I was super excited to be going to New York for the first time. Not only because Zach and I had never taken a trip together like this, but because I had 3 interviews lined up. I was proud of myself for securing these interviews in the big city. One of them was bound to work out, right?
The first of my three interviews was at a company in the Financial District. It seemed legitimate. I was eager, and did not know yet how to spot a misinforming job post ( later, I would learn that words like “sales,” “customer facing,” “direct marketing,” and “ENTRY-LEVEL POSITIONS” usually meant “this job sucks.”)
The first red flag with this place was that there were at least 10 other candidates in the waiting area when I arrived. We had group interviews. It was nerve-wrecking. Then, two hours after the interview, I got a call asking me to return tomorrow for a “second round interview” which might last 8 hours. I was on vacation, so Zach and I were a little bummed. Nevertheless, it was a good sign, so I went. The “interview” definitely would have been 8 hours, had I not left after 5.
They had me follow a German man (don’t work, he worked there) around Utica, Brooklyn. The job was to be a door-to-door saleswoman. In Utica. If you aren’t sure where that is, I’m not surprised. The neighborhood is about 20 minutes from the Financial District via subway. Also, the residents are almost exclusively Haitian immigrants. From an anthropological perspective, I was having a blast. But, that got old. It was drizzling outside, and the German was rude to me about being from Texas. Nobody wanted what we were selling. I felt like we were exploiting their limited English. I got fed up, told him the job wasn’t for me, and I left.
Traveling alone from Utica to our hotel was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I did it successfully and without having to turn around, so at least that was positive. Otherwise, that day of vacation had been wasted.
My second interview was in Queens. I traveled there by myself (I had to turn around once). Once I got to the office, I started getting a few red flags. There were a lot of people there for interviews. There were only a few offices. Some of the position description was in all caps. As soon as I got into the interview room, I asked the man directly:
“Is this a door-to-door type sales position?”
“It is a customer facing, direct marketing position…” he replied carefully.
“So, I would be going door-to-door?” I persisted.
“…Yes,” he said nervously.
I then politely informed him that I would not be interested in such a position, but that if something in the office came up, I would love to be informed.
Another one bites the dust!
My third and final interview was magical, in comparison. It was a lunch interview. We met at a hip hotel restaurant in Manhattan. There was good conversation. I loved the company (Sociality Squared—check it out)! They didn’t have any open positions, but we decided that I would be a good fit for a freelance employee. It was awesome! That is, until I got home and, in the excitement of being newly engaged and starting my internship, I had forgotten to get in touch with my interviewer.
Although my first two interviews were disasters, I regret the outcome of the third interview the most. I should have remembered to contact the company. I would have been honored to freelance for them. Nevertheless, it was all a great life lesson. I learned to read and interpret job listings very carefully; a second round interview that lasts 8 hours probably isn’t going to be awesome; and, stay in contact with potential employers, even if they don’t have opportunities right away.
Next time I visit the concrete jungle that is NYC, I hope to have more interviews at the ready. However, unlike the last time, I will be a little more vigilant in my job search.