I remember my first great interview gone wrong. It was epic, really, if you don’t consider my feelings. I was a 23-year-old, laid off, underpaid job seeker during the dotcom bubble. Then after six weeks of unemployment, I was offered a “good job.”
At the time, “good” meant sending checks regularly and not having to sit with my thoughts. I didn’t get into the “how much money I need to survive,” math. I needed a paycheck. Something. I would figure it out.
To say I was figuring anything out was a big stretch. I paid half my monthly income for a crappy studio. Add utilities, student loans, insurance, and my other adult bills? I was dipping into my savings every month to eat.
When the recruiter called to ask if I was interested in a new job, I was. After a few calls, phone interviews, and explanations about team “quirks,” I scheduled my in-person meeting. It was marathon-style; I would be talking to 6 people over 4 hours.
After the first 5 conversations, I was feeling great. I wanted this job. I mean, imagine little baby Katrina. So excited for the future. All the big-eyed hopes and dreams. Hungry.
But not the soft skill kind. My stomach was growling. The last interview was starting at 4:30 pm.
It didn’t start at 4:30. Or 5. My head began spinning with questions. Is this “the test interview?” I read about them in articles before. Did I miss an instruction? How long until I pass if this is the test?
Two hours later, I quit. I asked someone in the hallway where I could find my interviewer. After a tour and drop-off, I briefly introduced myself and then blurted out, “If this is the test, I fail.”
“Oh my God, I forgot you,” he said. “No one told me.”
We both started to laugh, but I think I was closer to tears than I’ll ever admit. The VP of Marketing forgot me. I just spent a week picking my shirt, scheduling PTO, working with a recruiter for three weeks, buying and printing my resume on the nice paper I did not have money for… and you forgot me?
I can’t believe I waited that long, or that I even stayed to speak to him after that. I mean, I know why. I was broke and hungry. Clearly, not thinking straight. I have a few awkward dating stories I can explain with that same logic from this period of my life.
But I’m not special. Do candidates come to applications with all kinds of motivations? Yes. That kind of patience? Rarely.
Even 10+ years later, it’s evident to me the system is very broken. This scenario still happens every day. Making hiring work without human intervention often creates momentum toward recruiting ignorance and slight improvements in this sucky status quo, for now at least.
That’s how I feel about augmented writing tools - you can’t just plug them in and expect better writing the next day. You need to train your team on the new baseline and define good content first. That’s what I wrote about in this week’s blog post. I’m also sharing a post from one of my favorite humans, Amy Miller, about terrible recruiting outreach and my upcoming webinar on how to turn your hiring managers into content creators that send referrals.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend -
PS I hope you all know I love your responses to these letters. Don’t ever hesitate to hit reply and tell me what you think or share your ideas.