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Interview Experiences To Forget

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Have you had one of those yourself?

Oh there have been more than a few for me. Without bringing up those early teenage interviews for part-time local jobs, there are not-so-fond memories of interviews as an adult and a professional that I’d like to forget. But some of this stuff makes you stronger – or so they say. Guess which one I walked out on.

Here’s a select few that come to mind and give me a headache:


Meeting with a national restaurant chain for a recruiting director role. Invited to hotel room suite with large conference table next to a bed and the usual hotel furnishings. The powers that be sat me down to verify who I was and then tried to put me to work – right then and there, to help interview restaurant management candidates that were lined up in the hallway.


Meeting with an upscale steakhouse chain for regional director of recruiting. The initial interview (albeit more than 4 hours long) went well and the feeling of mutual fit was evident. Then it was time to meet with a newly appointed regional GM a week later, at one of the downtown locations. That GM was late and left me to be seated with another local GM who was not permitted to even begin conversation with me. She was instructed wait. And wait we did. The ‘big guns’ GM was about the most rude and unprofessional interview I had been on, in consideration for such a position with such a high profile organization. This individual was intentionally trying to embarrass me in front of staffers who were falling at his feet. I was hesitant to order anything at this ‘dinner time’ interview but I was well aware that in the hospitality industry – it’s part of the process. And a good opportunity to witness manners and more across the table. This person excused himself for cell phone calls at the bar more times than I could count.


Another interview with a large restaurant/entertainment venue to open in Chicago. As I was all about openings, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to pursue. I checked in at a hotel to meet with the individual (another GM) as the new venue was not ready with offices, so business meetings were all set up in the hotel (upscale) across the street. When I checked in I was asked to go to a specific hotel room. I asked if it was more of an office suite and was told it was a standard hotel room. I refused and asked to be met downstairs. So this GM, cowboy hat and all decided we should meet in the ‘cigar bar’. Did I mention I can’t manage even being around cigarette smoke!!?!? Did I mention I was wearing too tight of a skirt suit to be able to sit comfortably on these cigar bar stools with no backs or support?

The questions posed to me were more than inappropriate and were bordering on the line of impertinent and illegal. See, these people need me. These managers in key roles need to know how to interview, what to avoid, etc. But these temp GMs brought in for major openings really don’t seem to care that much about long term quality and work more to fill their quotas and get the hell outta town.


Interview with a 24/7 family restaurant chain to head their recruiting regionally. I knew right away I did not want this job after just minutes. Although the person interviewing me was professional enough, I knew I did not want to be responsible for staffing the forever-turning over staff of this type of restaurant. The man was so desperate to fill this role I was being considered for that he didn’t want to let me leave. The interview went on for a good two hours before I made him understand my appreciation yet my disinterest.


Interview with a major travel organization for a similar role where the man interviewing me spent most of the time taking calls. There was a full office staff that could have kept them from coming. But when he would get a thought in his head about something other than what/who was sitting in front of him – he would place calls. It was just crazy!


Interviewing to head the HR function of a national restaurant and entertainment organization at a local venue. Met at the corporate offices first downtown Chicago for a good 2-3 hours that included some standardized management testing. My first contact was impressed enough to start introducing me to others in the organization and the decision was made to send me off to meet with the GM of actual location I would be responsible for, and who I would report to. Did I mention this was on a Friday afternoon? Well, as most of us know – those afternoons after hectic weeks are not that energizing. For some, complete exhaustion sets in. Especially in the hospitality industry which requires often a 24/7 presence and level of support. Which is exactly what happened when I finally arrived by taxi (had to leave my car at corporate). I get to meet with a man who would eventually hire me, just as I was starting to lose my voice. As I was losing my voice, he now had just slits where his eyes were prior. He was starting to doze! Was I that boring? Was he that disinterested? Was he that exhausted? Would I be like that too – if I was hired to work there?

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