The Nine Hour Interview

“So, this is your resume?”

In my daily job searching and periodic interviewing for better positions (such as a guy that drives around town picking up dog shit), I was reminiscing of the wonderful interview process undertaken at Telescreen Inc almost two years ago. Good thing I’ve written down every ESP interaction and Telescreen misstep since my first week on the job, or else I’d forget all the finer details. If you happen to be in a rush and want me to skip over the details, I can do that too. I’ll sum up the Telescreen interview process in two simple words: Fucking stupid. There you go, now get onto more important things like making origami animals or something.

I fatefully drove by the massive Telescreen call center one day and saw a hiring sign. I was unemployed and needed a job, simple as that. I knew it was a shitty company and the the job would probably blow, but I thought it could get me by “for the time being.” Little did I know that meant two years and counting…

That night I went online to apply, and was immediately greeted by a whole bunch of bullshit. You don’t just send them your resume, you’ve got to earn the honor to apply, or at least that’s the way it seemed. You can’t just send your resume, you’ve got to fill out pages and pages of additional information instead. That’s standard with a lot of applications, but it wasn’t a real job. I mean, it’s a fucking call center.

After the standard bullshit, it took a turn towards true Telescreen fashion as they made me take some ridiculous assessments. First, you had the behavioral assessments that many of us have taken. Obviously you don’t select “yes” under “Would you steal the manager’s car and drive it through a living room window?” I clicked along as there were more of these, and more, and more. Why so many worthless questions? I mean, it’s a fucking call center.

Then I really got pissed when I encountered math questions. Yep, fucking math in the application process. I was greeted by a shit-ton of standardized test questions like I was trying to get into advanced math class or something. I never had a problem with math, but my schooling is now done, and that bullshit is behind me. Why the fuck would I have to prove my algebra skills to some dick-weed HR jokers? I mean, it’s a fucking call center.

After all of the tests, forms, and math quizzes, I took a look at the clock and realized that it was a three hour process. What the fuck? Since when do call centers think they’re that important? I decided that Telescreen was a waste of time and I would be better off poor and unemployed, which looking back, would have been a GREAT decision. Yet very fatefully, I immediately got an auto response giving me a time and day for an interview. Good thing I didn’t have anything else to do that day, because I was supposed to be there at that exact day and time with no option to reschedule.

So a few days later, off I went. I suited up, grabbed the resume, and headed to the HR wing of the gigantic call center where Telescreen is located. Once inside, things looked a little different than a typical office. It wasn’t much different than a call center, as it was cubicles, headsets, and computers. I immediately felt out of place by virtue of the fact that I was wearing a suit when jeans seemed to be the norm with the interviewees. Who cares, it’s a fucking call center.

They called me back and off I went into an interrogation room that reminded me of something from a shitty cop drama. Some guy that looked like he was in high school quizzed me on a series of very formulaic questions. He asked me all the same dumbass, bullshit questions you get when you’re trying to get a shitty retail job. It’s not really what you say in that case, but moreover if you answer the stupid fucking questions correctly. For example: “Where do you see your future at Telescreen?” Um, I don’t see any future here you asshole, it’s a fucking call center.

They sent me back out to sit and wait, until I was finally called to the reception area. The HR broad said they wanted to interview me for another department that was in need of people on the commercial side, a step up from the normal customer service rep position I had applied for. I agreed and was then led to one of the many computers to take tests…again. These test were a little different, and involved listening and responding to pre-recorded billing and tech questions. It was a little weird recording responses to nonexistent calls, but it definitely beat Algebra 101.

After over an hour of dumbass tests, I was back on the waiting bench, and then heading to the Law and Order area for interrogation #2. Another young interviewer asked me even more stupid fucking questions, all of which I tried to answer using the bullshit skills I gained in high school and college. I was next led to a different waiting area in the back of the HR department, where I sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally I was told I would be contacted back, and off I went after four wasted hours in a fucking call center.

Later that week, I got an email saying I should apply for the third time to Super Department, which they said was a step above the other two departments. I would have to start as a customer service rep, but then could move on to the “top tier of the call center.” Yeah right, it’s still a fucking call center.

I of course had to do another hour of SAT tests, and suit the fuck up again to head back into the building for a third interview. This time, I interviewed with a manager in an actual office, and though he asked tons of worthless questions, it was a little more like a real interview. The weird thing was that he was wearing a Laker’s jersey (really) and the “office” was completely bare, minus a shitty computer on a desk and a few pens (really).

I felt pretty good after that one , but at the same time, I was tired of the bullshit. What kind of fucked up company can’t even figure out how to interview you or what position to put you in? The final tally for the interview: Nine hours. Nine…fucking…hours. Was I trying to get into the CIA or something? Nope, just a goddamn call center.

I eventually got a call back with a job offer to start in a few weeks, but wisely held off in accepting because I had another much better job prospect in the works. My interview experience thus far had proven what I already knew going in -that Telescreen was a piece of shit. Eventually though, I gave in and decided to accept just in case the other job possibility fell through (which it did). The rest, as they say, is shitty, because I’m still at Telescreen two years later. On that fateful day, I gained some wisdom: If you have to spend nine hours interviewing for a fucking call center job, get the Hell out of there immediately. Be smart and just tell yourself, “It’s a fucking call center.”

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7 thoughts on “The Nine Hour Interview

  1. Nine hours? Are you sure you work at Telescreen and haven’t accidentally died and ended up in Purgatory?

    Oh, and did you get the mandatory “So, would you describe yourself as a people person?” and, “Can you give me an example of a problem you’ve encountered in a previous position, and how you solved that problem?” bullshit questions?

    I love those. In the same way I love testicular cancer.

    • Well on a daily basis at Telescreen I assume I’ve died and gone to Hell. The interview process must have been the Purgatory before all of that then.

      Yes, all of those bullshit situation questions were asked. After three separate interviews, I got them all.

  2. I want to know WHO designs the hiring process. I have this idea that there is a secret consulting firm that sells their hiring process to companies. If they sell it to a few really large corporations, then everybody else buys it-just like everybody wanted to buy J.Crew because the Obama’s wear it. Don’t get me wrong, I think J. Crew has a fine line of clothing, and the Obamas are a fine family…but if a celebrity wears something-ANYTHING-the Herd rushes out to mimic them. Same with corporations. I worked with a company that did those Team Builder retreats. You know, say anything you want, because there are no titles at the retreat. Team building is the only objective at The Retreat. Those retreats cost more than a decent pay raise (which would have gone a lot farther to build the Team Spirit) but we had to go. One girl stupidly believed the hype about Say Anything. She said if the department manager didn’t spend so much time downloading movies our own computers would work faster….she mysteriously disappeared a few weeks later. The manager in question is the owner’s son-in-law so he ain’t going anywhere. Just sayin’.

    • Your theory very may be correct, who knows who sets up hiring processes. Either way, it’s well contrived, but inevitably stupid.

      As for team building retreats, the day Telescreen did that, I’d fall out of my chair. Or maybe just have a heart attack. I would be much less surprised to receive a memo advising employees not to speak with their coworkers. The funny thing about those “team” things, is that they are always counter intuitive. Employees enjoy a day of not working, the employer wastes a large portion of money, and as you pointed out, it may not always be of benefit to the employees. Well, the employees that are stupidly honest about their workplace anyway.

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