As promised, here’s the story of the strangest interview ever:
I drive almost an hour to get to the place. Despite the long trip, I get there fairly early, and sat in my car for a bit to kill time. When I walk in, my contact there greets me, and I go into a conference room and wait for the owner. He is a small Korean man, who is in his 50’s, and has built the company (Mr. Sushi and Dumpling) over the last 12 years. We shake hands, sit down, and the interview starts:
Mr. Sushi: Well what questions do you have for me?
Me: (thinking frantically, who starts an interview like that?!) Um…well I saw two different names on the website, can you please explain it to me?
Mr. Sushi explains that there are two entities, the wholesale and retail divisions.
Me: Oh, ok, now I get it.
Mr. Sushi: Tell me about yourself.
I give a brief description of my history, and how my two relevant jobs will help me in this one.
Mr. Sushi then launches into a monologue for the next 40 minutes, bringing up heaven, death, and dying several times, and touching upon how he came to the US 28 years ago with $20 in his pocket, and how he’s held every job I could imagine, and how he left his VP position at Arizona Iced Tea, with a $75k salary and great benefits because he didn’t like how they were going international and the politics, and also how he was the only Asian in the upper echelon. He also told me how he didn’t like that all the Korean small business owners in NYC have to buy from Japanese distributors, and how his work ethic means only going home to sleep, which is maybe 4 hours a day at most. He also said how he has a 1 year old daughter at home, and a 17 year old son, and he never sees them because his work is so important.
He said that over 12 years, he’s only fired/laid off two people, but for some reason there’s a lot of turnover, and he doesn’t know why. He talked about how when he was the manager of a grocery store, he would slowly take over all the owner’s duties till he was doing more than the owner, and thought he owned the store. He also explained how you are a trial employee for a year, and at the end of the first year (which is pain, and should be pain), they reevaluate you to see if you are eligible for benefits, and if you’re a good fit for the company. Yes, that says “ONE YEAR.” I wasn’t to keen on that, nor the “I don’t see my daughter,” and maybe Asian work ethic is better, but we’re not in Asia…I work to live, not the other way around.
Needless to say, I didn’t get to say a lot, so I’m positive he doesn’t know anything about me aside from the fact that I’m Korean, and know his current receptionist.
I have two interviews tomorrow, one of which seems pretty legitimate. It’s at an international law firm, and they want me to come in, and they are going to pay for my parking, and they want me to meet with the HR recruiter, an office manager, and a managing partner.
The other interview….well let’s just say the three people I’ve run the situation by all concur that it sounds like a ploy for free work. The lady that called me spoke a mile a minute, and I had to keep asking her to repeat what she said because I couldn’t understand her. She was adamant about getting me to give her an exact number of interviews I’ve been on, to “gauge how eager” I am to find work. (I told her I apply for several jobs per day, and sometimes it will be 2-3 weeks without an interview, and then I’ll have 3 in a week). She told me to come into the office tomorrow at 1 for a working interview, and “Bring your best, as there will be other candidates there.”
As if I wouldn’t “bring my best” to an interview? No, I’m going to waste her time and mine and not bring my A game. In addition, I understand that the “working interview” is a new HR phenomenon, but there will be other candidates there? Hm. I’m not a huge fan of being interviewed in groups, and I’m also not …to me, this sounds like a cattle call, and an easy way of getting work in the department done for free.
I ran it by several people and before I told them my opinion on the matter, they said the same thing. So I’m going to go, but I’m also going to be very wary of it. I applied for this job on Craigslist, for Pete’s sake.
I dunno…we’ll see after tomorrow.