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Friday, July 29, 2011

That Time I Walked Out of a Job "Interview"

Since I am in desperate need of a new job, I'm not in a position to turn down interviews.  Jenna first started calling me about an interview while I was in NYC.  She told me that her company worked in the health and wellness field and had many opportunities available.  It was clear that she didn't have my resume since she knew nothing of my work history or education and didn't disclose the name of her company, rendering a Google search impossible.  It was also clear that she was calling me from her personal cell phone when my calls, which she never answered, only returned, went straight to an at capacity voice mailbox.  We played phone tag over several weeks and darn if she wasn't as persistent as she was vague.

I agreed to meet with her one evening, since the "Wellness Center" office was fairly close and I had the time in my schedule.  When I entered the office, I was greeted by fairly loud, upbeat music and a small crowd of what I could only assume to be fellow job seekers.  Great, I thought, a group interview.  A small woman came up to me to ask who I had an appointment with.  As it turns out, this was Jenna.  She asked again about my work history and I gave her a resume. We had a pleasant get-to-know-you conversation in the midst of all the other would-be candidates.  When I asked more specific questions about the company, she told me that there was going to be a group presentation to explain the details which would be followed by a one on one interview.  There was also some training being held later that night. Whoa?! Training?! I knew I wasn't in the position to accept an offer that night, especially since it wasn't my only interview of the week and could already smell something fishy about the situation.

The presentation began with a powerpoint slide show.  Several slides in, I glanced the phrase "direct marketing" and started to look for an escape route.  Of course, I had to be sitting front and center.  The presenter went on to talk about the products their company sells, mainly a diet pill.  Strike two.  I have several friends who work in direct marketing as Arbonne consultants and even tried my luck with Mary Kay right out of high school.  My Arbonne friends love their work and products and, if I were to venture into direct marketing, it would probably be with Arbonne.  Secondly, I don't believe in diet pills.  They tempt me every once in a while, but as someone who struggled with eating disorders for years, I consider them dangerous and psychologically addicting no matter how effective they are or aren't.

I had to get out.  I may have audibly let out a sigh of relief when, about twenty minutes in, the presenter dimmed the lights for a brief video.  I grabbed my bag and scooted for the door. I looked for Jenna, as I intended to politely excuse myself.  She was nowhere to be found, but the presenter noticed me and asked if I wanted to go home. Like I had a boo-boo, or something.  I informed him that I wasn't interested in direct marketing.  He thanked me and we went our separate ways.

The next evening, Jenna called again.  She called to find out why I left and to see if I wanted to come back for a second "interview".  I told her the same thing I told the gentleman the night before, that I was not interested in direct marketing.  I also added that I was not in favor of diet pills, but was rather an advocate of natural wellness.  She claimed their product was all natural.  I hadn't stayed long enough to get an actual ingredients list, so I can't say for sure, but I doubt that their pills fit anywhere into the healthy, organic, vegan, or natural categories.  I also asked her how she'd gotten my number in the first place.  She couldn't give me a name, but told me it was probably a friend who'd referred me, since they work mainly through referrals.

Moral of the story: anytime you are called by an interviewer on their personal cell phone, any and all days of the week, wanting to set up an interview through a vague company at 7 pm on a Tuesday is probably not worth your time if you are seeking professional employment.

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