A friend and I were discussing jobs recently – more him asking me how the job was being I was a year in. For those of you who read here, you know I love where I’m at and happy how things worked out.
There was that 2.5-year span where I wasn’t employed, sans a summer gig at a local baseball park for one summer. And, for the record, that was a whole heap of fun.
Needless to say, that span was tough. Over that long gap in employment, I had a bunch of interviews, some of which were the phone variety, others in person. And, as always, there’s going to be some that are way funnier or entertaining than others, right?
He reminded me of one interview I had that was mind-blowing in how it was done. I say this only because I expected much more. You see, this was with a national company and one that I had hoped was progressive in its thinking. It was for a position that was very heavy on public relations (at least in the description) and, to be honest, with everything I had done I was a near perfect fit, or so I thought.
- I had impeccable references.
- I had the qualities and experiences they needed.
- I was a member of their organization
- And I had ideas that, I believed, would help the organization.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go in confident. I don’t think I was cocky, rather hopeful and willing to remain confident in hopes of being a better interviewee.
Because the job was many states away, it was a phone interview. There were certain cuts of the process. The final 10, the final five (if I remember right) and then they brought in the final two or three for face-to-face interviews.
The final 10 was an e-mail-style interview. They asked you a bunch of questions and you responded. I didn’t wait on it and finished it that day and sent it back. This is where it all started, though. The e-mail I got was an obvious cut-and-paste as it had the semi-arrows on the left side at each sentence.
So it looked like this all the way down the e-mail:
> I am pleased to inform you that you’ve been selected to move on to the next
> round of the search process. At this point, I have identified ten
> promising candidates for the position and I am pleased to have you as one
> of that number. In order to proceed, I would like you to please provide
> responses to the questions that appear below.
I was given about a week to fill this out, which was plenty of time. The questions were basic interview questions. Some of the questions were about the organization; some were asking me about reactions or situations etc. Basically, the items people expect to see at an interview. So it was nice they were getting these out of the way.
I sent it in a few days before the deadline and waited. At the beginning, they had given a tentative schedule. Usually, that’s good to follow. But I didn’t receive notice about this until a week after that deadline. That wasn’t anything to worry about, though, as I was selected to be part of the final five, which meant a phone interview with three people.
The phone interview was … well, odd.
This is the part where I really wondered about things. It never seemed to get a flow to it. Some of the questions were off-the-wall. Many of the questions made me wonder if the description of the job was actually what one would be doing.
I actually felt a bit deflated by it.
Then there was one point … one question … where I shook my head and couldn’t help but smirk. It was at that point that I knew there wasn’t any way getting the job. Not that I couldn’t do it, but … because this just threw me off.
How do you feel about dogs?
I was silent for a moment and stumbled for a second. How does one answer this? Was this one of those trick questions designed to see how you react? Was it something else that I was missing?
I responded: “Um.. I guess I like them? As long as they aren’t barking all the time?”
I made sure my voice sounded more like a question … and then I had to do it. I had to ask why that question was pertinent.
Turns out one of the employees sometimes brought dogs to the office and they wanted to know if people had allergies.
Now, I’m pretty sure it would be illegal to not hire somebody because they have animal allergies, especially when the job is not related to anything with animals.
How do you feel about dogs?
That really was asked to me. To this day I still shake my head. I wonder how the others reacted when asked this question. I also wonder if my response had any part of the decision, but who knows.
So in a professional environment, a question was asked my feelings about dogs because somebody brings their pets into work with them.
One day later, I received the e-mail saying I wasn’t moving on to the next round of interviews. And this was midway through my unemployment span, so I really wanted a job. But I almost breathed a sigh of relief because the job seemed to be different than advertised and …
Well, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about sharing an office with a dog.
I’d like to note two other things.
First, this was the second time I applied to this organization because I once believed in what they did. I still think, given the right spot, they can be an amazing organization. I’ll be honest that I’ve kind of fallen away from some of the things it is involved in, so I haven’t watched as closely as I once did.
The first time was for a position, honestly, I would have had no business having. That’s not the point here, though. What is the point is that everybody was supposed to get a response. I had friends who applied and didn’t get to the first cut and got e-mails. Not me. So, of course, I think I’m going to make it go through. Weeks go by and I hear nothing. So I finally contacted the office (via phone). I got an e-mail a few days later saying the e-mail had been sent to me about three weeks earlier, so they pasted it again. The odd part? It came to an e-mail I didn’t use with the organization for my job items.
That being said, at that point, I was still at the newspaper, so I didn’t worry too much. It was just mind-boggling that things like that happened.
The second thing is about the same time I was going for my current job (which I love – and for the record had an amazing interview process etc.), the same organization had a spot for – once again – a PR-type person. I went through the qualifications and was thinking “me, me, me, me.” I figured, what the heck, let’s try it again.
It didn’t reach that far.
I got the letter reach, my resume, and I really sold myself. I showed why I would be the perfect match. Then I got this interview and it looked promising. The package had to be sent the day before I was offered this job (or the day after, I can’t remember).
That package was never sent, though part of me wishes I had – just to see if I could have made it through a few rounds again.
In the end, it all worked out for me. But I need to end with one question to all the readers out there…
How do you feel about dogs?
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