Editor’s note: Writer and marketing professional Mary Katherine Rossi contributes this tale of job search and phone interview woe. Sound familiar? Probably because we’ve all been here before. If you have a tale, let us know too—we’ll be happy to be your outlet for catharsis.
It’s like I’m on my umpteenth blind date. I’ve gone through the rigmarole before, but maybe this will be the one. I try not to, but I talk loudly around him and I cough to muffle awkward pauses. Even so, I tell myself I’ve got what he’s looking for. But ultimately, he just isn’t that into me. The difference is that my date is a job recruiter and we’re not out to dinner. It’s time for a phone interview.
I’m about to talk to Doug, a recruiter on the west coast who contacted me on LinkedIn to discuss an entry-level communications job in my town. I’m overqualified for the position, but with the state of things…well, you know. Can’t be overly picky. Plus he showed interest first. Has to be a good sign.
He suggests an 8pm EST call. Seems late, but I agree. The day of the interview I entirely mismanage my time and end up answering the call in my car while parked in a grocery store parking lot. I’m freezing, have no notes in front of me (the ultimate plus, if any, of a phone interview), and worry that a car alarm will randomly go off during the call.
The phone rings. I answer the call with a polite yet personable “Hello?”
The response: gurblegurblegurble. I hear nothing but static.
“I’m sorry?” I ask courteously.
The second time he’s perfectly clear. “It’s Doug? We have a phone interview scheduled?” I’ve said three words and he’s already annoyed. I have to turn this rocky start around and wow him with the goods I’ve got for this job.
He starts asking the usual questions. I structure each response to show my range of previous work and capabilities. I’m no bigwig, but I’ve been in the field for a couple of years. I think I’m a pretty great catch.
His responses went from “Uh huh,” to “Yep, okay,” to “Oh, well that’s interesting.”
His obvious lack of interest in my answers weaves in between mocking the area of the country I live in, which is also where the job is located. I get it, I live in the Northeast, it does indeed snow here and yes, it gets quite cold. Oh, well that’s nice your pool is still open. Let’s focus on what I can say to impress you.
Now I scrounge my brain to recall the questions I had prepared earlier. I manage to remember to ask about job responsibilities, the company culture, ideal qualities for someone in this position, how long he has recruited for this company and the like. Every answer is just a few words. A few times I ask him to elaborate. I get a few more, but never a complete sentence.
After thanking him for answering all of my questions, Doug responds abruptly. “Well, we don’t have too much to talk about since you don’t really have any experience, but I’ll let you know my decision after I make my recommendations to the company for the best candidates. Good night!” Click.
I thought the connection bottomed out again (has it been screwed up this whole time?) or that I’d just heard incorrectly. My professional life was just insulted by a man who pretty much hung up on me, but not before claiming I had no experience for a job that required minimal to no experience.
I don’t think I even have to mention that I didn’t get this job, let alone a second interview. I give Doug credit that he at least told me in an email that things weren’t going to work out, although I wouldn’t have been left hanging without it. But still, was it me or was it him? Or was Doug just too preoccupied thinking about his hot date that night to conduct a proper phone interview with me?
Mary Katherine Rossi is a writing and marketing communications professional who resides in upstate New York. Her first full-time job in marketing eventually landed her in the unemployment line in early 2010, and she currently job searches via every resource possible. Aside from seeking a permanent return to the working world, she writes, maintains a personal blog at www.the8count.wordpress.com and actively participates in her local arts and culture community.