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illini

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In keeping with the trend of completely off-topic threads that require you to divulge potentially embarrassing information about yourself...tell us your funny, embarrassing, or just plain interesting stories about you or someone you know interviewing or starting a new job.

I'll start with a few:

A couple years ago I was interviewing a shiny new Ph.D. at the DoD research lab I worked at then. The guy was a bit geeky, but he pretty much lost the job when I was grilling him and he interrupted me to complain about my screen saver. STRIKE ONE! Then I was talking to him about the types of problems I'm trying to solve and he asked me what the objective was. Knowing that I didn't want this guy working here, I used my standard line guaranteed to scare off just about any shiny new Ph.D.: "Why, to find new and better ways to kill the enemies of the United States, of course." He turned white. Interview over.

Waaaay back in '91 I was a shiny new Ph.D. looking for my first job. A solid rocket manufacturer out west had heard about some work I had done in grad school and asked me to interview with them. A major part of the interview was that they wanted me to give a 1 hour seminar on my thesis research. No sweat. I did my seminar feeling like I was hitting a grand slam although the attendees were a little quiet. At the end of my talk I asked if there were any questions. Stone silence. Everyone's looking a bit uncomfortable. I'm about to soil my slightly shiny new suit. Finally one guy asked, "What did you do for your master's research?" I gave him a five minute answer and he practically shouts, "That's it!!!" Everyone started breathing again and everyone was smiling. Turns out the five minute answer was all they cared about. Got the job.

A friend of mine was looking for a new job about a year ago, so I recommended him to my employer. Now interviewing at my company is about as relaxed as you're going to find it. My interview, for example, was over lunch at the Silver Diner. My friend shows up and sits on one side of the table, my employers are on the other side, I'm kind of in the middle as both employee and his advocate. Employer starts asking questions. No response. He rewords his questions in case he didn't understand. No response. I try to soften things up by giving a partial answer on his behalf, expecting him to take over. No response. Thirty minutes of silence from my friend. I'm sweating, having put my reputation on the line to get this guy the interview. He leaves and my employers and I agree that this was the worst interview we'd ever seen in our lives. Later I asked my friend what happened. He said he didn't appreciate being asked questions. He felt his resume was sufficient to speak for him!! Folks, #1 interviewing tip: answer the stinkin' questions!!!!
 

wwattles

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Gee, if this thread isn't right up my alley, having just completed a 4-month, 29-company Campaign For Employment!

I was interviewing with a mortgage banking company, and having covered the "professional" qualifications (I had very few, coming from the Navy), one of the interviewers asked (from a list of prepared questions on a form), "So tell me about your hobbies."

"Well, I hope you don't think I'm nuts, but I like to build and fly rockets. Not the big ones that go up into outer space, mind you, but little ones that go up a couple thousand feet."

Interviewer smiled and looked at her partner. He had kind of a glazed over look, so she said, "I know exactly what you mean. My brother and I used to launch those as kids. In fact, he's still into that, and is part of one of the teams working on the X-Prize."

Rocketry didn't get me that job, but it got me a second interview!

And it didn't hurt that at the job I just got, I was able to visually identify all of the rocket systems posters along the executive hallway walls, showing the different missions that this company's components flew with...

WW

PS: I'm thinking I may use some of those cutaway drawings to start building some scale Delta-series rockets... good to work with real professionals around here!
 

dr wogz

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I remember workign at one place. An engineer (signal electronics) was hired, and it soon became apparent tht he did lie,a nd lie very well on the CV, and int eh interviews. It then became policy to issue tests to potintial candidates. (Nothing wrong with that, in fact, I encourage it!)

But some of teh established engineers got a hold of teh test, and passed it around. The 50 or so engineers that worked there, most of them cringed at teh complexity of some of teh questions. Some feared they too, would have to 'pass teh test'. Only to discover (fearfully) that they too, wouldn't make teh cut!

It was written by a few of the senior senior execs in teh Eng department!
 

graylensman

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In my campaign in '96 to find gainful employment before the layoff severance package ran out...

Got called to interview with a refrigeration manufacturer looking for an in-house graphic designer. The department head, Bruce, was one of those types (I came to understand later) who is physically imposing, asks hard-nosed questions, and if you can stand up to this, you gain his respect.

Well, I went in feeling like I had nothing to lose, so I gave confident if rather breezy answers to the questions. When Bruce very seriously asked -arms folded, stern expression- "Tell me why I should hire you?" I responded "Because I have a gun in my pocket and I'm not afraid to use it!"

Completely broke him and his partner up. A few days later when I went back to deliver a thank-you-for-your-time letter I was told I got the job. Been here for seven years and it is so far the best job I've had. :D
 

MissileDaughter

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Just last month, I was comming home from college. I got lost (I take classes off campus. One of the requirements to get credit for English 101 is to do a library orientation) when my friend (I'll call her Mandy) called. I answered my cell phone (I had the ear piece in) and I said, "Mandy, I cannot talk right now. I am lost." Well, she knew where I was, so she gave me directions. Anyway, her manager was looking to hire some people. Mandy asked me if I would be interested. I said that I would. She told me that her manager wanted to interview me later on that week. So, the interview day comes. I take a half hour to get ready. I put on make up (which I absolutely hate) and all that jazz. I drove to the place and I told the manager that I was there for the interview. If you could have seen the look on that woman's face! It was a priceless expression of shock! She said, "I forgot that I had to interview you today!" She looks at her calender. "Can we do it sometime next week?" I said sure.
To make a long story short, I dressed up again and went to the interview. She took one look at my application (very basic info) and said that she would call me within the next two weeks. Nonetheless, I have not heard from her since. I just wish I had a camera with me that first time I met her!

What is more ironic about this post is that I have an interview at Target tomorrow! Go figure! I hope I get the job. I need it.
 

stevem

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When I was fresh out of high school in 1977 I went to get a job at a local manufacturing plant that made agricultural equipment, grain wagons and such. I was interviewed for a positon running a 50 ton punch press (for those of you not familiar with these machines suffice it to say that back then it was not uncommon for people to lose fingers, even hands in these monsters).

At that time I was playing guitar in a local bar band and still had pipe dreams of being a rock star. When the interviewer started talking about safety and the risks of losing fingers (or worse) I got a little quesy. They hired me on the spot and had me go out in the hallway to wait for the next step in the hiring process. As I sat there I really started sweating about the job - all I could think of was how am I going to play guitar if I lose a finger.

I got so worked up I just wanted to bolt for the door but the receptionist was sitting there and I didn't want her to see me leave. Finally I couldn't sit anymore and I HAD to get OUT! I got on my hands and knees and crawled past the receptionist desk on the floor so she couldn't se me. When I hit the front door I was on a full run - never went back.

Went and got a job at the local Pizza Hut.
 

hokkyokusei

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Two instances come to mind.

In the first instance I went through the entire interview, and everything was OK, until right at the end when the asked me what I could tell them about RC aircraft. So I replied "nothing", and after a bit of propting form them it bacame apparent that I really didn't know anything. The panel looked a bit puzzled and eventually one of them asked why I had put it on my CV as a hobby, to which I replied "I haven't", so they showed me the CV, and it wasn't mine! They were interviewing the wrong guy! Still got the job though.

In the second instance, I lied a little about my experience on my CV in order to get an interview for a job I really wanted, figuring I could wing it at the interview, and pick up the job up as I went along. In the end they didn't ask me much about that particular topic. You see, they knew I didn't know about the stuff in question, they didn't want me for that anyway. They wanted me for something they knew I had done but didn't want to do anymore, and had lied about the job in order to get me to the interview. So I got the job, but needless to say it didn't work out!

These days I do the interviewing ;)
 

jflis

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The first time I got laid off from DEC (Digital Equipment Corp) I worked in a custom design group (data communications equipment). I got tapped and was informed that I had 10 days that I could use to find other employment within the company.

at the other end of our building was a new call center opening up and they needed technical lead engineers for large system configurations. I went over and talked to some folks and they were interested enough to schedule an interview. I was walking through the group one day when one of the supervisors saw me and said "Jim, can you be available in 20 minutes to interview with the VP?" I said "sure!" and took down the information. Now I was dressed in blue-jeans and a t-shirt so I figured I had better clean up. I only live 2 minutes away from this building so I went home, shaved, changed and showed up in my best suit.

Before we got started, the supervisor interupted our interview to ask if I was super-man and what phone booth I used.... It broke the ice and I had offers for 2 different jobs there by afternoons end. I worked with them for 6 years before being tapped again (3 years ago this past monday)...
 

rstaff3

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Originally posted by illini
... He said he didn't appreciate being asked questions. He felt his resume was sufficient to speak for him!! Folks, #1 interviewing tip: answer the stinkin' questions!!!!
I was in the position of interviewing PhD astronomers for a position that was about 75% software/comp sci. I had many that that didn't think that a PhD scientist should be interviewd by a lowly engineering type. And one really had a problem when I divulged I only had a masters. They would have been right if the main focus was astronomy vs. computers...and whether these people could deal with the rest of the world.

My oddest interview was with what was then Ford Aerospace near JSC. I drove down for my first interview and thought things went well...and they had positions. A couple of weeks and no answer so I call back. Well they wanted me back in to talk to the actual ppl with the positions. OK, off I go. High 90s - temp and humidity - and I GET A FLAT! Then I found one lug nut is stripped. Aaaarg! By the time I get there I'm late, sweaty, and greasy. This turned out to be the biggest ice breaker and I got the job before I left.
 

illini

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Here's another one I just remembered. A few months ago I was drafted by my company to man our booth at a job fair. Ever done that? Let me tell you that some of the strangest people show up at these things. At one point we had a guy stop by our booth who turned out to be both a dentist and a linguist. That's right, a linguistic dentist! I'm guessing he got confused in dental school and when they started talking about linguals he figured he'd better go learn some languages. Since this was also a job fair for people with security clearances it was even more strange to imagine a cleared linguistic dentist. Best guess is that he found a job providing dental "care" for terror suspects. He gets 'em under the gas. They start talking in their native tongue. He translates.
 

rstaff3

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The oddest interviewees were always at the job fairs. I don't think I can top a liguist/dentist though.
 

wwattles

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Job fairs can also produce some interesting arrangements of companies. I went to one a few months ago where there was a company that did some small-time consulting work, and the woman at the table was someone I'd known in school. She hadn't worked there for long (only about 3 months) and had previously been involved with the Home Depot management training program.

Home Depot was recruiting for the management training program directly across the aisle from her, and the people there as "recruiters" were her former classmates!

WW
 

illini

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Oh yes...if you want to see strange stuff, a job fair is a pretty safe bet. Kind of like Kramer's advice on Seinfeld to hang out with Proctologists at parties 'cause they have the best stories.

Same job fair...this young guy is bouncing from booth to booth asking about positions in Iraq. We thought he was asking to make sure he didn't get sent there. Turns out he *wanted* to go to Iraq. Doing what? Didn't matter. He just wanted someone to send him to Iraq. We sent him off with our wishes that he not get his wish. Booth next to ours talked to him for a good long time...
 

Jerry Irvine

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Originally posted by MissileDaughter
Just last month, I was comming home from college. I got lost (I take classes off campus. One of the requirements to get credit for English 101 is to do a library orientation) when my friend (I'll call her Mandy) called. I answered my cell phone (I had the ear piece in) and I said, "Mandy, I cannot talk right now. I am lost." Well, she knew where I was, so she gave me directions. Anyway, her manager was looking to hire some people. Mandy asked me if I would be interested. I said that I would. She told me that her manager wanted to interview me later on that week. So, the interview day comes. I take a half hour to get ready. I put on make up (which I absolutely hate) and all that jazz. I drove to the place and I told the manager that I was there for the interview. If you could have seen the look on that woman's face! It was a priceless expression of shock! She said, "I forgot that I had to interview you today!" She looks at her calender. "Can we do it sometime next week?" I said sure.
To make a long story short, I dressed up again and went to the interview. She took one look at my application (very basic info) and said that she would call me within the next two weeks. Nonetheless, I have not heard from her since. I just wish I had a camera with me that first time I met her!

What is more ironic about this post is that I have an interview at Target tomorrow! Go figure! I hope I get the job. I need it.
Having been on the employer side of that story, make the employer comfortable and suggest a mini-interview right there and then, then CLOSE THE DEAL at a rare moment of equality!!

Jerry

I hire.
 

Ozymandias

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I was interviewed for an internship at UCLA's nanotechnology laboratory. I got it too! It was the hardest 2 and a half months of my life but I earned a $1700 stipend. That's about it. Science at the laboratory level can be very exciting or very, very, very boring. One day we spent 10 hours trying to get a 5 microliter droplet of DI water to move between two teflon coated glass plates. :eek:


....and when it finally moved we were all like :D
 

MissileDaughter

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Update: A few minutes after the interview with Target, they offered me a job. They want me to work in their food section. They said that it is a seasonal job, so I would only be there for three months. But, if they like me, they will keep me longer. So, the interview went good. I was quite surprised since I had a hard time answering a few questions about policies that I did not agree with (I am a very agreeable person for the most part).
 

Pippen

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My strangest interview was for a high school teaching job. It was an early morning interview which meant I had to drive 4 hours the night before and spend the night in a hotel. When I got to the interview the asst. superintendent, the principal and the asst. principal were all there with the asst .superintendent doing most of the questioning. The interview started off with the typical questions but as time went on the AS kept interrupting me to chat with his buddies about the fishing they were planning to do that summer and other similar topics. I was fresh out of college with no experience so it wasn't as if I had long wordy answers to give--he was just being incredibly rude. Finally I had had enough--I'd given up a day's pay to come down there plus forked out money for the trip so the next time he asked me a question I started my answer with a firm "Well, if you'd quit interrupting me I would be very happy to explain myself." I went on to answer it and right after that he wrapped up the interview.

I left and found a pay phone to call home and tell them I didn't get the job and then pointed the car towards home. Imagine how stunned I was when I got a call the next morning offering me the job! It wasn't until a few years later in comparing notes with some teachers who had been around awhile that I learned the AS purposely put the heat on interviewees and that more than one man had left those interviews in tears. His reasoning was that teachers were going to have to take the heat from parents and students and he wanted to see how they performed under pressure. My interview was over when I responded correctly.

It still raises my ire just to think of it! :kill:
 

DynaSoar

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A guy in North Carolina was interviewing a Native American from Arizona. The guy asked a question. The Native didn't say anything. The guy asked another question. Again nothing. Another question. More nothing. After 7 or 8 questions the guy gave up and starting writing notes, including the fact that the Native was apparently retarded. Suddenly the Native started answering the questions, one after the other, until he'd answered all of them.

The guy from North Carolina was expecting an answer within a second or two, because that's the normal American behavior. The Native was Dine' (Navaho). It's their way to wait between 5 and 10 seconds after being spoken to before speaking back, as a sign of respect to someone of greater age or standing.
 

Ray Dunakin

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Back in 1982, I was interviewed for a graphic design job with an ad agency. Didn't get the job. About a month later, the art director who interviewed was in the news... he'd bludgeoned his wife and kid with a hammer!
 

wwattles

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This showed up on a humor website this week. The funniest part is the timing since we had just been discussing this last week!
-------------------------

Job Interview Lowlights


We've all been interviewed for jobs. And we've all spent most of those interviews thinking about what not to do. Don't bite your nails. Don't fidget. Don't interrupt. Don't belch. We knew if we did any of the don'ts, we'd disqualify ourselves instantly. But some job applicants go light-years beyond this. We surveyed top personnel executives of 100 major American corporations and asked for stories of unusual behavior by job applicants.

The lowlights:

1. Said he was so well-qualified that if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent.

2. Stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.

3. Brought her large dog to the interview.

4. Chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.

5. Wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.

6. Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.

7. Challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.

8. Announced she hadn't had lunch and ate a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer's office.

9. Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president.

10. When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.

11. Had a little pinball game and challenged me to play with him.

12. Took a brush out of my purse, brushed his hair and left.

13. During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's brief case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.

14. Applicant came in wearing only one shoe. She explained that the other shoe was stolen off her foot on the bus.

15. His attaché case opened when he picked it up, and the contents spilled, revealing ladies' undergarments and assorted makeup and perfume.

16. He came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn't want it to get stolen, and stated that he would require indoor parking for the moped.

17. He took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.

18. Said he really didn't want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof that he was looking for one.

19. Whistled when the interviewer was talking.

20. Asked who the lovely babe was, pointing to the picture on my desk.
When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security.

21. She threw up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job like nothing had happened.

22. Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down to the case, flipped a switch and ran. No one was injured, but I did need to get a new desk. (Wall Street Journal 1989)

23. Asked if I wanted some cocaine before starting the interview.
 

thomasrau

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Many moons ago while still in college I applied for an intern position with a gov't contractor. The job was for final acceptance testing of the TOW-II improved anti-tank missile at Eglin AFB.
During the interview I had given the standard answers about wanting to further my education, get "real life" experience and help my country. They smiled, nodded their heads and one of them asked are those the real reasons? I smiled back and said no, I wanna see sh*t blow up.
I got the job.

PS. When the guidance wires drop into a lake or tangle up on shrubs really neat things happen.
 

Chilly

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I've learned the hard way to follow my gut instinct in an interview. If it doesn't feel right, don't take the job if it's offered. Did that once out of desperation after a company bankruptcy (airlines do that a lot), and my wife & I still look back on it as a stupendously bad decision. Two weeks after we'd moved for them, I got a call from the company I'd really wanted to work for...turned out they'd been looking for me. We moved again three months later!
 

illini

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Originally posted by thomasrau
They smiled, nodded their heads and one of them asked are those the real reasons? I smiled back and said no, I wanna see sh*t blow up.
I got the job.
:p Whenever I'd interview prospective hires for positions in electronic warfare (EW), they would always ask (if they're competent that is) what it was all about. Best answer was always bombs on target (except for those surface weenies for whom EW is all about survival from those nasty anti-ship cruise missiles)...keeping the aircrew alive so they can put bombs on target. That answer was another good way to scare off those with more pacifistic tendencies.
 

n3tjm

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Originally posted by MissileDaughter
Update: A few minutes after the interview with Target, they offered me a job. They want me to work in their food section. They said that it is a seasonal job, so I would only be there for three months. But, if they like me, they will keep me longer...
How could anyone NOT like you ;). You are such a likeable person ;).

Originally posted by thomasrau
PS. When the guidance wires drop into a lake or tangle up on shrubs really neat things happen.
What really neat things happen? :)
 

hokkyokusei

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Originally posted by n3tjm
How could anyone NOT like you ;). You are such a likeable person ;).

Watch out MissileDaughter, he's turning on the charm ;)
 

MissileDaughter

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Originally posted by hokkyokusei
Watch out MissileDaughter, he's turning on the charm ;)
Turning on the charm? He has been turning on the charm since we first met on TRF. Just ask him. ;)
 

n3tjm

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Yeah... the scary thing is... we discovered when talking on the forum or on yahoo... we think alike in so many ways....

Gives me chills just thinking about it ;)


Back on topic:

I been to an interview where they spent hours on my website before I came in. When I came in... they addressed me as Rocket Man. Could not remember my real name ;).
 
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