Several weeks back I had a job interview for a position I really wanted. I walked into the office and immediately liked the environment. All the folks there seemed nice and friendly with the exception of the unfortunate creature on the phone who gave me the stinkeye, and it seemed like a place I could feel at home. Ya can't win 'em all, right?
At first in the interview, I spoke with two women. They seemed pleased with me, and I felt very comfortable. I started thinking this was going very well. They asked me to stay there and then the women left the room. A couple minutes later, the director came back and said that they were going to re-interview the top three candidates and that since I was there, they'd go ahead and re-interview me then, that I was in the top 3 of the 11 interviewed. Naturally, I was pleased. Three more panelists came in to ask me more questions. Some of my answers were recapitulations of earlier answers, and again, I felt comfortable and that I was holding my own.
The job would involve marketing and promotional work, albeit in an industry completely different from my own. I do a lot of event planning and promotional and advertising type tasks, so it seemed to me this would not be that much of a stretch. Clearly they liked me, I liked them, and this seemed a good fit. I started really feeling they would choose me.
The second group of panelists left me alone with the director again, and she asked if I had any further questions. I said I felt we'd covered my questions, and then she began talking, sort of riffing to perhaps fill the time. She said this would be the first time she alone had trained someone for this position and that she was concerned about how it would go. IF the wheels fell off at all in this process, THIS is where it happened: I said "I'm composing a procedures manual for the person who will follow me in my current position, and if you'd like, if I'm in this marketing position, I can compose the procedures documents as we go along."
*cue record scratch*
Came the response "oh, we have a procedures manual," and I think she may have taken umbrage at my suggestion.
Y'see, if I were hiring someone, I would take such an offer as the mark of someone interested in using their time and skills to help others to do an equally good job. I would see that as a mark of initiative and intelligence. I would want that person working in my organization.
She went on to say another person who'd been hired once wrote a computer program to enter and maintain their filing system, but that they had always used a paper system devised by the company's founder, and that they were not interested in changing their system, thank you very much. *cautionary tale, much?*
She said they'd make the decision in about 4 days. This was a Thursday. On Monday, I called Fraulein Direktor and thanked her for the opportunity to interview and expressing my continued interest in the position. She bluntly told me they'd filled the position. I thanked her and hung up the phone. A few minutes later in my mailbox, I found a poorly written form letter [Dear Applicant - seriously - it said Dear Applicant] which had been mailed to me on Friday, the day after the interview. The letter contained a list of bullet points, any one or combination of which may have been the reason the job was not extended to me. Criminal History? SRSLY? Lack of References? Untrue. Why could they not simply say someone else was more appropriate to the task rather than imply that it was in some way unseemly or vulgar for me to have aspired to this position?
Anyway, for the past few weeks I have puzzled over this turn of events, and felt a little sad not to have gotten that job despite the horribly gauche rejection letter. Then Wednesday night I talked to a dear friend on the phone and she expressed horror that I should lament not being chosen for the job. Well, I hadn't thought of it that way. She said how patently ridiculous it was that this company so stalwartly refused to simplify their lives by utilizing computers for their record keeping. She said they were obviously morons for not desperately clutching at the opportunity to have a diamond like me on their staff. Srsly.
This sort of turned my thinking around - I'm smart, capable and damned handy to have around-- what's wrong with them if they don't recognize this? Moreover, the director rattling on at the end of the interview about her own insecurities with regard to training did not bode well for her degree of organization. Perhaps my statement of confidence with regard to organization was intimidating.
After all, I never told her her job would be safe after I arrived. Oh well.