I started working in IT at the age of 14. Since then, I have had six additional office jobs and many interviews in-between. Most of my interviews have been pretty standard, but a few have stuck in my mind as unusual, bizarre, or interesting in some way. After reading the Facebook Recruiting Feedback article, I was inspired to share a few of my interview experiences here. I’ll begin with one of the bizarre interviews.
I had first heard about the job opening from a friend. He had been doing some contract work for them and mentioned to me that they were looking for someone to help redesign and manage their website as they had a new product to promote. He set up the interview and told me that they had a great product and business and also wanted me to know that Brian, the owner, is a little eccentric. He is an inventor after all.
I was greeted at the door by a friendly dog, followed by Brian who exclaimed, “Look at those sideburns – you look like Wolverine!” (at the time, they were very wolverine-esque). I followed Brian into the workshop at the back of the office. This workshop was really a warehouse-sized room filled with old cars, motorcycles and dozens of drum kits. We sat down around a table strewn with electronic parts, soldering irons and detailed drawings of the next product he was designing.
The interview began with Brian expounding on the history of the business, the vision behind the new product and comparisons of himself to Walt Disney. Then he gave me a piece of paper and asked me to show him how I would redesign the site. A bit thrown off, I fumbled for a little while and just said the first things that popped into my head. After about 30 seconds of this, he got up and started pacing back and forth and began telling more stories about his visits with Apple executives and how some designers from Apple were coming in the next day (Saturday) and asked if I wanted to come in to be there while they went over some of the interface design for the new product.
At this point, another employee came in to see if Brian wanted to step into another interview to meet a potential new receptionist. “Is she hot?” was his (inappropriate) response. He got up to go to that interview, leaving me to chit-chat with another employee for the next 20 minutes or so.
When Brian came back, he decided that he was interested in talking about drumming as he had heard that I played as well. While he went on about the many bands that he had played with and rock-stars he had met in the past, he walked over to a weight bench, strapped on his lifting gloves and did some bench presses. Once he had completed a few sets, it was lunch time. Brian mentioned that he had some lunch plans, but was hoping I could come back after lunch and maybe he could hear me play a bit on the drums. I decided I had seen enough for one day and politely declined the offer to come back. He said that he would be in touch about the job.
As it turned out, the company must have not really had the budget to hire because they wanted me to contract for several months until the new product was launched and then they promised to hire me full-time. Between the strange interview and no guarantee of a full-time position, I was not exactly convinced to quit the job I had at the time. I told Brian this and his response was to get together for lunch and talk about doing some freelance work. We had lunch at P.F. Chang’s and talked about some possibilities for the site, but when we left, everything was very much up in the air.
Brian called me several times, mostly to talk about another potential hire he was making. Every conversation we had seemed to go nowhere and I eventually just wanted to cut ties, so I sent this email: “Regarding the job…when you feel the time is right to create a position and you have an offer for that position, I will consider it at that point. Right now, I am not quite ready to quit my current job without something for sure to go to.” He simply responded: “I gave you Changs call me.” So, I called Brian. He proceeded to question my integrity (I still don’t know how this came into play) and tear me down personally, so I said right there that I was not interested in ever hearing from him again. That ended a very strange interview saga, and to this day, every time I go by a P.F. Changs, I think to myself “I gave you Changs call me” and I laugh every time.