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Hell Week Blues

Editor’s note: The Humor Section this week is more of a gossip column, comprised of desperate career-seekers’ woes. All of the following is an amalgamation of actual hell-week exchanges. The “humor” here comes from the fact that this stuff actually happened. Some disguising has been done, of course – not that it matters, these people were clearly getting a big fat ding anyway – but while some specifics have been changed, this is the real deal. RCs: take note, and commence weeping now.

Recruiter: Well, you’re the last interview of the day – I’m so exhausted, the last thing I want to do is another one of these stupid interviews. Bad news for you, eh?

I haven’t had a chance to read your resume yet, so give me a second. [less than a second is taken]. Hey wait a minute, what’s your name again? Hmmm. You know, that was a mistake. We didn’t actually want to interview you. You must have been contacted by mistake [consults some more papers]. Oh yes – you were supposed to be on our “rejected” list!

Well, anyway, I see that you have “Harvard Business School” right at the top like everyone else – I have to say, I don’t understand why our HR people only let us recruit at schools like Harvard. If it were up to me, we would avoid you over-ambitious over-achievers and get people that actually know how to work in teams. Heck, I need people that can do real work, not over-rated hot-shots that want to be the CEO from day one.

Well, let’s get this over with…What’s wrong with your current job? It seems like you were good at it – why not stay in it?

HBS Interviewee: Well, I want to make some changes in my career; see, the whole point of coming to business school for me was to change [is interrupted by Recruiter]

Recruiter: Yeah, while we’re on that topic, why did you even come to business school to begin with? Doesn’t it seem like a waste of time?

Anyway. You used to work at a top-tier firm that is much more prestigious than ours; why are you lowering yourself to apply here?

HBS Interviewee: Well, I’d like to experience a different corporate culture.

Recruiter: But, our firm was founded by former employees of your firm. Our culture is modeled off of your culture. In fact, we strive to be exactly like your old company’s culture.

HBS Interviewee: Um, yes, well – I’d like the challenge of working for a second-tier firm and helping to grow it to greatness. It seems more exciting than working for the market leader.

Recruiter: So, why do you want to work in investment banking to begin with?

HBS Interviewee: I don’t. I just need a job that will let me pay off my loans.

Recruiter: You’re applying to work in one of our offices in Japan, yet you’re clearly a non-Japanese-American.

HBS Interviewee: I’m fluent in Japanese; I’ve been studying it for years, and I’ve lived in Japan and Korea.

Recruiter: No; Asia is a very xenophobic place. Foreigners can never succeed there, even if they know the language.

HBS Interviewee: Wait a minute – you’re a non-Japanese, working in Japan…and yet you seem to be succeeding well!

Recruiter: That’s different.

Anyway, did you have a chance to review the materials we sent out to prepare for interviews?

HBS Interviewee: You mean the business plan you wanted me to write, the one that would help your company beat all of its competitors?

Recruiter: Yes.

HBS Interviewee: Umm, isn’t that sort of your job? I mean, it seems like this is just a way to get good ideas on how to beat your competition from job candidates, not offer them jobs, and then get a ton of well-researched, well-thought out ideas for free!

Recruiter: Yeah, that is sort of what we’re doing. But we also sent you that article, the one on how Black and Scholes derived their famous formula. What did you think of it?

HBS Interviewee: Oh my God, you were serious about that?

Recruiter: Yes.

HBS Interviewee: Oh.

Well, thanks so much for this interview – do you mind if I get your contact information?

Recruiter: What for?

HBS Interviewee: Uh, to send you a thank-you note after the interview?

Recruiter: No, I think that would be a waste of both your time and my business cards.

November 15, 2004
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