Monday, March 28, 2011

Epic Interview

I’ve been to an interview where the owner of the company had nothing to ask me and the associate spent the whole time doodling flowers, hearts and small animals on my resume. I’ve also shown up to an interview once where they completely forgot that I was going in, had hired already, and sent me on my way. But neither of those two could rival the second interview I had on Friday afternoon.

It was at a staffing agency for a fashion label marketing coordinator position. I haven’t had the best of luck with agencies this year because I’ve been called in to interview on multiple occasions where the agent hadn’t reviewed what their client was looking for beforehand so our time was wasted, but under my mother’s forceful nagging gentle nudging, I went.

I waited for about 15 minutes before a woman in casual Friday clothes came out to meet me. She shook my hand, led me down the hall to a private room, and said to me on our way, “Wow, you have basically no work experience.” I explained to her that I just graduated from school last year, which is why I don't have a lot of experience, but that I'm working on it because I went to Spain almost immediately after graduation to do an internship and I am working right now.  Her reply was, "Still, in the scheme of retiring at 65, you've done pretty much nothing."

She tooold me!

Next, we talked about what I HAVE done, my experiences and credentials and the kind of position that I'm looking for.  After all that, she said to me, "Look, I like you and I like your energy, but quite honestly, I don't think our client will consider you at all, because they're looking for someone with more experience."

Why didn't they take that into consideration before making me go all the way downtown to meet them about this job???  I told her that I actually have three years of cumulative experience in marketing and communications, between my internship and university extracurricular activities.  My internship was full time and I certainly put in at least 35 hours a week, if not more, doing my extracurrics, which was how I managed to achieve the results that I did (increasing sales by 65% in a year and winning an award for it).  She said that because I wasn't paid for any of that, none of it counts.  Employers won't care.  So basically, I was informed that the two things I'm most proud of in my career up until this point are totally useless and mean absolutely nothing.  How humbling.

I told her that if they have any other entry-level PR or marketing positions, I'd be interested in them as well, and she said, "There aren't any.  All of those kinds of positions require someone with more experience.  And really, if I had a penny every time someone like you told me they wanted to get into PR, marketing - you know, those sexy, exciting industries - I wouldn't have to work.  But I'll submit your resume to my client anyway to see what they say.  I'm warning you though, you almost certainly won't be chosen for an interview.  On the other hand, if you wouldn't mind doing an admin or recep job, we have plenty of opportunities.  Getting into marketing and PR and communications is really hard."

I told her that difficulty has never been a deterrent for me, so I'm going to keep working hard and looking for that PR/marketing job, and I will find a way to get my foot in the door.

Amazing.  What an experience; I am still stunned!

No comments: