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Sunday, May 5, 2013
The Worst Job Interview Ever
On the day of the job interview, I showed up a little bit early and sat in the waiting room to be called in to interview. While waiting, I filled out a job application. Suddenly, a woman walked out into the waiting room, said hello to everyone present and then she walked outside into the parking lot. There was a clear view of the parking lot from the waiting room. I peered through the waiting room window and observed that this woman walked near my car. She was walking back and forth around my car and glancing inside of it! The first thing I thought was, "Who the hell is this lady? and, "Why is she looking inside of my car?" She went on to go to another car in the parking lot and then re-entered the waiting room area. I didn't say anything to her, because I didn't know who she was and I didn't want to create a scene or leave a bad impression. The woman went about her way and about 5 minutes afterwards, I was called in to the H.R. office for the interview.
Lo and behold, the same weird lady was waiting in the human resources office for me to come in and have the interview with her. She was the human resources manager for the company and the same woman that contacted me about coming in for the job interview. The lady was very affable and introduced herself. The department supervisor was also present and we were introduced, too.
We went through the usual questions that are asked during a job interview. So, the human resources manager knew through my answers and my resume that I was well qualified to do the job. I would have been a perfect fit for the postion, since I had the precise training, experience, and skill set that they were looking for. By the way, I found it really odd that the department supervisor hardly said a word. The human resources manager did most of the talking.
Everything went well up until the point where the human resources manager started to glance over my job application. She noted that on the application, I did not include my past pay information on my prior jobs. I put a slash through the boxes where the information was requested. When possible, I do not include my past salary information on job applications. From my personal experience, unscrupulous employers tend to use the information to try to undercut your pay. It was never an issue in the past with other companies, when I have decided not to include my past pay.
It is said that the person who brings up any numbers regarding salary/ pay negotiations is the one who loses. You lose your negotiating power when you lay all your cards on the table prematurely. I didn't bring it up, because it is inappropriate for the job candidate to bring up salary. I waited for them to bring salary up. The human resouces manager tried to persuade me to add the information to the application, but I gently refused. Then, she started to get pushy and started accusing me of "hiding something". I told her that I had nothing to hide and she would learn that if she veried my background and professional references.
The human resources manager went on to ask me for a range of what I am willing to work for. I gave her a pay range. She went on to try and get me to provide my past salary information again and I refused again. When that didn't work she tried to ask me for an exact figure on what I would work for. So, I asked her if she was making me a job offer. The human resources manager told me "no" and that they were still interviewing candidates.
I told the human resources manager that she already knows what people in my line of work are paid based on my level of experience. I became so exasperated with her demands for my past salary. It was obvious to me that she was trying to use manipulation and bully type tactics to get what she was looking for. I told her that in the same way that the company looks out for its best interests, I am looking out for my best interests.
The two woman gave some really discouraging signs in their body language. At that point, the human resources manager didn't have a pleasant dispositon. She became somewhat flustered at the fact that I didn't give in to her demands. My intuition told me that they weren't going to hire me. In all my years of going on job interviews, I have never had a manager to bring up salary before making a job offer. Generally, if a manager wants to hire you, they will be very forthright and tell you what you can expect to be paid.
She pretty much gave it away that it was her (and her organization's) goal to hire a qualified worker at the lowest hourly. The human resources manager told me that they do not discolse their pay information to candidates. She mentioned that she had interviewed a candidate whom had much more experience than me and was willing to work for only $10 an hour. I gave her one of those looks like "Lady, you've got to be friggin kidding me". I think this was a attempt by her to try and feel me out and see if I would work for dirt cheap pay.
Incredibly, she made another attempt to try and get me to reveal my past salary information. I just came straight out and told her that I felt she was trying to find a low-cost worker. Neither the human resources manager nor the department supervisor denied my assertion. They decided to give me a tour of the building. During the tour I saw several former colleagues and waved at them all. We all chatted for a few moments and my former colleagues told the human resources manager and the department supervisor that they should hire me. They know my temperament and that I am a hard worker and a team player.
The way that I see it, If you go to school, pass a state exam, received a state issued occupational license, and gained years of experience through work, then you should never undercut your pay. I have definitely paid my dues and then some. A professional should be paid fair wages to reflect his or her level of experience and credentials. The people who become desperate and are willing to short sell themselves on pay, just make it bad for the real professionals to negotiate a fair wage.
What the hell do I look like, accepting a job with that much stress and responsibility for only $10 an hour? It defeats the purpose of going to school to beter myself and make more money. I'd rather work in retail or customer service for $10 per hour, than to work as a professional with experience for only $10 per hour. I could understand accepting lower wages if I didn't have any experience in the field at all. However, this was not the case.
To make a long story short, I never heard from the human resources manager again. I made a few attempts to make contact with her via e-mail and phone to follow up. However, she never responded. I am ambivalent to the way things turned out. I was enthusiastic about the opportunity to work for that company. I would have even entertained any reasonable attempt at a pay negotiation. At the same time, I don't want to work for an employer that isn't willing to pay me anywhere close to what my labor is worth.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been treated this way during a job interview or had any similar experience?
© Copyright 2013 Susan Broadbelt