Saturday, April 9, 2011

How to Ruin an Interview

Happy Saturday morning to you!  As usual, I'm teaching lessons and you are hopefully relaxing with your coffee.  Dod and Cowgirl Slim are here to help me through.  I hope you have such great helpers in your life.

Today I am going to tell you a story about someone I interviewed who would not have been a great helper.  He is Dod's cousin-in-law.  Dod gave him a good recommendation, except, "He's a little flighty."

I reminded Dod I had just suffered through two years of Mindy's flightiness.  I didn't think I could do more.  He said, "No, not like that."  I took his word for it and scheduled the interview.

Let me tell you, Dod's cousin-in-law, Moses, was flighty exactly like Mindy.  It was like Mindy was in male form and coming for her interview all over again.  But this time, the interview was actually worse.  Remember, I was fool enough to hire Mindy.

Mindy was very late for her interview.  As time went on, I promised myself I'd never hire someone who was very late for an interview again.  Guess what? Moses called maybe 20 minutes before his interview to say he'd be about 20 minutes late.  He was 30 minutes late.

When he came in, he told me he was sorry he was late.  He said he had run into someone.  His car was all bashed-up.  I assumed he meant he literally ran into someone.  I thought he had a fender bender.

No, it came out later in the interview that he meant he ran into someone in the hallway at school.  He wanted to talk to that person.  It was nothing urgent.  He just wanted to chat with them.

Ok, this is not what you tell an interviewer.  It makes a very bad impression.  But, Moses wasn't finished making a bad impression.  Oh no, not yet.

As he chatted on through the interview in a fairly meandering way, he mentioned he has back trouble.  I said this job involves lifting items up to 70 lbs fairly often.  Square bales of hay weigh 70 lbs.  Bag of feed weigh 50 lbs.  The corral panels weigh 50 lbs.  I asked him if this would be a problem.  Well, he said, he wasn't sure.  Another strike.

Folks, if you are interviewing for a job that involves manual labor, don't call for the interview if you have a bad back.  They aren't going to hire you.  Why?  Because you are a law suit waiting to happen.  

Then, poor Moses meandered on through his life's story.  I have specific questions that I ask. Those questions pertain to farm work and experience. I have no idea how this interview had gone so off course.

He was trying to make peace with his father.  His girlfriend broke-up with him. His heart was still healing from all of this.  All of that heart break and heart healing makes it hard for him to focus. He wasn't sure if he could commit to anything right now. I'm serious folks, he actually told me almost this exact phrase.

I wanted to say, "Well then why are you wasting my time?  Why did you ask Dod if I was hiring?  Why did you call and ask me for a job?  You are the one who said you can't commit to anything right now...bad back, broken heart, and all."  But, I didn't.  I barely even thought it.

This kid was pitiful.  And, he was 20 years old.  He should know better than to say all of this in an interview.

What I did say was, "Are you in therapy?  Are you seeing someone for counseling?  A minister?  Is there a campus counseling center you can go to?"  I was serious.  I'm a former family therapist. Moses needed professional help in my assessment.

Moses told me he wasn't in any sort of counseling.  He said he was waiting on Jesus to heal him.  I thought, "Moses, that may take a while."  I may have even said that out loud.

I didn't say, but wanted to, "You know Moses, Jesus made therapists for a reason."  Of course, you know, Jesus doesn't show-up in person to work through these issues with you.

I'm not discounting the power of prayer.  I'm not saying Jesus can't change your life.  I'm just saying, when you need to do this kind of detail work so you can function, like in a job interview, that maybe Jesus is pointing you towards a good therapist--especially when the interviewer suggests it. Friends, if the interviewer gently suggests you check out therapy, the interview is not going well at all.

Finally, as the interview wound down, I suggested Moses let his heart and back heal some more.  I suggested he work on his priorities and how they effect his punctuality.  I suggested he really think about if this job is right for him.

I suggested he may want to work as a volunteer for a day.  That way he'd have a better idea about it.  I suggested he call me when Jesus was finished with healing his heart.

I also thanked him for his honesty.  His honesty saved me a lot of trouble.  I could have had another Mindy on staff.  Except it could have been worse.  It could have been Mindy with a bad back and even more emotional problems than the original!

Moses called me a few days later.  He left a message saying he wasn't ready to work yet.  He wasn't ready for any job or any responsibility right now.  He still had healing to do.

I simply told Dod that Moses, "Took himself out of consideration for the job."  I didn't want to violate interviewer-interviewee confidentiality.  I had been a therapist for too long.  And, that interview, let me tell you folks, it felt like I was conducting a therapy session.

You want to know the scary part?  Moses wants to teach Bible in a Christian grade school.  And, his student teaching begins soon.

Remember he didn't want a job with any responsibility? I hope he takes my advice before then.  Otherwise, there are going to be some confused Christian school children.

You really don't want a student teacher who is in desperate need of therapy in charge of your child's Bible studies.  It will cause confusion, I guarantee you. That is, unless he runs into someone he wants to talk to.  Then, he may not make it to class at all.

This is my prayer for Moses, "Dear Lord, please help heal Moses.  Please direct him to a good therapist's office.  And, help him know what to say in an interview from now on.  Don't let him have another interview like this one, Lord.  The poor boy will never find a job. Amen."

Friends, take a few tips from Moses' interview.  Don't say these things to a potential employer.  If you know you aren't physically fit for the job, don't call and ask for an interview.  If you know you aren't mentally ready to work, same thing.  Don't waste the interviewer's time.

So, who did I hire? I hired Phil.  Phil gave a much better interview.  But, then you know how Phil worked out.  If you don't, go back and read, "Phone It In."  Phil isn't here anymore.

But, I found out that Dod's plans to go to Rwanda, instead of Pakistan, will enable him to stay through the summer. Rose wants to stay through the summer, too.  Cowgirl Slim wants to transition from barn baby to paid employee at the end of the summer. Jesus may be looking out for me after all.  Thank you, Jesus!

Uhhh, the people who really know me, now think I've been hanging around the herd of little Christians too long and that I need a vacation.  I don't normally say things like that out loud.  I like to keep my conversations with Jesus between me and Him.  I'm just odd that way.

Have a good Saturday.  Don't ruin you next interview.  Thanks for reading!

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