Gargoyles, Trollocs And Job Interviews

Posted February 10, 2012 by

You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever, But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun.” – “Tales of Brave Ulysses” – Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp

Career AlleyA strange title on the surface, unless you’ve had the “job interview from hell” (doesn’t really matter if you were the receiver or the giver in this case). We’ve all had our moments, and I’ve been both the receiver and the giver of interviews from hell (although I did not initially plan them that way, but who does?).

Anyway, I remember this one interview I went on for a job that was at a major company and the role was the perfect role for me. I first met with the person who was the manager of the role (let’s call her the “manager”) and was then asked to interview with the two people I was replacing (this should have been the first warning sign).

The next round of interviews was in another building a mile or so away, so the manager gave me cab fare and sent me on my way. The next person I met was the more junior of the two and started out by telling me that she had the job from hell, she hated everyone in the department (including the Manager) and would be glad to move on.

In the middle of the interview this women gets a call from her husband (which she, of course, takes) and all I hear is her husband cursing in a loud voice on the other end of the phone (another warning sign).

I moved on to my next interview (this woman’s manager) where I tried to validate if this was really the job from hell. Besides the fact that this woman spoke so softly I could barely hear her (I’m sure my breathing was louder), she could not answer my questions about the job.

About 10 minutes into this interview I looked at my watch and said “Sorry, I really have to go now. Bye”.

Better to cut the nightmare short than to see it to its logical conclusion. I would love to hear your stories as well.

So, what’s is the moral of this story?

Most interviews are what we make of them. When we are the interviewee we are expected to control the interview and when we are the interviewer we are expected to control the interview (sounds like a conflict to me).

While (hopefully) “interviews from hell” are few and far between, it is up to you as the interviewee to be prepared and ace the interview.

  • 15 Job Interview Horror Stories – This article is from and is definitely worth a read. Some are quite funny (although sad), but all offer good advice as to what not to do. My favorite is #2 (falling asleep at the interview). I’ve actual had this happen twice to me (I didn’t fall asleep, the person I was interviewing did). Every time they stopped talking they started to doze off. Now I know I may not be the most interesting person, but really?

There are all types of interviews these days, including telephone interviews, face-to-face meetings, and group interviews. Whatever kind of interview you may face, it pays to be prepared. You should not only research the company, but also look up your interviewers on LinkedIn, if possible, to gain a leg up in the interview process.

  • Interview Tips and Popular Questions Answered – A variety of interview formats exist in today’s job market. Many job interviews remain in the traditional format: a worker submits an application or resume then interviews with a supervisor after scheduling an interview. However, different companies use different interviewing tactics, and workers need to prepare themselves in any event. The resources, provided by, give job seekers interview tips for thousands of major companies in fields, like retail, restaurants, grocery stores, banking, and the hotel industry.

Okay, what about those dreaded questions? You know, the ones you know they will ask but never have the right answer. One of my all time favorites (to ask, but not to be asked) is “Where do you need to improve?” or “What is your greatest weakness?”. This one get to you too? Read on.

  • Your Greatest Weakness is Your Strength – This article is from and does a great job of covering the “weakness” question. Tim covers the “why is it asked” angle as well as how to respond (although you will need to make this specific to you. Tim also includes an example. But don’t stop there, take a look at all of the other great advice and resources on this site.

Okay, covered most of the topic, but I do feel obligated to cover at least one more “what not to do” and “how to prepare for your interview”. So here goes.

  • Top 10 Interview offers some advice on what you shouldn’t do on an interview. Some seem fairly basic and some are a matter of taste (as in dress appropriately – you would be surprised as to what some people think this means). Overall, these are things you should know so it is definitely worth a read. In some cases, such as “don’t talk too much”, you may not actually know you are talking too much (and you are probably not likely to get this feedback). What makes it even more difficult is the next piece of advice which is “don’t talk enough”.
  • I have a job interview, now what? – One of my favorites (okay, so what if I wrote it?). One of my early posts on how to prepare for an interview. If you’ve been job hunting for a period of time, you know that interviews can be few and far between. This article provides a number of tips, supported by a few links to provide more information.

Good luck in your search (and your interview!).

Author: CareerAlley

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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