Hot flashes and other inapproriate interview topics

I interviewed an applicant this morning who responded to an ad for a part time job.  She was a whirlwind, coming in 20 minutes late and blaming the traffic (see post “Summer in Saratoga”).  Out of breath and scattered, she filled out the application and sat to talk with me a bit. 

At first it was just her multi-colored eyes that threw me (right brown, left green), but then she started flamboyantly fanning herself with a copy of her resume.  I was ignoring it as well as I could, but she kept pointing out what she was doing — giving me a narrative of her actions.  She wanted me to know that she was aware of how she was acting, lest I think that she may actually be peculiar. 

She thought it important that I know she was having a hot flash.  One that started down at her feet and worked it’s way up her legs, into her torso, then to her face.  She told me that her legs and neck were sweaty.  Oh yes, and she also wanted me to know that she has no problem working in a professional office, one where she could perhaps report directly to a vice president or someone else who she could “pick up dry cleaning for.” 


At that point, I was scanning the room for the hidden camera.  I must be on some hidden camera show, right? 

In all fairness, she isn’t the worst I’ve seen.  I’ve worked in my position in staffing for over 4.5 years and at last count, I’ve conducted at least 3,500 interviews.  Here are some things to avoid while interviewing:  (ps. these are just from the last 2 weeks)

–Why you were fired from McDonald’s, even if it wasn’t your fault that the younger males in the kitchen complained sexual harassment against you (as a woman)

–Giving details about how that felony statutory rape conviction came to pass, calling yourself “sleazy” in your own interview

–Exhibiting obvious disinterest in any position which requires a drug test

–Using profanity before listing all of the homes that you’ve been kicked out of in the last 6 months

–Having a violent, boiling hot flash and admitting to it while brazenly fanning yourself with your own resume

 The list continues, but I only have so much time and space here.

What’s most curious is that if you were to ask these candidates if they EVER would do such a thing in an interview, they most certainly would deny it.  They’d probably say that only fools self-incriminate and I’ve never interviewed a self-aware fool.  Except for that lady today who knew she was having a hot flash. 

Occasionally I’ll catch a candidate contradicting themselves.  I point it out.  They usually claim that point number two, the most recent comment they made, was the actual truth.  That first point was…well, they didn’t really mean that. (Insert waving hand gesture to signal their blowing off of their own words).

This isn’t to say that I don’t interview many normal, delightful people.  They speak well, they speak appropriately and they speak consistantly.  I suppose I could write an entry about a good candidate, but would you read it through the end?  I wouldn’t.  I may not even write it though to the end.



3 Responses to “Hot flashes and other inapproriate interview topics”

  1. July 30, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I feel like I just watched an episode of COPS, which I only watch when I want to feel better about my life. This entry achieved the same high. I always enjoy your interview stories. Keep them coming…

  2. 2 Kristin
    July 30, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Yeah, I got this one while interviewing someone for a position when I was managing in the retail world…”I won’t really be able to promise that I’d be at work on time because both me and my boyfriend have our licenses suspended for DUI’s…and we’re living in a motel kinda far away…but when I COULD be there I know I’d be a good worker…” OK, well, uh, thanks for applying…

  3. July 31, 2007 at 1:32 am

    I think sometimes people believe that telling the truth about who they are upfront makes them seem like they won’t hide anything from you while working. Usually what they offer up front is just the tip of the iceberg. (this holds true for me too) I’ve gone in for an interview and sat with others waiting and thought to myself, “Oh, they stopped off at the interview before heading to the night club.” Boy have I seen some outfits for office jobs.

    Now, I hate to brag here (that’s not true) but when I did work if I got an interview I got the job. I knew if I could get the interview I’d be hired. I interview well its just once I get there my abilities don’t match up with my mental health problems. Yes, that’s what you just read. I have skills but being a basket case doesn’t allow me to consistently follow through on tasks. LOL. There’s a bit of honesty for you….the tip of the iceberg kind of thing. LOL I find it necessary to say that when I wasn’t such a basket case I was a great employee. Basket Case is now my full time job but I don’t get paid very well for it.

    Austin (on the wrong side of sanity)

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