• Dear Snobby Shoe Company* (aka: my HORRENDOUS Job Interview)

    **Update — see bottom of post

    (Courtesy of: http://l.yimg.com/eb/ymv/us/img/hv/photo/movie_pix/twentieth_century_fox/the_devil_wears_prada/meryl_streep/devilwears8.jpg)

    Dear Snobby Shoe Company,

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview with you on Wednesday. I was quite excited for the interview (it’s a shoe company… hello) and even spent some time reviewing potential interview questions so that I would be quite prepared. Having shopped at your stores before, I was familiar with the “style” of your employees and even attempted to dress in a similar manner.

    As I rode the bus to the interview I was feeling quite positive. If there’s anyone who knows shoes–it’s me. I have nearly 5 years experience working in the industry and every job I’ve ever worked has required some level of customer service skills. And so, with my head held high and my heart racing in my chest I confidently entered the store (appropriately early), ready to dazzle your manager.

    I was disappointed to learn that she had stepped out for a moment and was impatiently told to wait by one of your employees. I quickly busied myself studying the current models, styles and colours currently in stock and imagined buying nearly every pair shoes in your store. I really do love shoes, you know. So, Snobby Shoe Company, I really didn’t mind waiting as I expected it to be no more than a 5 minute wait–as anything more might seem unprofessional, considering that your manager and I had a set appointment.

    When she arrived (5 minutes later… right on time) I smiled broadly and began to approach her, ready to begin the interview. Not only did she not apologize for her absence, she refused to even acknowledge my presence and busied herself with paperwork at the front desk.

    Perplexed, I thought that maybe she had tunnel vision and hadn’t seen me, (I like to give people the benefit of the doubt) so I re-approached her. Glancing my way, she said,

    Be with you in a minute.

    I smiled again, and again busied myself by looking at your shoes. Nearly 7 minutes later she beckoned me over to her and announced that it was time to “do this”. I was immediately perplexed as she indicated that I should follow her but instead of walking to the backroom (where interviews are typically done) she stalked out the door and sat on a bench in the middle of the mall.

    Now then, I’m not sure if this is your company’s policy, but is it typical to complete interviews in places that are constantly interrupted by distractions of people noisily passing by? Is this some sort of test to see how well your future employees can focus?

    Your manager then proceeded to tell me that a) she didn’t know my name; b) had not even read my resume; c) had no idea which position I was applying for.

    …really?

    Despite my utter abhorrence for this woman’s lack of organization I kept my composure and cheerfully gave her all the information she required. It was after this point that I became rather confused–does your company not provide managers with a standard set of interview questions and scenarios? And is it not standard for employers to ask a question then wait for a response before speaking again? Not only did your manager completely miss the boat in that regard, she seemed to follow a completely random pattern of questioning, at times answering her own questions before I could even answer them.

    At first I thought that maybe your manager was trying to help me out in some backhand sort of way. After all, if she is giving me the answers she was looking for, it makes my job easier, right?

    Apparently not.

    After telling me that she would like to set up a second interview for me with her boss, she began to express concern that I was “too quiet”. I’m sorry–it is my understanding that it’s polite to listen when someone is speaking to you and that interrupting her steady stream of garble might seem rude. Instead, I apologized for my “quietness” and explained that I really am quite energetic and bubbly in real life. She nodded and then began offering a few “suggestions” to prepare for my second interview.

    When I heard the word “suggestion” I was immediately open to the idea. Hey, if your company is willing to go out on a limb for a future employee, who am I to say no?

    …I should have said no.

    My hair was terrible. I needed to wear more make-up. I wasn’t wearing enough “bling”. (She actually used that word) I was dressed too conservatively. I didn’t seem quirky enough. I needed to be loud and bold. It was a steady stream of suggestions on how to become a completely new person in order to get this job.

    I understand that your store “image” is important… but really?

    Before I continue, let me clarify the outfit I chose to wear that day–nice grey dress pants, a long black, fun top with a long black beaded necklace. My hair was wavy, but tied up in a way that I have always been complimented on. I’m sorry that I forgot to put my hooker make up on before leaving the house, but I was wearing eye liner, mascara and lip gloss.

    The one redeeming feature of my outfit was my shoes. She loved my black, high heeled sandals. (I told you I knew shoes!)

    As I sat on the bench completely stunned she then asked me about my customer service skills. I could be wrong, but is that not the focus of a store? Making sure that your employees can, you know, SELL STUFF? I not only responded to each impromptu scenario perfectly, she begrudgingly admitted that I was the only person she had interviewed that week to answer her questions correctly.

    By this point I was so completely disillusioned with your company and this manager that it didn’t even register that she was offering me another “suggestion” for my impending second interview. Before I knew it she was not only telling me I needed another outfit for the next interview, she was telling me exactly what I should wear.

    Thanks, Mom. I started dressing myself in the second grade.

    At this point your manager had completely shattered my self-esteem and was ready to end the interview. As we parted, she excitedly told me she would arrange the next interview and wanted me to call her as soon as it was over because by this point we were obviously BFFs.

    I nodded, smiled, squared my shoulders and walked out the door.

    I made it all the way to the bus stop before I broke down into tears… thank goodness it was sunny and big sunglasses are still in style. It’s not every day that I’m told that who I am is not good enough. (My mom loves me!) Thank goodness I have a wonderful support system who immediately recognized that your manager was way out of line and that I’m okay just the way I am.

    And we think your company is pretty stupid anyway.

    So, Snobby Shoe Company, not only am I no longer interested in working for you, you’ve also lost my business as a customer as well.

    Suck on that.

    P.s. I’ve obviously left out the real name of the store because I am a nice person. However, if you’re dying to know, it’s wannabe high-end shoe company and you can guess in the comments. :)

    **Update: The store just called me back to offer me my second interview (Saturday – 3:30pm). I was supposed to hear from her supervisor by Thursday morning and have actually just been assuming that I wasn’t going to be offered another interview. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear an employee’s voice on the phone (expecting it to be the manager’s supervisor) and completely froze on the “I am appalled with the interview your manager conducted” speech I wanted to recite.

    Instead I politely said that I was no longer interested, and when she pressed me for why I got all flustered and said I wanted to find something closer to where I lived (partly true). I know, I know… I should have said something, but I am terrible with confrontations and I SO wasn’t expecting that call. It would have been easier with the supervisor.

    So, it’s all over now–except for the part that I still need a job. Hire me, please?

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