A reader writes:
I just got called in for my third interview for a political financial compliance firm. The first interview was over coffee at a Starbucks, and they drove to my location to make it easier for me to make the interview during my lunch break (I have a job and they know it). The second was at their office yesterday and I met the team. It’s a small firm with less than 10 people. And then they just called me moments ago to request that I come in for a third interview.
Now is where things get confusing for me. The interview is going to be over dinner next week with the two head guys and their wives, and they would like me to bring my significant other (boyfriend) so they can see how we fit in with them. I am so completely adrift in ignorance as to how this goes, it isn’t even funny. They told me it is down to me and one other person and they need to decide who they will choose. I also have no idea how much this job even pays at this point. I have until Tuesday or Wednesday next week to figure out what they’re really looking for during this interview and how I can do an awesome job and impress them with my amazingness. There is literally no information on this problem on the internet at all. Please help me?
Sorry, that’s just my personal reaction. Plenty of people love this stuff. Are you one of them? That’s worth thinking about, because saying that they want to see how you and your boyfriend fit in with them and their wives is telling you something huge about the culture there. Do some serious contemplation about whether that’s a culture you want.
Moreover, make sure you’re thinking about whether you want this job, aside from the dinner request. I might be reading too much into it, but I get a vibe from your letter that you’re waiting to see if you’re selected by them, but haven’t thought much yet about whether you want to select them. This is stuff is a two-way street, and it’s crucial to think beyond “I want to get the offer” — because the way people end up in jobs where they’re miserable is often by focusing just on getting hired and not thinking rigorously about what happens after that.
I realize I just went on a tangent that might not apply to you at all, but there’s a lot of “I want to impress them” in your letter and not a mention of “I’d really love to do this work,” so I thought it worth mentioning. If it doesn’t apply to you, ignore me and consider it a PSA for everyone else.
In any case … Assuming you’re still interested, what they’re going to be looking for during the dinner is probably what kind of rapport you have with the group, as well as how you handle yourself in businessy social situations, which maybe the job will put you in a lot. (If it won’t put you in those situations, then this is weirder.)
Dress nicely, be warm and charming, and hope that your boyfriend can do the same. Follow some of the tips in this post. Don’t get drunk. Ask the wives about themselves, and be sincerely interested.
And let’s hope your boyfriend is down for this. If I were a significant other expected to go on someone else’s job interview, I would not be happy. But then I’m a curmudgeon.