I went to another job interview yesterday. It was downtown Nashville in the once trendy Cummins Station building. I've had a few consulting clients there over the years. The company interviewing me shall remain nameless. Coincidentally, a few hours before the interview I received a “checking in” sort of call from a job recruiter who shall also remain nameless. She asked how things were going. “Are you still in the job market?” The usual.
I said, “Yes I am still looking. In fact I have an interview later today.”
“Ooh,” she hissed.
“Well, I don't want to be negative” — God forbid a job recruiter should ever be negative — “but, a couple of people from there have recently come to me, looking for something new.” She then added a few juicy details: the CEO had recently lopped great chunks off everyone's salary without warning and had suspended everyone's health benefits, again, without warning. Scumbag. He'll probably win someone's CEO of the Year award.
Anyway, I arrived for the interview with just a few minutes to spare because of heavy traffic. I descended the stairs down into the bowels of the building, looking for their suite number. I used to take karate down there a dozen years ago, so I started wondering if these guys occupied my old dojo's space. Finding the suite, I rang the bell. It was a secure door. Can't let the riff-raff in, you know. The receptionist/office manager greeted me with a “professional,” uncaring look in her eyes. She might have been very attractive, but I've always been more personality-oriented. Not that it matters since I am happily married. 🙂
She soon warmed up, however, once back in her comfort zone which apparently does not extend much beyond her desk. I sat across from her, staring at the walls, literally. There were a lot of paintings, photos, posters and such. She offered some “old magazines” for me to peruse. I declined and tried to imagine the space as the old dojo, if it was in fact the same space. The CEO then emerged with the job candidate, a sharply dressed young black man, who had been scheduled ahead of me. I hate when they do that: let the candidates see each other. To me, it's just crass. I mean, what are we, a bunch of illegals standing on the street corner waiting for the ranchers to let us pile into their pickup trucks? It might come to that. Maybe I shouldn't complain.
The CEO gave me a slimy smile and shook my hand. I'll never know, but that might have been the crucial moment in our short-lived acquaintance. We didn't instantly dislike each other. It was more like we instantly didn't care one way or the other about each other. Either way, not a good first impression. Of course, I might have been poisoned against him by that recruiter's phone call. Either way, the guy was most definitely slimy. He explained that I would be meeting with “so-and-so” first, but they were interviewing someone else at the moment. He didn't even pretend they were doing anything other than running all the candidates they could that day through the doors as fast as they could.
When my turn finally came, I was taken into some sort of storage room. My interviewer apologized for the room, but really? Interviewing candidates in a storage room? I was told they were hiring two people and they wanted to “move quickly.” I couldn't help but ask “What happened? Did a couple of people up and leave on you?” I was hoping to get him to reveal too much, but it didn't work. He merely repeated what he'd just said, “We're just trying to fill these two positions.” Strike two, Bill. Great interviewing skills you have there! 🙂 He went on to ask me about my experience with several technologies they worked with, blah blah, but the whole “interview” only lasted about five minutes.
When he brought me back out to meet “the boss,” yet another applicant — a small, balding white man — was just leaving. It was a lot like a casting call. I think. I've seen them on t.v. 🙂 Anyway, the boss said something like, “Let me give you the nickel tour!” which lasted about two minutes, after which he said, “We'll let you know tomorrow what we decide.” He didn't ask me any questions at all. He was just telling me how “wonderful” his business was. I guess he was simply trying to get a feel for me while letting the other guy worry about things like my qualification for the job? The receptionist validated my parking stub. I left and wandered the halls a bit, looking for where my old dojo used to be. I think this company did occupy the old dojo space, and then some, but their entryway was not the old dojo's entryway.
The next morning, the receptionist emailed me saying that, while my “skills were very impressive, the position has been fulfilled [sic] by another candidate who was a better fit,” or some such b.s. That was quick. They called me on Monday, scheduled the interview for Tuesday, interviewed everyone five minutes each and, based on that, hired someone by Tuesday night? My wife and the recruiter both said that not getting the job was a blessing in disguise. Hey, at least it gave me something to write about. 🙂