I recently lamented that my job search – targeting companies I’d aspired to work for either because of reputation or an alignment of values and lifestyle – was now becoming more a competition of companies racing to prove themselves unworthy of their reputations…
Case in point, I just completed an interview review on Glassdoor for an interview I had with Columbia Sportswear. I’d been talking to people about it for a while and finally decided that bitching and moaning might be therapeutic to me, but it rarely solves a problem.
Here’s the thing, a couple months ago I applied for this store manager job with them. It’s a role I’m extremely qualified for and Columbia Sportswear is an iconic Portland company. It’s also practically a B Corp, so good values, too.
Impressing me even more, the district manager called me the very next day, which was a Friday. We set up an interview for the following Monday, then he signed off saying something like, “If anything changes, I’m in the stores this weekend so just call”. I countered with I hadn’t expected him to be working the weekend when I suggested Monday as my interview day. He offered to meet me Saturday and I agreed, knowing that Mondays in retail don’t usually leave a ton of time for interviews.
Interview wisdom dictates that the best timing for interviewees is either to be the first or last person interviewed. If you’re the first person and crush it, everyone else has to overcome the bar you set. If you’re the last person and stick your landing, everyone before you suddenly blends into one big amalgam of an applicant.
I was first, in this case and learned the DM was only seeing three people before making an offer on Tuesday.
I did not crush the interview, by any means. For whatever reason, the DM hadn’t offered to take my jacket when we got to the office. Once he closed the door, the office immediately began to heat up. Within 10 minutes, I was sweating like the proverbial whore in church and took off my jacket. It took me another 10 minutes to stop sweating.
It was insane.
However, we joked about it and I kept knocking his questions out of the park.
What’s with my gay ass and sports analogies I have no business making?!?
His questions were biplanes and I was fucking King Kong. That’s an analogy I can back up.
He makes a point of talking about his husband. I make a point of not asking if they are in one of those ridiculous open relationships that is the herpes of Portland gay culture. Still, I ran a back burner argument during the interview about why him basically coming out to me during the interview bothered me when I know if he’d been a woman talking about her husband I wouldn’t have even noticed it.
I left the interview entertaining myself about being able to finish third for a job after a string of second runners up. In reality though, I knew I crushed it. But that whole sweating thing was bugging me. I finally felt comfortable with my answer to why I left my last job and we seemed to find common ground in my statement that if companies were going to go to the trouble of printing an employee handbook, they should bother to ensure their executives take them seriously and hold management teams accountable to supporting them. It was good, finally not awkward or defensive.
So, the following week I get a voicemail from this guy asking me to call him back so we can discuss the job. I held the phone away from my face, surprised that I might have actually gotten the job.
I call him back, only to have him tell me that he went with another candidate. What kind of fuck you tom foolery is this? You can leave that in a voicemail. But he goes out of his way to say he liked me as an applicant and wanted me to know that he’d keep me in mind for future openings.
Normally, I give these words my best Shania Twain. They don’t impress me much. But he’d gone out of his way to make sure we spoke. Who knows?
Flash forward a month.
The job is reposted.
I wait a day and verify through multiple sources – including the company’s own website – that the posting isn’t just a ghost from the earlier ad.
So I email the guy.
This kind of surprised me and kind of didn’t. He hadn’t responded to my “thanks for your time, blah-blah-blah” email that I’d sent after my interview either. I’m more than willing to accept the margin of error associated with me mistyping an email address. This was also all pre-Craigslist new laptop, too. It could easily have happened.
So…I called him.
I leave a great voicemail, balancing my continuing interest in position with an absolute absence of “neener-neener-neener”.
He never calls back.
Except, that whole conversation we had about companies walking the talk keeps hollering back at me. After a couple of weeks, I go onto Glassdoor and leave an interview review.
Y’know, I remember when I was a young buck, the thrill of getting a waiter fired on the flimsiest of pretenses, even though the reality was that he probably just failed to flirt appropriately…
Then white women with a certain haircut ruined that for me and I had to satisfy myself with a certain generic grumpiness. Imagine my surprise, if you can, to seeing this pop up on my phone today.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I doubt this guy was promoted in the days and hours following my Hiroshima moment on the Glassdoor…