which I was surprisingly able to handle without a problem.  I was feeling pretty good about myself until they decided to give me a classroom scenario to see how I’d handle it.

Principal:  “What would you do if a well-known gang-banger repeatedly came to class chewing gum even though it’s against the rules?”

Me:  “I’d have a talk with him after class, and if that didn’t work, I’d call his parents.”

Principal:  “What if his parents are never home and refuse to take your call?  Or what if they don’t even have a phone?”

Me:  “Well, then I’d request a parent/teacher conference to discuss the matter in person.”

Principal:  “And what if the gang-banger threatens you?”

Me:  “Threatens me?  You mean, like, with violence?”

Principal:  “Yes, with violence.  But don’t worry, every classroom is equipped with surveillance cameras as well as a panic button if you need it.”

I had such a big lump in my throat from all the throw up that was threatening to work its way up my esophagus, that I wasn’t really even able to finish addressing the question. I think they knew they’d completely stumped me because they changed the subject and quickly wrapped up the interview.  I’m pretty sure I heard them rolling on the floor laughing as I got the hell out of there.

     It was no surprise then that I did NOT get the job.  (What a shocker!)  I was clearly out of my element and totally out of my comfort zone.  It was definitely a learning experience and a huge eye-opener for me.  Maybe my little Catholic school job wasn’t so bad after all.



9 Responses

  1. I interviews with Microsoft for a Sr. Engineer position. The consulting firm that set me up mixed up my experience as a Network Engineer with this job which was testing the New Operating Systems. I was a very experience tech geek so I figured I’d be ok. I walked into a board room of very tired looking caveman-ish geeks that have had a showers since thier last date (ie never!) and they ripped me apart. I…KNEW…NOTHING. I told them 15 minutes into it that I didn’t think I was the right fit but they continued for the full hour. I walked out of there not sure if I knew a damn thing about technology. Mentally whipped from digging back in my college days of testing and programing. Lesson learned: never apply fir something you are not quailfied for thinking you can wing it.

  2. What with the question, “If you could be any animal, what would it be?” I always want to reply “A killer whale, so I could eat your sorry stupid ass in one bite, Shamu style MFer.”
    Alas, I usually say, “A dolphin” Who doesn’t love dolphins?
    The most memorable interview I conducted was when the applicant picked his nose throughout the entire gig. Needless to say, I wrapped things up pretty quickly, and NO I did NOT shake his hand at the end.

  3. Holy crap, I’m glad you didn’t end up at that school!!

    I think my worst interview was at a Charter school–I didn’t realize they were conservative, religious-based. I’m an agnostic. Didn’t get the job, natch.

  4. I agree with Bonnie on the “What animal would you be.” Why the heck do they ask that stupid question if you’re not applying for work in a zoo?

    I hate the interviews where they try to sell you things.
    Or you have to go and pay $600 for a license, etc.

    I’ve been out of work for a while. I send out TONS of resumes. I follow up on the ones when I can get contact information for someone at the company, and interviews are still a rare thing….

  5. Do I have my share of stories!! Not enough room to write them here though! One time I spilled water on the interviewers desk – oh yes, I did. I have also had interviewers use the F word and have also told me that I was pretty. So unbelieveable uncomfortable – to say the least. I took teh compliment though, i’m vain like that!

  6. I was once interviewing for an Accounting position with a CPA. I had had some suspect mexican food the night before, and as I sat waiting for my appointment, I began to feel nauseated. Figuring it was nerves, I tried to put it out of my mind.

    During the interview, though, I began sweating and blinking a lot to try and choke back the enchilada which was coming up one way or another. Every time I opened my mouth, I was afraid I might projectile vomit all over the conference room table.

    I really have no memory of the questions or who interviewed me, because as soon as it was over, I ran to the ladies room and was sick, loudly. Oddly, I didn’t get a call back.

    I could barely drive home. And I spent the next 14 hours…in the same state.

  7. It’s not the knowledge you need to fake…it’s the confidence. I’m the master of faking confidence!

  8. I was once told that I scored ‘passionate’ on my personality profile. I said “passionate” as in dedicated to the job or passionate as in whorey pole-dancing-slut-bag?” (i really said that, no seriously- I did)

    Do you think I got the job ?

  9. Can’t say I’ve had one quite that bad but I can say wow…panick button

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