STOP IT! What not to do in an interview- Part 2

As I’ve said before: I work for a tutoring company. My main job is to interview and hire tutors from all over the country. I’ve conducted THOUSANDS of interviews at this point (not an exaggeration, I average about 220 a week) and there are some fairly common things I see/hear/experience on a daily basis that make me want to pull my hair out.

I put together a list like this a while back, and after a considerably LONG day at work, we’re back for round 2.  Seriously. Do NOT do these things in an interview.

Incessant talking: Interviews are made for talking. They’re just about the only place you can get away with shameless, all out bragging but even in this there is such a thing as moderation! If I ask you how you heard about us and the answer is “craigslist” you do not need to tell me you were looking for work, did a google search for the area, then went to craigslist, then found our ad, then did some research, by the way our yelp reviews are awesome, and then filled out the application and here you are. I know 90 percent of that. Be concise. I have 30 other questions for you. If I ask “are you working currently” the answer is yes or no, not a life story. If I ask for a travel radius in miles I do not need a 2 minute lecture on traffic in your area and a detailed description of your school’s parking lot layout. I need “15 miles” or whatever number applies to you.

We will get to teaching strategies and experience. I promise. But if you can’t be concise or answer the question I am asking you because you are trying to regurgitate the interview speech you practiced in the mirror this morning back at me as fast as you can intentionally leaving no pauses for me to cut in, we’re going to run out of time and I won’t have the answers to the questions I NEEDED to be ABLE to put you through to the next step. Think of interviews like a written exam: ADDRESS THE  PROMPT.

Sassing me: On a similar note. If you answer every basic question I ask you with “AS IT STATES ON MY RESUMÉ…” I will murder you or at least your chances at tutoring with us. Being condescending, snide, or downright rude, or insinuating that I have not done my due diligence is asking for a rejection. I have read your resumé I can see where it says “2008-Present” for your current position. I have seen that on thousands of CVs and on a good majority of them, the information was not accurate because the applicant had recently left their position and failed to update their dates of employment before sending us their documents. I have your info. I read your info. I now have to CONFIRM pertinent details.

And if you sass me over something YOU failed to read in a confirmation email for your interview, you will be put RIGHT back in your place before I move on. It’s appalling the number of times I call my second appointment in an hour at 15-after (or a later appointment, later) and as a courtesy ask if its still a good time for their scheduled interview and they passive aggressively allude that I’m LATE to their appointment but that they graciously can make things work for me. My voice turns the kind of sweet that bores holes in teeth when I inform them they were my 2nd/3rd/4th scheduled appointment that hour and that their confirmation email states they should expect a call between the hours of ___ and ___. A lot of people get mad when I say I have content questions for them and when we get going they can’t recall the slope intercept form, or whether pH2 is an acid or base because apparently it’s my fault they didn’t know they’d be tested and so they hadn’t reviewed ahead of time.

If you berate me because you weren’t prepared, I will direct your attention to the confirmation email we sent in regards to the scheduling of the call, pull up the stock email, and read verbatim the line about being prepared to answer content questions on the subjects you selected and the suggestion that you have a pen and scratch paper ready at the time of the call to work out math or science problems.

And I will not put you through.


Clothing, part 2: This SHOULD go without saying and yet it crops up WAY more than anyone likes. If you are not clothed, don’t touch your webcam. If you are naked, you should not be setting up your computer for an interview. If your tits or peen are out: DO NOT see what that “record” button does!

If you have an interview scheduled for 12 and it’s 12:01 you shouldn’t still be setting up your webcam anyway, but if it’s 12:01 and your webcam is not only not set up, but you don’t have your clothes on? You are not prepared for your interview AND you’ve now indecently exposed someone who may potentially be your supervisor in the future. There is no way I can POSSIBLY justify putting you through. ESPECIALLY if you were planning on teaching Elementary/Middle School subjects over our online platform.

And for the love of all that is holy, do not record your interview from a seat on the toilet, particularly if I can hear that you’re using it, while we talk. That is just NOT what I signed up for.

I have witnessed way too many bodily functions and accidental flashing in my time as a remote interviewer.

All these items seem like common sense. But apparently a large portion of grown men and women don’t see it that way. If you want to work, heed my advice. PLEASE.

And my company is shifting towards a more automated system with more recorded and less live interviews through a new program. Which probably means material for another one of these posts.

Good lord.



Consummate Professional from the Tits Up

I’m beginning to think that most of this blog is going to be dedicated to recounting the oddities of my work life.  Complain if you will, no one’s forcing you to be here.

But since you are:

I’m professional. REALLY professional.

I feel like I have to be.

I’m the youngest employee at my company. By just under 10 years at last survey. I got this job almost straight out of college and was essentially seduced away from a similar position from a similar company whose owner thought he’d get to bully me into doing my work AND his for less than our tutors made an hour (but thats another story).

I worked hard for this position, but I know I’m lucky to have a grown-up job with benefits and a 401k when I have friends from my graduating class working at restaurants or movie theaters who are deferring their student loan payments right now.

So I am very careful to always be the picture of a professional HR Director around others.

That being said, since I work from home, I can get away with waking up five minutes before my shift starts, grabbing my company computer, opening our phone system, and making my first call from bed. No one will know.

I do this a lot.

Particularly if I’m working weekends and I’m hungover.

The nice part is that most of what I do is invisible. As long as I can send a business email, or have a neat, coherent, phone interview I can look however I like.

Meetings and web interviews are quite another matter. Turn on the webcam and I have to be on point: hair sleek, flawless makeup, nice blouse. I don’t think any of my coworkers have seen me without lipstick and a healthy coat of mascara. I don’t gesture with my hands. I don’t touch my hair or face. I am pretty as a picture on screen.

From the chest up.

I have done interviews in crop tops that end at my ribs. I’ve thrown blazers on over bras. Delivery men have given me funny looks when I sign for packages in a flawless silk blouse paired with ratty gray sweat pants. My roommate likes to tell people about how she’s seen me put a cardigan on over one of those velcro-closing patterned bathroom towels after a shower.

For all this, the amount of compliments I get on my appearance, and the full points for “professionalism” I’m awarded each time a web interview is scored by Quality Control, I’m an utter fraud.

On the plus side, if you’re stressing about an upcoming web interview, that old trick of picturing your interviewer in their underwear will probably come in handy. If they’re not rocking the no-pants look they are almost certainly in some truly heinous active-wear.

Sometimes you want to wear stretchy pants.

Its for fun.

Yooooou are welcome!