Thursday, February 28, 2008

Job Interview Disaster Stories (because I like to revel in past failures)

I present to you, two stories about past job interviews. These are almost too embarrassing to share, seriously. They’re not embarrassing in the stain-on-shirt or fly-unzipped kind of way, no they are embarrassing in the are-we-sure-she’s-not-“special”? kind of way.

I interviewed a prestigious real estate law firm during law school. I was interviewing for a position as a summer clerk. This would have given me oodles of experience and would have paid nicely. I made it through the first round of interviews with shining colors. Seriously, they were about to hire me on the spot. But then I made a fatal error. I sent a thank-you note.

“But this is normal protocol!” you say. Yes, but it’s detrimental to actually getting the job when you FORGET TO SIGN THE NOTE. But wait, it gets worse . . .

I went to the second interview and the first thing they did was present me with the damn unsigned note and ask me to explain it. Fuckers. Suffice it to say, I left without an offer, but not without determination to PROVE to them that I wasn’t that flighty.

Unfortunately, in my thank-you note for the second interview, and plea for forgiveness I may have made a serious typo, the likes of which are just too embarrassing to reveal at this time. I spent that summer working at a personal injury firm.

Also in law school, I interviewed for the position of Assistant DA for Waukesha County (just outside of Milwaukee). This time I also got through the first interview with flying colors, because really and truly I am awesome. Awesome at botching every chance I get for a job (except for the one I currently have THANK GOD).

So the second interview comes around, with the actual DA of Waukesha County. Like the Jack McCoy of Milwaukee; the guy who went after Mark Chemura of Packer’s fame, and helped prosecute a famous serial killer. There were only 3 of us vying for the one spot and the final question he asked me was as follows:

(oh dear, I almost can’t bare to write this)

Jack McCoy – “what would you do if you were on your way to trial and the cop who arrested the defendant runs up to you and tells you that he lied?”

Me – “go through with the trial.”

Jack McCoy – “I think we’re done here.”

In my defense, he posed the question in an incredibly confusing way, not nearly as succinct as I recounted it AND do you know how intimidating a DA is? Incredibly. If the dude had asked me my birthday I probably wouldn’t have answered correctly.

Still, I died a thousand deaths in that instant.

All in all, it’s a good thing I didn’t land any of those jobs, but holy shit, that was a poor display of employability.


The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Dude, really kind of rude on their part for pointing out the fact that you didn't sign the note. Why wants to work for passive-aggressive people like that anyway?

Tessie said...

Wait, what is the right answer to that lawyer quiz? This shit is stressy.

At first I thought you were saying they were mad because you didn't SIGN the note, and I was like WHAT DICKS. But then, the egregious typo. Bah. I made an Egregious Typo on an important college application essay, and that shit haunts me to this day.

Flibberty said...

Dutchess, I KNOW right!

Tessie, they were made I didn't sign the note because what kind of a lawyer doesn't sign shit! A lazy one, that's who!

Flibberty said...

And . . . a NORMAL law-type person immediately recognize that a cop lying means your case is bunk and it would be highly unethical to go forth with false accusations, but I WAS CONFUSED!

(you'll be happy to know, I haven't had to set foot in a court room for 3 years)

LoriD said...

I can't believe they called you out on the note. As an aside, do you know how many resumes I get for middle-management type jobs where they don't even sign the cover letter? These aren't electronic resumes, but actual, paper, sent-in-the-mail documents.

And way to end the interview with, "I think we're done here." That's harsh. Damn that Jack McCoy.

Alice said...

even if you should have signed the note, GEEZ that was pissy of them to throw it in your face. sheesh.

i'm shocked to say (given my past history of being an idiot) that i don't think i've screwed over any job interview too badly. and that even counts the one that was IN FRENCH, which i did not know before showing up. that was a bit of a surprise.

Jess said...

Oh NO. How nasty of them to call you out on that note! You should have told them you didn't sign the note because you won't sign anything without a lawyer present. Oh wait. Damn.

God I'm glad I don't have to interview for scary jobs like that! The nonprofit world is much kinder.

Noelle said...

Man, one of the best reasons to stay with a bad job is just so you don't have to ever interview again.

Artemisia said...

Oh, geez! How rude to point out to someone that they forgot to sign a note! I mean, really!

Also - I just love that you said to go through with the trial. LOVE. I would have done the same.

Or cried. Actually, I would have cried from being so damn confused.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Oh man, hilarious and painful. I've never done anything supremely embarrassing in an interview, but I have been so completely disinterested in jobs that I've had to fight the urge to yell "BORING!" in my interviewers face.

claire said...

Oh yeah. I've been there. Not for a lawyer position or anything but, yeah..
I interviewed for a $$$ position at the corporate office of a large book store. The HR lady asked me why i wanted to leave my last job and i actually told her it was because my new boss made me feel uncomfortable and i knew that he had a "reputation". It was akin to a therapy session. Because that's the kind of thing you want to talk about in an interview... They never called me back. I was humiliated.

Banana said...

Oh, job interviews. Sometimes I am the best interview-ee and sometimes I suck ass. During one of my last interviews, my interviewer asked if I'd ever done any copy writing and I quickly replied no. While I was holding a portfolio of my COPY WRITING work. I have NO idea why I said no, none. And once its out there you can't take it back. But I'm glad I didn't get the job, because a better one came up shortly after. But still. Who does that?

desperate housewife said...

Shiver. Makes me more determined to wait until my youngest is in kindergarten before I venture back out there... I've only interviewed at places like coffeehouses and bookstores thus far, and that's bad enough. It's not the sort of thing that will HAUNT you if you screw it up badly.

Lara said...

HA! You are awesome. I can't believe they showed you the note and asked you to fucking explain it. UGH.

If it makes you feel any better, I have two similar stories.
(1) I interviewed with an insurance defense firm when I was in law school. The partner dude who had flown me out there for the interview sat me down and said the following, "SO. I'm going to give you a scenario, and I want you to tell me how you feel about it." Uhh, okay. "The firm represents an elevator company. Let's say, hypothetically, that an elevator's door-opening sensors are faulty, and that as a result a young boy's arm is caught in the door. The doors do not open, and the elevator moves anyway, which causes the loss of the young boy's limb. It turns out that the elevator company knew of the defect, but had not repaired it. How would you feel about representing the elevator company?"

To which I replied: "Ummm....I do not think I would enjoy this, and perhaps this job is not for me."


On another occasion, I sent a resume out with a cover letter in which I asserted that I was extremely detail-oriented...and then addressed the letter to the WRONG PERSON.

JMC said...

I never accidentally screwed up an interview, but once I was interviewing for a position (at a law firm, coincidentally) as a database programmer. The more they explained the things they wanted me to do, the more it became clear that they didn't want a database programmer so much as a secretary to come in and get them organized. So I went into over-the-top-new-mama-life-revolves-around-child-job-means-nothing mode. Worked like a charm, and I was out of there five minutes later. :)

JMC said...

The end of that long dashy thing should say -job-means-nothing mode. Cut me off, damn Google. Can't they figure out that a dash can go to the next line?

Marie Green said...

Sorry, I can't get past the typo that was too embarrasing to post.

Come on, tell us, please? =)

(I once made an idiot of myself at an interview, over the question "And what are your weaknesses?" I KNEW they ask that question, and I was prepared, but when they asked it I went BLANK. And they let me sit there and stumble and stumble- I couldn't think of a SINGLE THING from my rehersal of that STUPID question.)

(And I "once" b/c I've had very few job interviews.)

Frederic Coia said...

Ouch! But they don't have to act that way about you forgetting to sign the note, as it it just a basic mistake. It's pretty much a relief to land it, since you get to go to a much better place.

Anonymous said...

Damn what a bitch you are