As you know, I love to eavesdrop. Sorry innocent bystanders. I just can't contain my curiosity. I confess to being noisy - figuratively and literally.
In the past two days I've had the odd experience of "overhearing" four different women interview for jobs. Yesterday two woman came to interview, one right after each other. The interviewers were two men, one of which did all the talking while the other barely uttered a word after introducing himself - first name only. The second day it was again two women interviewing back to back with another pair of interviewers, this time a male and female. The female seemed to dominate the questioning. You go girl.
Watching these women endure their interviews was like watching pure agony. Who came up with this horrendous process for determining job success? When you really think about the whole ordeal it is ridiculous.
To start off with everyone is on their best behavior. Lets call it first date mentality. No one shows their true colors. Everyone is putting their best foot and hair-do forward. They iron the wrinkles out of their clothes to a starched perfection. Makeup is applied with extra precision. The ladies have an hour internal debate while getting dressed over what to wear. If you want to stand out you have to look the part, right? At least until the person gets the job. Then the deed is done and the guard is down. Getting the job is like marriage. Once you've signed on the dotted line their is no turning back - at least no easy way to turn back.
Beyond appearance the silly rituals continue. "What are your greatest strengths?".... "Describe a situation where you showed excellent leadership qualities?".... "What makes you so well suited for this position?"... Aka: toot your own horn.
But my favorite question is: "Why do you want this position?" Oh, if only the interviewee could be honest in this moment, then they could say, "Because I want to pay my rent and keep the heat on." But no one is that honest. So instead they give some lame excuse about how they love people and believe that this job would give them the opportunity to better the human race by their interaction with the community, blah, blah, blah. This is the questioning round of the Miss. America Pageant. And you better want world peace.
There should be interview answer flashcards. Prior to an interview the candidate could study up on the best ways to answer these inane questions. If no one has come up with this then they should. They would be a hit. Especially in this economy. Everyone wants a job - or so they say.
But isn't there a better way to get a job? This silly process of dressing up, answering questions like a robot, and shaking hands saying, "I look forward to hearing from you" doesn't really get to the heart of anything other than who googled "good interview responses" an hour ago.
I'd like to hear the interview where the candidate tells it like it is. The interviewer would ask: "What experience do you have that would help you in this position?" And the candidate will answer, "Well, my experience is lacking. But I work hard and I'm up for learning."
How would that go over? I can just see it now. "Next!"
And how about this one: "What experience do you have with our company?"
I can see the blank stares from the other side of the table. "Don't call us, we'll call you."
All of this interviewing business is really just a game the job seeker must play.
Thank God I'm not looking for a job.