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Submitted by BJ_Marshall on


I went on an interview last Friday, and I'm not quite sure how to interpret the event and would like your opinion.

As soon as the interviewer and I walked into his office, he asked the "Tell me about yourself" question. I can answer this in about 3:30 flat, and I did, but I expected a little more talk as an introduction.

Here's the scene. He sits behind his desk, and I sit on the opposite side. His laptop is open, and he's looking at it occasionally. During my "Tell me about yourself" answer, I interrupted myself to ask him if I should wait until he's not distracted. He told me to continue, so I did. And that was the last time I let the scene phase me.

Between him and me were the resumes of some other applicants for the position. At one point, he reached over to his side where some electronics lay, and he picked up a screw and a screwdriver to fidget with them - very nonchalant, disinterested. He asked me three other questions, and I had four prepared for him.

I still closed him, followed closely to MT advice, and I'm still following up with the job. But if they offer me the position, and it turns out he'll be my boss, I will decline on the spot.


US41's picture

This is wild speculation based on very limited data (your post), but my best guess is that he didn't like you the minute he laid eyes on you, and you never had a chance from then, and he didn't want to even interview you, but did not have the courage to end the interview nor conduct himself as a professional.

So often HR makes managers post jobs and interview tons of people when what we are doing is really a targeted promotion or hiring of someone who already works for us as a contractor. We end up interviewing people who are competing with one of our top performers for a position we primed up specifically for them.

Unfortunately, many of my colleagues have trouble conducting themselves adequately during this experience and go through the motions allowing their resentment of every applicant to show.

Instead, they should be checking to make sure that you are not better. But the truth is that interviewing is not foolproof, and experience with someone is. Therefore, hiring the person you have is almost always the way to go, and the poor people roped into interviewing for these jobs are often wasting their time.

At least you got some practice in?

BJ_Marshall's picture
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Yes, I did get some practice in. So, from that point of view, it was worth it.


tcomeau's picture
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US 41 is probably right: Either this is "going through the motions" or the interviewer didn't like your tie. (Or something equally stupid that ruled you out in the first ten seconds.)

And yes, the interviewer was rude, in several ways. I think it's unprofessional to do the "resume shuffle" -- I make a point of only having the resume of the person I'm interviewing in front of me. I confess I will pick something up just to have something in my hands at times, but only one ringtone (and nothing else electronic) will interrupt us.

On the other hand, early in my career the third or fourth interview of the day was with a guy who was obviously distracted and seemed to have trouble paying attention. It turned out he'd hadn't slept in two days, having spent the night in the hospital with his young child. He'd come in anyway to interview me, as a favor to his boss. I later learned he'd done a decent job of getting specific technical questions answered, and had recommended me. Later, he was my boss for a while, and he was one of my better bosses. So you never really know.


thaGUma's picture

As ever, I am more optimistic, it isn't you, the guy before filled their crieria and they are not really looking at anyone else. Perhaps an offer has already gone out.

Sometimes we have 'hard' bosses who think it is businesslike to put interviewees through a form of hell to see how tough they are.

Like the sound of your final point.

Good luck.