Interview Stories

Job hunting can be frustrating, defeating, annoying, and sometimes just downright weird. As I scan the usual suspects, Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder, I encounter some sort of bizarre or shady-seeming job post, almost on a daily basis. Couple in the countless resumes that receive no response, job descriptions with multiple misspellings that require the potential candidate to have impeccable attention to detail Winking smile , and the delightful folks who get back to you so many months later, you forgot you applied.

I am not in a rush to find a full-time job; I want to find a really good fit so for now I can sort of laugh at this somewhat silly process.

It hasn’t always been that way.

When I graduated from college in 2002, months after the September 11 tragedy, into an economy that was beyond depressed, job hunting was desperate. With an English degree in hand, I set out to find some sort of job and stumbled upon a Marketing position in Malden. It paid well, they wanted to interview little ol’ me, it was almost too good to be true.

My first clue might have been the entrance to the office, up a ramp in an alley behind the CVS. Surely, the hand-written paper sign, the only indication of the office’s name, on the door might have tipped me off. The lack of furniture or the 3 minute interview after which the interviewer declared I was a great fit and invited me back for a full day interview the next day didn’t make me suspicious either.

It wasn’t until the next day, when I returned to the office in full interview attire, that I realized there might be something shady about this “Marketing” job. Several brusque managers, just slightly older than me, rounded up a dozen or so recent college grads and divided us into cars.


My driver scoffed at my high-heeled shoes and then pretty much forced me to change into a spare pair of flats she had in her trunk. I still stayed, despite the fact that wearing a stranger’s shoes was the most vile thing I could imagine.

She drove us out to Danvers and pulled over in front of a Domino’s Pizza shop. She ran inside returning with stacks of coupon booklets. Driving us a little further into some tree-lined suburban neighborhoods, she explained that we were to go door-to-door selling the booklets. From noon until after dinner time.

So, here I am, without transportation, not at all familiar with Eastern Masschusetts, in a car full of strangers, wearing gross borrowed shoes, and being told that my interview task was to sell Domino’s coupons door-to-door.

Tears. Behind my sunglasses, there were tears.

I stuck with the group for a couple of hours. My feet hurt despite the flats, and we didn’t sell a single booklet, despite our driver’s urgings to be more aggressive. By 4:00, I was all set, and I told her to drop me off at the nearest train back to Boston.

I had no idea where I was going, but I wanted to be away from these people and this task. I finally found my way back to Malden via Boston, and after wandering the WRONG parking garage for 45 minutes looking for my car, I was on my way back to my safe little Amherst world.

Looking back, I should have notified the Better Business Bureau or something. I was young and frustrated and I guess I just wanted to move on. Word to the wise, avoid Marketing agencies that have lots of random letters in the name and have lots of words in all caps in the description.

Believe it or not, I have ANOTHER weirdo interview story that spanned the course of 6 interviews, but I will save that for another day.

Do you have a nightmare job interview or job hunting story? If you can laugh about it now, share it with us!

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Tags: job hunting

  1. Megan Johnson’s avatar

    I have been on SO MANY interviews you wouldn’t believe. Including the summer after college when i didn’t know what the hell i was doing, and i admitted i had “Technically been fired” from my job at a boutique…the woman looked at me like i was an idiot. Or there was the one out in Ball Square in somerville, where I was pretty sure the building was abandoned, and the guy showed up hours late after i had taken a train and a bus out there…but some are the worst are the ones that I thought i got and didnt.


  2. Megan’s avatar

    Wow. That is insane. I think I wouldn’t have gotten into the car. They were definitely just using you guys. Coincidentally, my first interview up in the Boston area was in Malden too. I got lost and stuck in traffic and was 45 minutes late to the interview, but by some miracle they still offered me the job. I almost took it but decided on my current job instead because it was easier to get to! I always wonder if I made the right choice that day, sitting on my kitchen floor, crying over two wonderful job offers.

    As far as a nightmare story, that would be the job in children’s publishing, where they offered me $18,000 to start. And again, I cried thinking about how I’d never move out of my parents house. But then miraculously another place called me the day I nearly accepted that offer out of deperation and asked if I wanted to come in for an interview. My first question: how much does it pay?

    I can’t wait to hear your other story!


  3. GirlyGreenGirl’s avatar

    This sounds vaguely familiar, although it was a couple of years later and I never went through with the interview. I forget the company but it was a marketing position in Malden. The night before the interview my boyfriend (now husband) drove me to the location so I’d know where I was going. We pulled up and it was down a dark alley in a not so nice area. He told me there was no way I was working there and we drove off. Finding a job sucks! Good Luck to you, sounds like you have the right attitude. =)


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      I don’t know what I was thinking! Glad you had someone to talk you out of it!


    2. Shanna @ Shanna Like Banana’s avatar

      I’m speechless! That is quite a stroy and I’d be beyond tears if it was happening to me.

      My worst experience was probably while looking for an internship in college. I was a Mechanical Engineer, but a very girly (looking) one. I wen to this interview at GM and they asked if I would have problems with dirty hands and a broken nail. Sexist much?


    3. Kelly’s avatar

      Wow!!! That’s a terrible story!!!

      I fortunately do not have insane interviewing stories. Teaching jobs are pretty straight forward (though not easy to come by). I did show up to my first interview ever to an entire ROOM of people ready to interview me, which was unexpected- but nothing compared to your experience!


    4. Simply Life’s avatar

      oh wow, that is quite the story! Yeah, I’ve definitely learned that it’s just never worth the time and effort to pursue the ones you immediately know are sketchy- good luck with the search, I’m excited to hear what you find!


    5. Shannon’s avatar

      oh man, what a story! it’s incredible the things people get away with…


    6. Enrico’s avatar

      HA! You should see acting auditions . . . scuzzy sounding sketchy biz all the same.


    7. Susan’s avatar

      Same story exactly almost! Except I found myself in a car with strangers around Quincy. I felt so stupid after, it was awful.


    8. Daisy’s avatar

      oh my dear jesus. I can’t believe this is a true story.

      nothing like this has ever gone down on an interview/job of mine but if I were you i would have cried too.


    9. Raija’s avatar

      You have come so far! You are doing so great — you are a total inspiration.


      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        Remember that day? I picked you up in Worcester, and we got Bueno and beers on the way back to Amherst. Worst day ever, but with a great ending! :)


      2. Kari’s avatar

        Aaahhh that’s hilarious! I had basically the same thing happen to me while I was living in New Zealand – shady office location and all. Read the blog post here:


      3. LG’s avatar

        Mine is fairly recent. Was contacted about a “freelance” opportunity – I say that loosely because the job would have required at least 40 hours a week – that would have paid about $400 a week. NO THANK YOU.


      4. alicia’s avatar

        I’ve gone on a lot of interviews – but I can’t top yours! Good LORD.


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