Oh, Go Ahead, Just Say It

Everything you always wanted to say in a job interview but were afraid to.

You’ve worked for many years – for good bosses and bad. You’ve been hired for jobs; maybe even fired from jobs. You’ve read books and articles (and columns by “experts”) about how to find jobs, keep jobs and how to handle interviews. And by this time – if you’re like I am – you’re sometimes sick and tired of the whole darn thing.

Haven’t you ever daydreamed about not playing the corporate game of relentless positivism for a day and telling recruiters and interviewers precisely what you think of them? Or maybe asking them the same kind of stupid questions they ask you?

If that’s the case, join me in a Walter Mitty fantasy. Let me share some of my cynical observations and malicious questions. These are some of the things I’ve always wanted to utter to recruitment idiots and their minions, but was too chicken, desperate or slow-witted to say at the time. Feel free to add your own.

Let’s start with recruiters. Most will consider you an ideal candidate because you do the one thing they demand – you breathe. Here’s what to ask about the “great” position they’re sending you out on:

* Should I be concerned that Fortune calls the company one of the 10 worst in America to work for?

* Can you tell me something about the nine people who had the job in the past two years?

* If I’m making $50,000 a year now and they’re offering $35,000, how is this a growth opportunity for me?

* Can you explain what the job description means by 120 percent travel?

* Is a “matrix, dotted-line reporting environment” one where four bosses dump on you?

* Does “transition phase” mean the company doesn’t have a clue about what it’s doing?

When you get to the human resources department, here are some questions you can ask and interesting points you can make:

* You seem to be very skilled in petty bureaucracy. Before working here, were you a supervisor in the Czechoslovakian motor vehicle department?

* My greatest strength? I can make myself believe any nonsense the company tells me.

* My biggest weakness? I stalk the children of HR personnel, lure them into fluorescent-lit cubicles and ask them where they want to be in five years.

* Do you pay bonuses to workers to rat on their co-workers and suck up to bosses?

* I sometimes need extra motivation. Can I get a $50 million bonus like the CEO?

Finally, some questions and comments for your potential future boss:

* I see from the way you just yelled at your assistant, you’re a petty tyrant. Would that apply to me, too, or would you simply ignore me?

* Yes I get along superbly with demanding and difficult bosses. I’m insane.

* The only benefits I care about are on-site showers and vending machines. I’m a workaholic and I intend to live in my office 24/7.

* Team player? We don’t even know that dirty “I” word. We are always thinking of the team.

(c) Article Copyright 2000 Evan Cooper. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA

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