Thursday, December 6, 2012

How to Fail a Job Interview

Have you ever been slogging through a week from hell and suddenly realize "OMG, it's Thursday?"  That would be be me this week.  It's probably because of the fact that the kids didn't have school on Monday that I'm all discombobulated and confused about what day we're on today.  That type of thing always throws me off.

Monday was quite the day of ups and downs.  The weather totally sucked: cloudy gray sky spitting icy mist, not a glimpse of the sun all day, temperatures in the mid-40s; just an ugly day.  I was out and about that day, actually dressed up in the only pair of black pants that currently fit, a pretty pink sweater, my pearls and black butter-soft leather jacket.  Not my usual attire by any means (currently it is almost 11am and I am still in my hot pink/camo fleece pajama pants and slippers), but it seemed appropriate since I was going to my first job interview in years.  The job I for which I was interviewing was described as:

"Elderly Companion Care: services include light housekeeping, meal preparation, hygiene assistance, errands and shopping and companionship."

I was a little worried about what "Hygiene Assistance" meant, but upon further research, I decided that maybe it didn't include baths and help with other very personal hygienic assistance (a girl can hope, right?).  I was pretty excited when I received the call to go in for the interview, so when the time came, I spiffed myself up and headed out in the wintry weather, wearing the most awful boots known to mankind. (These boots made me realize that, yes, when my butt expands in size, so do my ankles, a phenomenon previously unknown to me.)  Upon arriving at the nondescript little office, I was given a stack of paperwork to fill out and promptly realized that I couldn't remember the name of the position for which I was applying, (thank God for good friends and their smart phones!) and was very thankful that I had brought along my updated resume` since without it, I'd probably still be there today, filling out the "previous employment" section of the application.  About thirty minutes later, after checking box after box relating to my "experience" working with the elderly, (honestly, people, are you sure I can't count raising four children as "experience"? How much different is it really dealing with a two-year-old or an elderly person's temper tantrum? Not much.) I was called back for my interview, which, in my mind, went something like this:

Prospective Employer: (looking at my resume`) Wow! You've been a busy girl.
Me: That's because I'm 39 years old and have had to change careers a few times. I'm experienced.
PE: I see that you've participated in the Breast Cancer 3 Day; how many times?
Me: Can't you read? It says right there: 2008/2010 - that'd be twice.
PE: I don't know much about it but I've heard it's hard.
Me: If you don't mind begging people for $2300 for the pleasure of walking 60 miles in three days in the middle of a Minnesota August and getting blisters on top of your blisters, sleeping in a pink tent and crying a lot, it's great.
(Fast-forward a little)
PE: So, these hours you have here, 9:30-3:00pm, Monday through Friday, are these the hours you are available to work or the hours you would like to work?
Me: Is there a difference?
PE: Well, we can't guarantee a set number of hours each week, but we do pay $11/hour, so...
Me: Those are the times in which I am available to work.  I need to be home in time to meet my little girls off the bus after school and be able to get my son from his hockey practices.
PE: We also require that you are available to work every other weekend.  Is that a problem?
Me: Do you see me available to work on the weekend days? On that form? Right there in your hand? That you made me fill out?
PE: No.
Me: So yes, that is a problem. My husband works out of town a lot. We have four children. When he's gone, I'm a single-parent.
PE: It's just that everybody would like to have Sat/Sun off now and then.
Me: So hire people who CAN work weekends whenever it is necessary. Because I can't.
PE: We don't always have work for you on the weekends, we just want you to be available to work every other weekend.
Me: So I'm supposed to "be on call" every other weekend because you may or may not have work for me to do? So I may or may not be able to go to my kids' sports activities or may or may not be able to spend time with my husband who may or may not be home that weekend?  Is that what you're saying?
PE: Well, yes.  Because every one wants to be able to be off on Sat/Sun sometimes....
(Fast Forward....)
PE: Ok, another question:  Sometimes you may be assigned to people who live vastly different lifestyles and have much different beliefs/values than you have.  How would you handle it if you were on assignment and your client expressed a belief that was different than the way you believe?
Me: Well, first of all, I would have them clarify their point of view.  Then I would break their opinion down point by point, citing recent articles/research, etc. that back up my opinion on the matter.  After verbally beating them until they were intellectually battered and bloody, if they still didn't see it my way, I would then verbally abuse them with clever and humorous name-calling and sarcasm until they cried.
PE: Ooookay...Do you have any questions?
Me: Would I be required to help with personal care? Like would I be required to give baths?  I have no experience and/or training in such activities.
PE: We will train you and certify you as a Home Health Aide.  So, yes, you will be able to give baths.
Me: Ok, thank you so much for your time. (Picks up coat, and goes SCREAMING OUT OF THE OFFICE: "No wiping butts! No baths! I don't even like seeing myself naked! Gaaaaah!")

Imagine my surprise that when the phone rang yesterday, the name of the company was on my caller ID.  I wasn't brave enough to answer the call nor have I called them back yet, either.

Onward and Upward my friends!

** I returned the company's call.  They were calling to ask me to complete a "mantle" (I'm really not sure what that is other than what we hang Christmas stockings on over the fireplace), so they could have me complete an Orientation next weekend.  Which brought up the fact that I can't (and WON'T) work weekends.  At which point their job offer was rescinded.  Oh well. No wrinkly bottoms for me to worry about (except my own) now. Alls well that ends well (heeheehee!).


  1. Perhaps this is why I haven't been contacted as a reference yet...

    1. I haven't finished applying for the job for which I needed you as a reference. Surprisingly, they didn't ASK for references with this position. Probably because they'd be doing a background check. Still, I'd want references for someone working with my grandma, wouldn't you?

  2. That's funny...what they wanted you to complete was a "mantoux" it's a tuberculosis test, a must for working with the elderly :)

    1. Ahhhhhh, thank you for clarifying for me. I was wondering how wood working had anything to do with working with the elderly? And really? Along with not giving baths to older people (ok, yes, anyone who is not directly related to me in some way), I'm also not allowed to play with power tools. So that's a relief.