Grilled Like a Flame Broiled Whopper

Flame on!

As we all know unemployment is at a pretty high rate these days. So when anyone gets an interview, it’s a pretty big deal. That said, I think most people go into an interview nervous. I mean, let’s face it. Interviews are nerve racking to begin with because you have to basically sell yourself to a complete stranger, right? That’s hard enough. But I think the last thing anyone expects is to be grilled like a flame broiled Whopper.

C’mon Baby, Light My Fire

In this day of Hunger Games style hiring tournaments and what feels like playing the lottery upon submitting a resume, it feels pretty good to snag an interview. Recently a good friend of mine found herself in a situation such as this. She told me that the initial zoom screening went well. Then within a day or two she was invited to a second interview to meet with the company owner! In this day and age, that’s big, wouldn’t you say? At this point, my friend (let’s call her Michelle) was feeling pretty good about herself.

Meeting the Boss like a BOSS

Step Into My BBQ, Said the Spider to the Fly

So, after a slightly panicked “what to wear” deliberation, my friend had her best business suit dry-cleaned. In her own words, she “prepped for that in-person interview like I was trying to get into Harvard”. She researched the company. Read the Company Officer’s bios. Stalked the owner on LinkedIn and the company’s Facebook page. I mean, we all know that if you’ve ever hunted for a job, it’s hard out there on the unemployed. So, obviously, Michelle was going to and did everything within her power to put her best foot forward, and all that other cliched jazz. Later she told me she’d gone over everything that an interviewer could possibly ask.

At least, she thought she did.

You don’t have to be a Girl Scout to Be Prepared

So finally, the Day of the Interview arrives and happily, as she reported to me later, it went well. How well, you ask? Well, let’s put it like this. The owner seemed to be thoroughly impressed with her. How impressed, you ask? So impressed, in fact, he remarked to a few of his staff sitting in on the interview in front of Michelle that Michelle seemed to be the best fit for the position out of everyone they spoke to.

To top THAT all off, the the company owner even made a point to call Michelle later that evening around dinner time and tell her that “he didn’t want to keep her in suspense”. That he was “hopeful that they could work together” and that she would “hear something very soon”. Now, wouldn’t you take that to mean an offer was forthcoming?

Might want to hold the confetti, this ain’t over yet!

Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire

Frankly at this point, Michelle is pretty excited, thinking the job is hers, pending an offer. It would seem that’s what “hopeful to work together meant” right? When she asked me this, I said that I thought the same thing. So when the call came in the following morning scheduling Michelle for a Zoom interview with the HR manager, she thought, “well, obviously, this will be the offer and the signing of paperwork”. With the advent of electronic signatures Michelle wouldn’t necessarily need to come in, right? Especially if she declined the (she thought) forthcoming offer, right? That’s logical, isn’t it?

We thought so too, Mr. Spock.

Grilled Like a Flame Broiled Whopper

Unfortunately the interview with the HR Manager was just that, an interview. But what makes it worse is that the interviewer grilled Michelle like a flame broiled Whopper at Burger King. I mean, as Michelle said, the woman was completely hostile to her! Have you ever read an article about a piss poor interviewer? This woman apparently did everything you should NOT do in an interview. And the inanity of the questions!! I couldn’t believe it. I mean, “tell me about yourself”?

Omg. I’d be like, “I’m a Scorpio, I’m five foot eight, the perfect date is April 25th, and I like long walks on the beach”. I mean, what the hell, lady?! Nothing about the job position, at all. Then it was “explain to me every job you’ve had since 1993”. WHAT THE NATURAL FUCK DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE PRICE OF TEA IN CHINA, DID YOU NOT READ MY FUCKING RESUME? Then the woman had the audacity to talk OVER Michelle. She even asked “what would your references say about you?” Um, CALL ‘EM UP, and FIND OUT!! At this point Michelle admitted she was getting steamed, but did her best to somewhat keep her cool and finish the interview.

This Ain’t Burger King

However, the final strike was the fact that this miserable HR bitch antagonistically pressed and backed Michelle into a corner about why Michelle was laid off. And then, would she go back and why? Michelle said, “no” and was then grilled about that!

It was supposed to be an interview, not a cross examination!

Well, call me crazy but the last time I checked, being laid off doesn’t make you a criminal. It just makes you, um, hello, UNEMPLOYED.

And generally, if you’re told “your position has been eliminated” like SO many people’s have during the Covid crisis, what the hell is there to go back to? And if you’re gone, how the natural fuck would YOU know if they “hired someone else for the position”. (This was an actual question Michelle got asked.)

THERE IS NO MORE POSITION; THAT’S WHY SHE GOT LAID OFF! So where does the “WHY” come in? And how come in that case, “no” isn’t “no”?

Seriously, can someone explain this to me?

Michelle did reveal later that she was flustered and shocked at being grilled like a burger about to be flipped. Matter of fact, she said at that point she felt like yelling “BITCH THIS AIN’T BURGER KING, YOU DON’T GET IT YOUR WAY RIGHT AWAY! THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER!”

But again, Michelle, being the consummate professional that she is, was as pleasant as she could be given the circumstances. I told her, “you’re a better woman than I am! I would’ve told her to go fuck herself with a pitchfork!”

Burn, Baby, Burn

Well needless to say, Michelle did not get selected for the position. However, she did write a very nice group email addressed to each person she interviewed with, including the bitch, thanking them for their time and wishing them good luck with their selection. BECAUSE SHE IS CLASSY LIKE THAT.

Matter of fact, when she read me the sent email, I was immediately reminded of that old quote about “diplomacy being the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip”.

And honestly, like I told her, “You probably dodged a bullet. If that interview was a so called “test” to see how you respond to rudeness and/or stress, first of all, WHO DOES THAT ANTIQUATED BULLSHIT? But if it was, okay, then maybe you failed. If it wasn’t, that woman is most likely the biggest bitch this side of the Rocky Mountains, working with her would’ve been an absolutely miserable experience, and who needs that?”

And I mean nobody.

So What Have We Learned from This Experience

After being shocked and angered by Michelle’s experience, I went on the hunt for advice about what to do if you get a bad interviewer. Learning from someone else’s experiences and all that. You know what I learned? Apparently it’s naïve in this day and age to expect every job interview to be conducted with dignity and respect.

I think that’s bullshit, but it is what it is. Also? I learned to spot some pretty handy red flags. Personally I thought it was cruel and unprofessional of that company owner to call Michelle after hours and all but offer her the job. Red flag number one. Red flag number two? The way that so called HR manager acted in that third interview nobody told Michelle was coming. If someone is going to talk over you and grill you at the interview, how are they going to treat you on the job? I’m guessing not very well.

The Takeaway

The most important thing I learned through my friend’s experience is that NOBODY GETS TO TELL YOU YOUR VALUE AS A PERSON. Someone being completely rude and unprofessional upon meeting you is NOT a reflection on you. It is a reflection on THEM. That person may be having a hard day, or they could just very well be a dyed in the wool See You Next Tuesday. Whatever the case, at the end of the day I want to work with/for someone who will treat me with dignity and respect, and anything else is unacceptable. PERIOD.

Final thoughts: a piss poor economy and job scarcity doesn’t mean those in so-called power get to treat you, my fellow job hunter, like shit on their shoe. You are a capable, intelligent individual, and by learning to bypass piss poor interviewers, bosses who can’t say no, and outdated hiring practices like trial by fire, you will get a job where you will be treated with the dignity and respect that YOU deserve. Why?

That’s right, Beyoncé. Because you’re WORTH IT.

As a very wise friend of mine once said, “know your worth, then add sales tax & a delivery fee.”

So tell me, have YOU ever been treated badly in an interview? Tell me all about it in the comments, and if you liked this blog, do feel free to share it with your friends and subscribe for more content!

Thanks for reading,
Meredith Silverman

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Ashley Collins

    I so feel like a flame broiled whopper and I hate having to “sell” myself in interviews. I couldn’t imagine going over my entire work history since day 1…what kind of question is that?! I always wanted to have a pin that says “been with company over 20 years”….why is that so hard to find? Great read.

    1. Meredith Silverman

      Oh thank you Ashley!! I was actually at a company for 19 years once. I would like to find another “forever home” as it were. The place I was at most recently would’ve probably been it had they treated me like a human being! At any rate, yeah, no kidding! Love you!

  2. Patti Cook

    I recently had almost the same experience as your friend. The HR person and person who would be my supervisor gushed over me, my experience and skills. The difference with this interview was they then asked me to take a Word test (for an accounting position?) so okay whatever. I haven’t extensively used Word in about 7 years & told them it’s only been accounting programs which I’ve been using. “Oh don’t worry—whether we hire you or not is not reflected by the test—we just want to see where you are.”

    Well, test was done on Teams, I had to have 3 docs open at same time with only one screen, and the would-be supervisor muted herself but watched everything I did. Needless to say, not my most shining moment. I did not get the job and the employment service didn’t bother to tell me until several days later. I definitely dodged a bullet there, thank you. Not on my radar to work for liars.

    Also what I haven’t mentioned is that I am an older worker—not senile, not sickly, lots of energy and vital. The age thing no doubt has much to do with not getting a job, but appreciate your friend’s story. Good to know I’m not the only one. Still don’t have a job, but employment agency did try to send me on two different jobs I was absolutely not qualified for. Think I’ll return to looking on my own.

    1. Meredith Silverman

      Oh holy cow I’m so sorry all that happened to you! I’ve had a similar experience with a few temp agencies … holy cow I could write an entire blog about that!! It’s tough out there. Meanwhile I hope you find the perfect job!! (And yes, I’d say bullet dodged.) Thank you so much for reading my blog!
      And thank you for subscribing!! I appreciate so much!

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