I’ve had a few months to let this ruminate and write a respectable post about this awful experience. This is a tale from the trenches of interns and interviewees. I hope you will be inspired by my patience and perseverance after reading this. Written by Juliet Rocco
You’ve got mail! There I was, waking up on one of my last, glorious days of spring break in March when the email notification light was flashing on my phone. I usually wake up to retail sales and Linkedin group emails, but this one was different. It was a request for a job interview!
I jumped out of bed and grabbed my laptop to email the woman back to set up an appointment. We had the date set a month from that Friday and I would be heading to New York City, driving 300 miles from Rochester, NY for this.
Over the next few weeks, Susan* emailed me three times about rescheduling and I fixed my schedule each time, adjusting it accordingly to their needs. People are busy, I get it. I was very determined to get this position.
Today is the day: The Friday of my interview finally rolls around and I’m in the zone. If it’s one thing I’m good at, it’s answering questions about myself and asking thoughtful questions to my interviewer.
I was interviewing at an agency that handled design and marketing for retailers so they wanted me to bring my digital portfolio for review. I entered the building and got in the scariest elevator you could possibly imagine and waited until I got to the fourth floor. It looked liked something straight from a Stephen King novel, no joke! The door opened up to a large, open office space with desks and iMacs and friendly-looking people.
Susan was there at the main desk to greet me and sat me down at a nearby table. I sat there patiently for my 5pm appointment with Gary* and waited…and waited…and waited some more. Twenty minutes went by before someone else came into the area and asked me who I was waiting for. I watched him disappear as he went to the back of the office to go tell Gary.
Finally, after waiting nearly twenty-five minutes, Gary came out from his lair walking down the long hallway and introduced himself to me. He apologized and we sat down at a different table to review my portfolio on the big screen.
This is where the fun begins (sarcasm): I’ve never seen anyone more bored and lifeless during an interview. I would have gotten a better response from a dead person.
All of the talking came from me, except when he interrupted me to talk to 3 different co-workers. He did not apologize for interrupting me once. Occasionally, he’d scribble some notes on a piece of paper. I asked him what I would be doing during this internship and he said, “We’ll basically throw you in anywhere that you’re needed.” –Thank you for all of the detail.
After about fifteen minutes of going through all of my pieces, he got up, looked rushed and left pretty quickly without much dismissal. I was lucky enough to shake his hand, but never got a business card. I didn’t even want to ask about next steps, but I did anyway just to maintain my integrity.
The rest is history: I never heard back from Susan or Gary again, and I’m glad I didn’t. I did send them a follow-up thank you and was very nice about it. I’m not going to lose my respect for them, because I didn’t know all of the facts. For one thing, it was late on Friday and Gary was probably stressed out about deadlines and getting projects done. He also could have been having a bad day in general. There is still no excuse for being that late and rude during an interview though and if I’m ever in the position of interviewing someone, I will make sure I do exactly opposite of what he did.
*names have been changed for privacy