During the month of May HRM Online online ran a competition calling for readers to send in their very best interview stories from their experiences working in, and dealing with, HR.
HRM Online is proud to announce the winner of the brand new iPad2 is Wendy Dummett from Medibank Health Solutions for her story about a run-in with a particularly dated concept…
My first interview in the 1980s
In the late 1980s I decided to leave teaching. At my very first formal interview I met with the owner of a small paralegal company. I entered the office in the city a long narrow office with a glass cubicle at the end, where I nervously introduced myself to the MD – a ruddy skinned, red haired bearded man.
We had been talking for about 10 minutes when I noticed he was looking over my shoulder into the office. He was looking more and more uncomfortable, loosening his tie and shifting in his seat. I thought perhaps he was signalling to be saved from a hopeless candidate. Finally he excused himself and went into the open office and then returned. He asked another question, and looking very flushed excused himself again. At this stage I looked around and could see a commotion in the office with the boss standing in the middle of it. He returned, crimson with embarrassment this time, explaining that it was his birthday and they were about to have a celebration and if I wanted I could join in. I declined, looked around and realised that he was receiving the attentions of a “fat-o-gram” [a plus-size stripper] a very 80s activity which has since lost favour – not surprisingly!
Finally he came back and quickly finished the interview, offering me the job. I accepted. It was the 80s and I was desperate to leave teaching! I was never sure if it was truly my experience or his total discomfiture that had ensured I was offered the job.
Congratulations Wendy and thank you for sharing your great story!
We received many great entries, and would also like to thank all our readers who entered the competition.
A couple of top-runners up entries included:
Interview from Hell
This story is of an actual interview situation involving myself as the interviewee. I had an interview for a HR Coordinator role with a fast growing vehicle/PPE supplier to the mines.
The interview started off moderately well but went downhill with a slew of ‘questions you just don’t ask in an interview.’ Towards the end I was outright laughing in shear bewilderment that this company was asking me these questions and for a HR role??
Needless to say, I did not progress with my application after the interview.
Do you go out on the weekends and party much? Drink? Take Drugs? We don’t want a party goer! Tell me what you do on the weekends?
Do you have family? Boyfriend? kids? Plan to?
How old are you? Your resume shows that you have a lot of experience but you look way too young to have done all that? How old are you?
So what else can you offer the role. This is a HR role but do you have any legal background? The other person we interviewed did!
So are you tough? We deal with some pretty abrupt clients. When I look at you I see.....the Virgin Mary. You’re pretty, and I’ve found that pretty people don’t do well in the roles. I normally hire the ugly person because they’re more of a bulldog!
A very, very prepared candidate
While working in a recruitment role, I met the most prepared candidate I have ever come across in my career of over 10 years.
The role was a research position in policy services with a government department. The candidate presented professionally and was articulate. She did well answering the questions to start with, however once we got to a question that stumped her (on teamwork), she pulled out a homemade, binded portfolio of colour-coded, alphabetically-ordered competency answers and questions. She then turned to ‘T’ in her portfolio and flipped the pages till she found her ‘teamwork’ questions and answers.
Her finger ran slowly down the page until she found the most suitable answer and she read it out for us. She did apologise at the end of the interview for having to refer to her ‘notes’ during the interview. The hiring manager actually loved her approach, especially the amount of effort and research she had committed to preparing for the interview – and so she was hired!