Given the fact that I’ve held so many jobs over the course of my life, I’ve been to way too many job interviews. Most of the time I walked away feeling good, pretty confident in my chances of getting the job, but there have been a few occasions where I knew that I would never hear from the company again, and those, the one’s that are more fun to talk about despite the fact that I didn’t go on to work there, are what I’m sharing with you today. All three of the following stories happened in Florida, and I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not that they happened in the place I hated living most, but perhaps there’s something in the warm air along the coast of the Atlantic that makes strange things happen.
When I first moved to Florida I was desperate to find a job. I got hired as a sign holder for a store closing sale and got sunburned for two straight days before never hearing from that employer again, and the next job interview I had was for the position of busboy at an Italian restaurant, so when I got the news that they were interested in hiring me, I was excited about finally finding a job. I showed up at ten in the morning, an hour before the restaurant opened, and was shown to a table in the corner, where I waited at least half an hour before the owner of the restaurant came out to speak to me. He looked like a character off the sopranos, and by the time the interview concluded, I was convinced that he was in fact a member of the Italian mob. He kept mentioning that he was looking for someone who would be loyal and wanted someone who could keep their mouth shut and just do as they were told. When I asked about the pay, he told me that cash would be slipped to me throughout my shift, depending on how busy they were that day. I played it cool and told him I was definitely the man for the job, and he told me to be back that night for the dinner shift. I never returned.
After my wife and I got married and we returned to Florida from our honeymoon, I was working at Subway, yes the sandwich shop, and desperate to find a job that paid more money and didn’t leave me smelling like baked bread hours after I’d gotten home from work. I got an interview for a customer service position, answering phones in a call center. To this day I have no idea what the company actually did, but nevertheless it was a full time job that paid pretty good, so I really wanted the job. The interview went pretty well until I was asked the final question, and I don’t know whether it was intended to be the last question or if my answer was just so bad that they decided to end the interview then, but more than likely it was probably the latter. I was asked to tell them my biggest weakness, a common job interview question that I absolutely hate. I have plenty of weaknesses, but trying to come up with one that wouldn’t make me sound like a terrible employee proved to be too difficult for me on that day. I sat in front of the interviewer, trying to come up with an answer, unable to do so. Finally, after almost ten minutes of silence had passed I just told him that I didn’t have any weaknesses, and he thanked me for coming in and promised to call me if I were selected for the job. I didn’t get that phone call.
After my real estate career had failed and I realized that I was losing more money than I was making trying to sell houses, I was again desperate to find a job, any job that could provide me with a reliable income, which is how I found myself at a table in Ruby Tuesday, at 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon. The interview was going pretty well until I was thrown a curveball. I was asked if I were a disney character, who would I be, and I answered with the first thing that came to my mind, my favorite character, Captain Hook. “Please explain.” It was a terrible answer and I had no idea how to bounce back from it, so I just told her that I thought of all the disney villains, Captain Hook was the most likable, basically calling myself evil, albeit likable. Either she was not impressed, or was terrified at the possibility of hiring a villainous waiter, and once again, I was excused from the interview and never heard back from them again. It’s okay, I didn’t really want to work at Ruby Tuesday any way. I don’t even like eating there.