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Why I hate job interviews

A veteran journalist steps back onto the job market and shares one of her nastiest interview experiences

Today’s job interviews are not like those of twenty years ago. In the good old days, one person, usually the one you would be working for, interviewed you. The first question used to be, ”When can you start?” Now a coven with clipboards and evil eyes sits at the ready, recording every twitch and sigh.

Today’s interviews resemble political inquisitions, minus the swinging bare light bulb. Instead of asking you to come in for an interview, they should say they are bringing you in for questioning.

I get chatty when I am cornered and those set-ups can test the composure of the most self-assured. The questions were not diffi cult, mostly common sense. However, I never know if interviewers want to hear what they want to hear, or if they really care about your responses. Caveat: Don’t be honest.

They asked me what was the biggest challenge of my life to date. Besides being interviewed by a bunch of witches? I told them getting older. When I stopped being young, I became invisible.

At one time, construction workers would stop working and whistle and make catcalls when I sashayed by; men would scramble to give me a seat on the bus; and when I went into interviews, I was hired on the spot for outrageous salaries.

Once working, I got the plum assignments and the promotions. Now no one cares if I starve to death. If an old woman collapses on the street, pedestrians just step over her. Or worse, drivers steer their cars around her. Our kids move out and our husbands run off with 20-year-olds. Our dogs die. Usually we live a life of extreme want until our pensions kick in and then we can dine by candlelight (because our electricity has been disconnected) on little cans of cat food with exotic names. Fishermen’s Banquet or Catch of the Day is “cat food” for fish guts. The coven made notes of my response.

When I was leaving, I took my mug of water, planning to sit down alone in the lobby and screw my head back on (and soothe my parched throat). But I couldn’t do that because the queen shrew asked if it was their cup and practically tore it out of my hand. (Like I need to swipe an ugly mug.)

Later, I told a friend about the experience. She said, “Uh, you probably don’t want to work for them.” I said, “Yeah, but a pay cheque would be nice.”

After the interview, I gave the coven brochures and business cards. In case they didn’t give me the contract, they might refer my services to someone else.

Writer, anyone?

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