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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41 Comments

  • Date Girl

    She sounds awful! She also sounds incredibly immature. I’ve had that happen on interviews too-especially at the mall. What is it about only hiring bitchy girls who look like tramps to be managers? They get all drunk with power and couldn’t sell a drink to a guy stranded in the desert! I’m sure they’ll call you back and offer you a job, and I hope you tell them to suck it and make a formal complaint about that manager!

  • Amber

    Ugh! That sounds TERRIBLE! Obviously you’d never want to work for someone like that anyways!!

    I have NO idea where it could be. Payless?? Hahaha

  • Amber

    OH, and I agree with what dategirl said about filing a formal complaint against that manager. You totally should. At the very least you might be able to get some discount coupons or something out of it!!?

  • Stephatalittlebirdieweds

    Ooohh tell me tell me! I HATE stores like that. They really do lose my business and I wish more people would approach it the same way instead of continuing to shop there. I’m sorry you had such a shit time.

  • Jennee

    I hate when interviews go like that. It’s amazing how much of our self esteem goes with a job…since I feel like a loser still working at a coffee shop instead of doing something “important..” lol.

    Is it Nordstrom?

  • Erin

    Wow. What a horrendous interview. I cannot believe the way that some people act. If you still really feel like saying something about it, which you should, writing a letter is always a good way to go. That way you can speak your piece without actually having to worry about getting all flustered.

  • Camile

    Wow! What a horrible experience! Good for you for believing in yourself!

    I was looking through the comments, how have you never been to DSW??!! Shoe HEAVEN! And if you join the club, you get tons of coupons and reward dollars in the mail. I have never paid over like $40 for a pair of designer shoes there.

    Is it Aldo?? I know someone already guessed it, but there was no response! Come leave me a comment and let me know if you don’t want it to be posted here ;)

  • Gingermandy

    wow. what a bitch. you could even write a letter in to the company stating the rude and judgmental vibe she put off during an interview. And then publish it on here along with their response. haha.

    also, i would have named the company just so my readers would protest their product too. :) the more the merrier!

  • Bell_pepper

    Sorry to hear that you interview went so badly, I really hope you do send that letter and open their eyes a little. Take solace in knowing that you would be absolutely wasted on them.

    Good luck with the jobhunting, I know it’s hard! :(

    – Pepper. x

  • curiousillusion

    You may work for me. You may dress me fashionably, help me learn to wear fabulous shoes and I will pay you… nothing, cuz I can’t afford it. :p

    Or you can just be my TA, cuz I’m worried about not having one?

    ANYWAY… that sucks, I’m so sorry that woman was so horrible to you. So unprofessional. I was going to say that maybe you should’ve gone for the 2nd interview anyway but if you would have had to deal with that woman on a regular basis, it’s definitely worth it.

    Best of luck finding a job!

  • Ashley

    I think you handled the situation correctly. Sure, it would be nice to have a job but if the manager is like that you’ll be miserable. It sounds like they feel they are working for a high end magazine (yes this reminds me of The Devil Wears Prada) rather than some wanna-be shoe store. If I had a company I would gladly hire you, but since I do not (and will soon be unemployed myself) I’m sorry I can’t help you.

  • Alexbettylou

    You should write a letter to the interviewer’s manager! you might even get apology shoe vouchers out if it ;) Sounds like it would have been HELL working with a manager like that anyway so you’ve had a lucky escape. I once worked in a shoe shop for about 6 weeks, maybe 2 months and left due to my manager’s appalling attitude towards me. I’ll be blogging about that soon, you may be interested to hear it! There’s something about shoe-shop managers that turns them into total ***holes… Excuse my French…

  • Jen

    Holy crap. It sort of sounds like Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead, except the receptionist was your interviewer, not the boss-lady on the movie.

    I’ve had a few interviews like that. When you’re trying your best not to look awkward and nervous, that’s the point in time they tell you, basically, how much you failed! lol….I hope you find a better job…one where you’re appreciated ;) I’m sure if you’d have worked there, that lady would stomp all over you and ground your self-esteem in the dirt with her uppity shoes!

  • Kyla

    Yea, that sounds like my experience interviewing for jobs up until now too!! I hope you find something perfect soon. Are you finding it difficult to get interviews? I applied at a bunch of cool little shops and they all seem to insulate their owners from ever meeting anyone who wants to work there! How frustrating!!

  • Meg

    I’m not sure which is worse: the behavior of the manager or the fact that you might have ended up with a manager who wants to be all the most annoying parts of a mother. Eek. I’m pretty sure I would have cried much sooner in all of that then you did. Good luck on the job hunt!

  • Spart

    Dearest ShopGirl,

    As your favourite older sister, I feel it prudent to inform you that I too shall boycott said shoe store, whenever you tell me what shoe store it is. My boycott of that bookstore chain has been going strong for 5 years now. I’m a good boycotter. Unfortunately I don’t know how much they’ll feel it, as I generally just wear hand-me-down shoes from you or Peeah haha

    Sorry she was such a cow. I can shank her if you want. Say the word.

    Love Spart

  • Jamie

    Absolutely write a letter, send an email, make phone calls to let someone at their corporate office know about this behavior. This is appalling!

  • Lisa

    You handled that really well.. I would have probably cried right in front of them! Good for you for turning down the second interview– you are way better than that and they sound like a horrible company to work for. Wishing you good luck and hoping that a new job opp comes along! :)

  • Jewels Diva

    Wow, that was rough.

    Personally, I would have told them over the phone. That way, it’s not a confrontation, and you’re providing them with feedback on their own staff.

    Or better yet, you could write them a detailed letter, informing them of their lack of interviewing skills.

    You don’t have to be mean or nasty, just firm and factual. That way, you don’t have to talk to anyone, or have them peer at you trying to make you squirm.

  • Justputtingitoutthere

    my gosh!! thats crazy!!
    you should write to the head office saying that the staff look like hookers and you do not feel it is appropriate for people to dress in that manner in a workplace- just for fun :)

    the worst interview i had the guy got me to sit behind his desk, book plane flights for him and then never called me back. This was my first ever interview, boy was i confused!!

  • Shop Girl*

    The crazy thing was I think she actually thought she was being helpful… even though she came across that way, I’m not sure she “meant” to be condescending, if that makes sense. It was just SO bizarre.

  • Shop Girl*

    I know… at this point I’d really take ANY job, but after blowing $45 000 to get my degree it hurts to head back into retail (there are no jobs in my field at the moment… *sigh*)

    And no, it wasn’t Nordstrom! I’ve only been in that store a handful of times I think.

  • Shop Girl*

    It was everything I could do to keep calm and smile during the interview… I just told myself over and over that she wasn’t worth being upset over. It lasted until the bus stop. haha! And thank you, I hope that job opp comes along too. :)

  • Shop Girl*

    I am finding it immensely difficult to find interviews… but I’m hoping that as students head back to school in the next two weeks that things might open up a bit. I have my fingers crossed! I hope you have some luck finding something lovely–but at least you are starting school in a few weeks! I’m SO excited for you!!!

  • Shop Girl*

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that movie! I’ll definitely have to look it up… this woman was seriously scary. haha

    Thanks, I hope I find something awesome too. :)

  • Shop Girl*

    Wow… I’m so sorry that you had such an awful experience! I worked for two different “shoe managers” and they were both fabulous. Seriously…. it was SUCH an amazing experience that I was excited to get back into the industry.

    Apparently I was just reeeeeeally lucky that I had not one, but TWO great managers. I guess you can’t win ’em all! I’ll be watching for that blog post!

  • Shop Girl*

    Hahaha thank you for the job offer, I’d love to come be your stylist / TA!

    For a minute I also considered going to the interview… but if this woman was so pushy about the company’s image, then I was worried that HER boss might be even more of a nightmare. Also, as I knew there was absolutely no way I’d take the job… what was the point? haha

  • Shop Girl*

    I really did think about writing a letter… and I may at some point. We’ll see. I’m really just glad it’s over and done with to be honest!

    And I came SO close to naming the company, or at least making it blatantly obvious who it was, but I decided to be the bigger person and let it lie. Meh. haha

  • guest

    I had a very similar thing happen at a shoe company I arrived at the interview to be ignored by all staff as where all the customers. 3 people behind tills when I was finally approached by an employee she went and told one of the people behind the counter who just looked me up and down and told the employee to tell me to wait. When this lady finally came over to me she said that it was such a busy day she had no time for an interview….I asked her if she would like me to come back and she said no it will never be a good time….she then took me into the mall and walked over to a garbage can and stood there asking me one question then started talking about the extreme high sales expectations (trying to scare me away) then it was over….I did write to the company and received a very nice letter back saying that a district manager would be contacting me(as the lady interviewing me was only a full time employee)…anyway no one called me too bad so sad.
    What we all have to remember is that it is not the company but the person that is the problem in most cases….if we do not let the company know we can not be under the impression that it is the company. In my case the company did nothing so I have to believe that is what the company wants. In case of Shop Girl if it is ALDO I speak from very good experience that this is not the Way Aldo runs his company. I worked for one of his companies GLOBO and he proved he did care.
    The company I was interviewed at did not! But without letting them know what happened I could not make that assumption.

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