I was in a job interview and I opened a book and started reading. Then I said
to the guy, “Let me ask you a question. If you are in a spaceship that is
traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything
happen?” He said, “I don’t know.” I said, “I don’t want your job.”
— Steven Wright
I actually used to interview potential traders right out of college at one point and God almost all of them were awful, and I really felt for them, because when I came out of Northwestern I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do for a living. Well, I knew, I knew that I didn’t want to work hard. I’d get anxiety just going in to the job placement center.
I once went to the Northwestern job advisor for help. Older man. He says to me, “What’s your number one job criteria?”
I said, “Well, I really don’t want to have to wear a suit to work.”
He said, “That’s the worst answer I’ve ever heard!”
This was 1988 – fuckers! You dudes that get to dress casual – I was your Malcolm X!
Anyway, I was an economics major, I had straight A’s. I’d have these interviews and ace them until the guy would inevitable say, “Wow, you’re really bright, but I’m having a hard time getting the impression that you really want to be an investment banker and that you would be willing to work 80 hours a week at it. In fact, when you had lunch with our recent hires, you didn’t ask them anything about the business, you talked about how you hated the Grateful Dead, although you did it eloquently. Why do you want to work for us?”
And I’d groan and basically say, “Uh … hmm don’t wanna be homeless … uh your right … can you guys validate my parking.”
So I felt for the poor saps I was interviewing. Tip one, even if you’re dead broke and are interviewing to clean up road sewage. You better act like you love yourself some road sewage! Hell, I wouldn’t want to hire a guy that loves road sewage, but whoever is interviewing you wants to hear you say it.
Anyway, the worst interview I ever had was the following and he would not give me an opinion on anything to save his life. This dude acted like if he had an opinion baby seals would die. Let’s call him Bland!
Me: So Bland, let’s just get to know each other first. Do you have any hobbies?
Bland: I guess so.
Me: What are some of them?
Bland: I like to do this and that. I like just about everything.
Me: Hmm, do you like music?
Bland: Yeah, I guess so.
Me: What kind of music do you like?
Bland: I like it all I suppose, whatever is around.
Me: Heh, ok well tell me an album that you own.
Bland: I don’t really own any albums.
Me: Not even one?
Me: Well, what is a song or a group that you like.
Bland: Whatever my roommates have that I can borrow.
Me: Uhhhh, ok well, what’s an album that you have borrowed.
Bland: I don’t really remember. Whatever was around.
I want to kill myself. This guy is more slippery than someone being indicted.
This goes on for at least 20 minutes. I don’t think I ever actually asked him a job related question, I just wanted him to commit to something.
Like any TV shows? Whatever is on. Favorite sports? Whatever is on, whatever anyone else is playing.
At this point, I’m thinking about giving him a second interview just so my boss, who I’m friendly with can go through this excruciating experience. It’d be a huge waste of his valuable time, but an incredible prank. Theoretically, if my boss would have pulled the same prank, they could have flown him to Chicago for his final interview. He’d be thinking, this non-committal thing is genius! I know nothing about options or the stock market and I’m being put up in a hotel, and am one interview away from a high paying gig. In fact, they haven’t even asked me about my grades or my math ability yet.
I didn’t give him a second interview, and oddly enough he is now the Lieutenant Governer of California. Politicians.
No, actually they make you take classes to qualify to interview someone so you don’t ask Lou Grant type questions and get sued. If it hadn’t been for that, my final quesion would have been:
Mother Theresa and Adolf Hitler are on a sinking ship and you only have room in the life boat to save one person. Who do you save? Honestly I felt bad for this kid, but if it weren’t for the legal system I think I would have had to call in the CTU torture guy with the suitcase.
“Tell me your favorite romantic comedy or I cut off a finger!”