Thursday, March 24, 2011

Q & A: fail

Almost exactly two weeks ago I had the most painful interview of my life. To begin with, it took place in a health food cafe right behind UH, which wouldn't have been so awkward if I hadn't been the only one in there wearing heels, her lucky BR interview dress and crisp, black blazer. Hello! Sore thumb amidst the tie-dye and hemp sandals.

The requisite 15 minutes early arrival passed by with me waiting patiently at a slightly crumby table as I watched the people around me munching on greasy looking "healthy" sandwiches. After the set interview time came and went, I took out my phone thinking I had mixed up the times, only to confirm that a) the lady was late and b) the internet was slow inside the restaurant. Back to people watching it was (luckily, it's a great pastime).

After another ten minutes, she finally showed up in jeans and hungry. That's right, she dropped off her bag at the table I was sitting and hustled over to the line to pick up a bag of chips. Um, hi- the casual dress memo would have been useful? Thanks.

So, fast forward another five minutes and after the initial introductions, the interview is officially underway. The first question that pops up: what do you dream of?

Picture the following: professional Dahnya, all dolled up, doing her best to keep the high notes out of her voice and mentally reviewing the "what are your strengths/weaknesses" answers. Then follow up with Dahnya's blank stare, open mouthed gape and a cricket-filled silence. 

Seriously, guys. What is the proper interview answer to such a question? Do I pull an MLK situation-like answer? Or do I enthrall her with my saga-like dreams about the zombie apocalypse and my newly acquired skills to survive the wilderness a la Little House on the Prairie? 

Neither sound to be correct so instead I go with, brace yourselves, "I dream of a world where every child is ensured a quality education". 

Barf. Yes, I truly do wish that to be the case but, how lame an answer is that?! Don't worry, I did expand upon the answer with how I make sure my students receive the best of me, yada yada but I was drenched in Cliche eau de toilette right out of the starting gate. I could only hope the next question would help improve matters...

Hope sprang eternal but was quickly shut down by, "what makes you cry"? 

This time, I couldn't help it: I laughed. Out loud. To her face. 

This is probably the part where she mentally Sharpie'd me off her list as potential employee but, I cannot say I regret it. 

Any HR experts care to analyze the logical, srategic understanding of what a potential employer might glean from me answering what causes my tears to fall? Did she really want to know what has me blubber like a baby? Because this does. Every time. 

Along with PS I love You and every other sappy romantic comedy. Which basically tells her, I'm a hopeless romantic who loves animals and is a sucker for (some) bad movies.

From there the interview went down the lines of normalville, all the rote questions one would expect. But, I never recovered from the first two freezes and needless to say, no. I did not get the job.

May this public broadcast help you in your future interview endeavors because I would be curious to know how you would answer such trippy questions...

PS: My "lucky" BR dress has been relegated to ordinary after undergoing such a stint.


Kimberly and Michael said...

Wow. I wonder how often people answer that without laughing. I think I would sharpie them off my list as a potential employer. What do they talk about in the office?

Elsa said...

I can't tell you how many times I've had some totally random questions asked at interviews. At one school I was asked about my husband's education and someone actually said "Why do you feel like you need to work here? If your husband graduated from Rice University, he should be making enough money that you shouldn't have to be here." I almost cried and wanted to start screaming at people. Thank goodness, they never called. I also cry at the same commercials & although I've seen "P.S. I Love You" a hundred times, I still manage to sob through most of it.


Heidi said...

Oh, I'm so sorry it was such a terrible nightmare. It honestly sounds like a bad dream. I think you answered perfectly for the situation though, major kudos!

On a positive note, it made for a great blog entry- I don't think I've ever laughed so hard! :)

Delena said...

Yeah read what I commented on Facebook...seriously thumbs down on this lady. How the heck did she get that job, she may as well have started chewing on her toenails in front of you the way she presented herself that probably would have been less shocking then what makes you cry? You are making me cry with your terrible interviewing skills..

Emily said...

Wow! I'm so sorry you had such an "odd" interview. I agree with the previous commenters -- Take it as a sign this wasn't the right place for you to be. Plus, I think your answers were honest and genuine. I would not have been able to come up with anything better.

I hope something betters turns up for you soon! :)

Leila! said...

Okay, so I'm definitely sorry that you had a horrible interview experience. But Dahnya -- listen to me. Quit your life as a teacher, don't go to any more interviews, and just become a writer. THIS ENTRY WAS HILARIOUS. You have a way with writing and I was laughing the entire time. You paint such a hilarious picture. I really felt for you. How awkward!!

Nicole said...

I completely agree with Leila! WRITE!!!!

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Anonymous said...


Beautiful and clever blog! Did they ever call you back?

Darla said...

I just saw this entry-- hilarious!

"saga-like dreams about the zombie apocalypse" should win every time.

and, sweet jesus, that spca commercial is unbearable to watch!! i can never sit through it because i'm afraid of going into the bad cry.