I’m Responsible For One Of The Worst Interviews Ever
Shortly after leaving my consulting job I got a position within the same industry that required much less travel. After a few months at my new job an old work acquaintance (let’s call him David) contacted me to see how I was doing. I explained that I liked the new position with this smaller company and he asked if I could get him an interview.
David said he was a newlywed now and had a baby on the way. He needed to slow or eliminate his traveling. He said that he really needed a new job as soon as possible because he would have to quit the consulting lifestyle when the baby came in just a few months. He sounded like he really needed help. His resume looked good so I agreed to pass along it along to my new boss.
Mistake #1 – Passing along a resume for a guy I barely knew to my brand new employer.
I told my manager that I hadn’t worked with David much but the experience I did have working with him was positive. My manager reviewed the resume, noticed he had the same job title as me from the old company, and set up an interview for the end of that week. He thanked me for the referral. I felt good. Maybe I had just helped out my new company and an ex-coworker at the same time.
I knew he was interviewing on Friday but I didn’t know what time. That afternoon I was surprised to hear some managers laughing as I approached. They asked me if I was the one who referred David. I said, “Yes, he was a fellow consultant from XYZ.” They laughed and said I should speak to my boss. Thoroughly confused, I went to my manager and asked him what had happened. I was shocked and mortified by what I heard.
- David showed up to the interview in casual attire (shorts, of all things) with his pregnant wife in tow. When they brought him back to the interview room he proceeded to bring his wife along. They had to ask that she remain in the reception area for the formal interview. David was surprised by this and seemed to expect that she could join them.
- During the interview his replies were very informal and framed with “My wife and I” and “we”. It appeared that he wasn’t answering for himself but on behalf of him and his wife. This continued even when questioned about his skills and work history. Weird. Even my boss said it was creepy.
- David said that if he did have to travel, his wife would likely be joining him. He mentioned that his wife was already coming along on many of his consulting trips. When you are on-site for only 4 days a week you are still expected to get 40 billable hours. I’m sure my boss wondered if he was really putting in long hours if his wife was coming along.
- The interview was held during work hours so my manager asked David what he had been up to that day to get a feel for his current job duties. David casually explained that they had done a little shopping and caught some lunch before coming to the interview. When asked if he took the day off he replied that he rarely worked on Fridays and that it was “no big deal”. (Note: With my old company Fridays were often spent traveling or working on administrative tasks. We were at home but if we weren’t doing billable work for a client we were still on company time). Great. So he admitted in the interview that he has no problem running errands, going to restaurants, and interviewing while on paid time. That’s a rock solid work ethic right there, folks.
After the interview my boss told upper management about this being the most bizarre interview he had ever done. It became a running joke in the company and my name was attached as the new girl who “referred him”.
How does this relate to personal finance? Well, I think it does in many ways. This horrible interview could have affected MY job. I was lucky that it didn’t (thank goodness I was producing decent work by that time) but it certainly could have, especially as the “new girl”. I hadn’t even met many of the managers that heard about this so how is that for a first impression? After that incident I had to wonder what the company thought of me for referring this guy. Would they question my work ethic and overall judgment? After all, it appeared as if I endorsed him by passing along the resume. The last thing I wanted was to be associated with that kind of unprofessional behavior.
Needless to say, David didn’t receive a call back. I was upset with him for embarrassing me after I did him a favor when he needed help. The interview was so bad that someone actually asked me if he had something against me, implying that he might have done it on purpose. I guess nobody could believe that he didn’t know better, either.
Looking back on it, I realize that I probably should have just told David to apply on his own through the regular channels. Or if I still wanted to help him by giving my boss his resume, I should have emphasized that I didn’t have much experience working with him and avoided giving any feedback. I shouldn’t have said that my experience with him was good because that experience was obviously too limited.
I sure learned my lesson with that one. At least it’s good for a laugh now.