Misleading Job Interview
All I want for my 35th birthday is health insurance.
For some Americans that is still the dream. As a diabetic I am the health insurance equivalent of a leper. I couldn’t get insured if I were willing to pay a million dollars a month. I have to be on a group plan, which means no more freelancing or consulting for me. So, I am going to go out and get a regular, 9-5, bi-weekly paying, prescription-card-offering job.
I put all my friends and family on alert, updated my resume, set up job alerts and dusted off my portfolio. I was ready.
For months all I heard were crickets. Yep. Nada. Zero. Zip. I think the job boards are right, it is an invisible job market, you have to know someone to get in. But then twice in one week I get called for interviews. Yea!! That noise you finally heard, were the towns people rejoicing!
The first job, internet marketing manager, was found by my grandfather in the newspaper. How old school. I didn’t even know that he knew what I did for a living but apparently he was listening and taking notes. I was excited. I loved the product, industry and market. This could be great. I could finally have found a job where I could really settle in. Yay!
I had a pre-interview phone screening, which I passed and had the in-person interview last Friday. On the phone I got a brief overview of the job. She said I would be working with the internet/catalog director as the internet marketing manager to help with email campaigns which involved some merchandising. Sounds straight-forward enough. She assured me I’d get more details from the hiring manager.
All week I mentally gathered all of my web experience – web site development, email campaign creation, web metrics, social media marketing, etc. I could describe my part in all projects. I could wax on poetically about web theory and new softwares for email marketing. I was ready. I didn’t even feel nervous, just ready to dig in. Look at me, all optimistic. It was a real moment. I nearly got verclempt.
On Friday, I re-met with the HR lady who re-qualified me for the job, we went through my experience and she asked me traditional interview questions. What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received? What are your references going to say about you? Blah. Blah. Blah. Do they actually really get valid, usable information from those questions? Anyway, she also gave me the same brief overview of the job, you’ll be working on email campaigns. Now in my mind, the internet marketing manager would be responsible for overseeing all aspects of said email campaigns. You would think.
When I met with the hiring manager I was immediately thrown off by the first question. He wanted me to go through my job history and point-by-point show how I was qualified for the position. Job description? Huh. I hadn’t seen one of those. The nice HR lady didn’t give me one. I told him that I never received one. He slides it over to me and at cursory glance I don’t recognize the responsibilities of the internet marketing manager. I was further thrown off track by a series of questions about statistical theory and process. Again huh.
Then I realized, they don’t want an internet marketing manager they want a marketing analyst. Now, for those wondering what the difference is, let me explain. In my opinion, the internet marketing manager would work on formulating a plan to promote the products on the web through an integrated marketing communications plan. Now what they want is equivalent to an accountant. They want a paper-pushing, number crunching, data juggler. A statistician. Someone who sits and interprets spreadsheet data. All day. ALL. DAY.
So zero creativity. Zero actual involvement with the web, other than generating data the web team will use to deploy campaigns. Yea. I was talking with a friend, and former boss, after the interview and she said they might not know what internet marketing is. No idea.
I was disappointed. I got through the rest of the interview, including the person who previously held the job and one of the team members. They made it crystal clear that this was strictly a numbers job. Hours and hours at a desk on tight deadline to generate reports and help clarify data. Yummy. The team member actually said – Me, words. You, numbers. Kid you not.
No thanks. I really want to write an email to the nice HR lady and tell her she has no clue what the department is actually looking for and that I am no longer interested in this position. Can you do that? Is that appropriate?
Big lesson learned, ask for a full job description. You may not be talking apples to apples unless you see it on paper.
I have another interview next Wednesday for a public relations position. I hope they really aren’t looking for a greeter, food server or bill collector. We’ll see.