can I expose this terrible interviewer?

A reader writes:

I had a horrendous interview experience with a large company’s senior executive (newly hired by them), and I want his behavior to be exposed. I have no qualms about burning bridges because I do not live where that company is located and I do not really work in that industry. His behavior toward me in the interview was just vile…and I think it deserves to be exposed and posted on Glass Door.

I recorded my end of the interview, which is obviously legal — and listening to it made me even more sure that his behavior was awful. I had two other people (who are critical) listen to the interview who said I answered perfectly (though the interviewer literally could not stop berating me).

Clearly, he is the one with the problem and I’d like to expose it, especially since he’s hardly even been with the company very long. If he’s the department head, this company is in for some serious problems. There are more details in the review below. Have you seen specific cases where these kinds of things bite someone in the ass? I can’t envision how it could…and if it does, I don’t really care. I am extremely qualified and have a good education (and I have a job). I don’t need him or anyone connected to him to advance my career. I am angry at the way i was treated, and I feel like there should be a way to make it public. He’s lucky I don’t use my alumni database and email executives in his company altogether.

Here’s the review I drafted:

This was one of the worst phone interview experiences I have ever had. I am a graduate of a fairly well known grad program, and I have had quite straightforward interview experiences with people in the past. Not to mention, I have a job which is decent (but I’ve known I could do better for a year now). The interviewer was awful and had some kind of chip on his shoulder for the entire painful hour. He opened with “tell me about yourself,” which is possibly the most useless way to start an interview, empirically. No data is gained from this question aside from whether or not the person has an interview coach which doesn’t correlate to job performance (or job preparedness) in any actual research on interviews. The irony is that this was the leader of the organizational performance practice – so you’d think he’d know a shred of the interviewing literature. Nope. Then, after I “told this guy about myself,” he said I “told him nothing” and said “all I got was project manager and change manager” – which is false. It’s actually recorded (on my end only, legally) and I said a lot more than that.

Another issue was the extreme impatience and inability to follow anything I said beyond two sentences. I have had to teach courses for all kinds of students and adult employees in companies, and it’s usually obvious within the first 5 minutes who the people with attention issues are. They have the same characteristic behavior pattern as this interviewer: extreme impatience, interrupting, claiming I didn’t answer when I did, asking for clarification when something was answered twice, etc. To give one example, when I am asked questions by a person who doesn’t know me or the companies I have worked for, I need to provide some context for that answer. However, a person with an attention problem will not be able to handle the context, and they will blame you and insist that you are not being “high level” enough for them. You’re not the problem. They are.

At one point, he wanted to know every MBA course I took. He was irritated that the list didn’t have a lot of finance and accounting in it. When I mentioned that I had taken a business ethics class, there was an audible grumble from his side. God forbid business ethics might be applied to this company. Did he really expect someone with my resume to have a finance background? My quant skills were clear – and reading a balance sheet is actually easier things I have done. But, since I didn’t have a strict finance background, he spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out if I could read a balance sheet and determine what the drivers of costs and revenue were. I explained the situations where I read balance sheets and contributed to them in revenue forecasts (all recorded). But, he repeatedly said I wasn’t answering the question and I was an extremely frustrating person to interview. Then, he said “I am going to give you some [unsolicited] harsh feedback about your interview skills” about 20 minutes in…which came at the end (and was no surprise since I diagnosed his problem after 5 minutes).

He then decided to doubt my PowerPoint and presentation skills for some reason, despite the fact he said he was impressed with the work I’ve done for 10 years (several for a huge consulting firm and directly for C-level execs in other cases). I also taught hundreds of people in every possible context. I think I know how to present things by now.

At the end, he said he “wasn’t sure about me” and then proceeded to berate my interview performance and the fact I was not working at a sufficiently high enough level for someone with my background (as if my career choice was that 2 dimensional). This went on for 10 minutes straight, with him saying it was his “free advice” and he “didn’t have to tell me all of this but he enjoys helping others.” I would have been better off with those 10 minutes of my life back, frankly. Finally, he said, I seemed “so smart on paper” – and I should probably have another chance. He asked me to set up an appointment with his admin for a teleconference interview after I was certain this was the type of job that would fit with me (the job might – but I was obviously not going to work for him). I said I’d need some time to think about it, and so I guess he told his admin to send me a rejection letter at 11:30 PM after I took too long to schedule a teleconference (and they work until 11:30?).

In conclusion, if you want to be berated and harangued for 60 minutes, then this division at this company is for you. Be sure to ask for xxx. He leads by example.

You can certainly post it if it makes you feel better, but honestly, these complaints aren’t likely to get this guy in any trouble. Your letter sounds like you think these things are much more serious problems than they actually are, and it’s going to reflect more poorly on you than it would on him (even if only anonymously on your side).

Taking these one at a time:

“If he’s the department head, this company is in for some serious problems.”

This is the kind of statement that makes you sound like you don’t quite understand how this stuff works. It’s possible that this guy is bad enough that his company is truly in for serious problems, but what’s here doesn’t prove that or make it a foregone conclusion at all. This type of overwrought language actually makes your message less effective and your complaint easier to dismiss; you’d have more impact (and credibility) with a calm, objective assessment.

“He’s lucky I don’t use my alumni database and email executives in his company altogether.”

Nope. That would reflect worse on you than it would on him. Not because he’s in the right here, but because mass emails like that generally make the sender look ridiculous and generate sympathy for the target. Saying this makes you sound naive, and actually doing it would make you look a little crazy. Get rid of this type of thinking.

“He opened with ‘tell me about yourself,’ which is possibly the most useless way to start an interview, empirically. No data is gained from this question aside from whether or not the person has an interview coach which doesn’t correlate to job performance (or job preparedness) in any actual research on interviews.”

Oh jeez. Lots of questions in interviews don’t correlate to job performance but are used anyway — because they’re a soft opening, or simply something the interviewer wants to know. I’m not a particular fan of this question myself, but come on. You’re far from an interviewing expert yourself, and attacking the guy for using an extremely common opening undercuts your entire case and makes it look like you’re so worked up that you can’t tell what’s a legitimate beef and what isn’t.

At this point in your letter, I’m getting frustrated. You might have legitimate complaints in here, but stuff like this isn’t helping you.

“He repeatedly said I wasn’t answering the question and I was an extremely frustrating person to interview.”

It’s possible there was some truth to that. To be blunt, your review is fairly rambling and mixes the more compelling pieces in with a lot of extraneous stuff, and it’s possible you were doing that in the interview too. Granted, telling you that you were frustrating to interview is a harsher statement than most interviewers would make, but plenty of interviewers think that about candidates all the time; there’s an argument to be made that it’s better to hear it than not to know someone’s thinking it about you. This in and of itself isn’t a strike against him.

“This went on for 10 minutes straight, with him saying it was his ‘free advice’ and he ‘didn’t have to tell me all of this but he enjoys helping others.’ I would have been better off with those 10 minutes of my life back, frankly.”

A lot of candidates are frustrated that they can’t get any feedback from their interviewers. This guy gave you some. You can take it or leave it, but it’s often very useful to hear what an interviewer thinks of you, even if you ultimately disagree.

“I guess he told his admin to send me a rejection letter at 11:30 PM after I took too long to schedule a teleconference (and they work until 11:30?).”

I send work emails late at night all the time, because I like having a flexible schedule. You’re drawing conclusions here that you don’t have enough information to draw, and it’s coming across like you’re grasping at anything you can find to complain about.

“I recorded my end of the interview, which is obviously legal.”

It’s not obviously legal. In a number of states, it’s illegal. (Maybe not in yours, but it’s not obvious. Again, you’re assuming agreement with your perspective without sufficient reason to.)

Look, you had a bad interview experience. It happened. The guy sounds like he was a bit of a jerk. That happens too.

If you wanted to post a calm, reasoned take on the interview, I’d say go for it. I’m a big fan of job seekers sharing information about companies. But thinking you can “expose” him with complaints about some stuff that really isn’t going to read as that big of a deal … as I said at the start, that’s going to reflect more poorly on you than it does on him.

You’re going to encounter plenty of bad interviewers in your life and if you get this worked up and try to “expose” them all, you’re going to be disappointed — and potentially look a little silly in the process. I’d just conclude you don’t want to work with him and move on.

{ 769 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A note about the comment section on this post:

    The letter-writer became hostile and angry enough that I ultimately ended up banning him from further commenting here for a week. If you read the thread from top to bottom, you’ll see some replies up top that were made after things had really unravelled further down. If you’re reading from top to bottom, you’ll want that context at the start to understand people’s reactions (otherwise it won’t make sense to you unless you look at time stamps on comments, which is a pain).

  2. bemo12*

    That review was so rambling and seething with bitterness that it is so easy to dismiss. It’s like a Yelp review where the person goes out of the way to nitpick every little thing that their main points get lost. They lose all credibility, at least in my book.

    1. Tinker*

      At least it didn’t have five exclamation points (the sure sign of a deranged mind). I pretty much don’t bother with Yelp reviews and such like anymore because of the weight of overwrought, incoherent, and suspiciously vague negative reviews. Although the ones for my apartment complex are good for a laugh sometimes.

      1. ChristineSW*

        LOL exactly. Another thing I tend to take with a grain of salt is negative reviews filled with words in all capital letters. One or two is okay, but when it’s peppered throughout, it’s very annoying.

        1. Jane Doe*

          Or When the First Letter of Every Word is Capitalized or first letters are Capitalized at Random.

          1. JR*

            What is with this trend? A lot of people in my social media circles capitalize every letter when they post. They are not ESA students or anything, but people I went to uni with. Blows my mind.

            1. Ellie H.*

              There is a psychological reason that some people have to capitalize every letter. I think it might be a behavior associated with forms of OCD.

            2. Tinker*

              I think I’ve heard of some web forums having an anti-caps-lock filter that produces output like that, but that doesn’t explain the social media thing. Or why sometimes one random word is missing caps, when I see it.

              Really, I think it amounts to that there are a fair chunk of people out there who don’t read or write much, are kind of not so good at it, and don’t have a natural sense of what is or isn’t done in writing. Someone’s got to be below average, after all.

            3. Elise*

              The Winnie the Pooh method is to capitalize the Important words. Maybe they are just so vain that they think every word they write is Super Important.

            4. Rana*

              They may be texting from their phones; one option is for the phone to automatically capitalize the first letter of every sentence, which is handy when entering names and addresses for example.

              It’s not really an excuse, though; it’s pretty easy to turn off.

              1. Tinker*

                What I don’t get about posting from phones is that I see folks who intermittently use periods instead of spaces as if sometimes they hit the period instead of the space bar. When called on it, they say something like “posting.from.myphone sorry”. So I’m guessing that the issue has something to do with them deliberately or accidentally hitting period instead of space… is there a phone keyboard out there that makes this a sensible error? Because on mine it sure isn’t.

                1. Realistic*

                  Oh god yes. My phone has the period key right next to the space bar. With fat fingers, sometimes I end up with a sentence with some periods instead of spaces. I don’t always take the time to go back and delete every period to make it a real sentence — and thanks to fat fingers, I almost have to delete everything to get to the periods because the “select this word” buttons are useless. I don’t have “capitalize first words of sentences” turned on, so my texts.sometimes.look like this.but I don’t.use email.on my phone, only text. I hate it, too, but I am more a fan of reading comprehension than pretty. At least I don’t use “k” instead of “ok” ;-)

                2. Alicia*

                  Also, with some autocorrect functions when you hit space twice it ends up with a period.

                3. College Career Counselor*

                  If you hit two spaces, sometimes the text function will assume you want a period, so if you have a space bar that sticks or delays, you. will. wind. up. with. periods.

                4. Chinook*

                  I can see the period instead of space thing happenning on my phone because a double space autmatically give me a period (which is super nice for typing).

                5. The Other Dawn*

                  Happens to me all the time. The period is right next to the space bar and I have big hands so it happens a lot.

                6. Tinker*

                  Oh wow, y’all have changed my life. I’d been flipping over to the symbol keyboard all this time, and had no idea about double clicking the space bar. Now maybe I’ll get carpal tunnel, like, five years later than I otherwise would or something.

            5. Carlotta*

              If you use an app to post a tweet from a web page or article it will take the site title or description, a heafline and source, Which Often is in Title Cap Style. You can edit it but some people don’t notice, and sometimes even I forget. But I try to change it for style. In the UK having caps like that in headlines is less common but we tend to use ‘global English’ so it crops up a lot.

          2. ChristineSW*

            OMG, that drives me nuts! The possible reasons given below make perfect sense though, especially with one friend in particular.

      2. Ash*

        Completely off-topic but, I’ve found Urbanspoon is awesome for restaurant reviews. They’re usually (I’d say 9/10) spot-on and while there are some one-line reviews, a lot of them are thoughtful and well-written, even the critical ones.

        1. Julie*

          This is good to know, thanks! I also really like, but they are only in a few cities (unless they’ve seriously expanded recently).

    2. AnotherAlison*

      Exactly. My S.O. is on Angie’s List and has only once received a “D” rating and a rambling review like this. The customer in that instance was extremely difficult, and most of her review was false. (In that case, S.O. was a subcontractor to a general contractor, not working for the “customer” so his hands were tied on many things that she complained were his fault. She and the GC couldn’t come to terms.)

      Whenever I read something that’s exceptionally long and one-sided, I think it’s another one of those types. One-paragraph negative reviews with concise points (and maybe a few positive comments) have a much greater impact, imo.

      1. A Bug!*

        I feel like such reviews should actually be beneficial to the reviewed party, because the only people who would actually be driven away by the review are people who have the same mentality as the writer. Everyone else would recognize the signs of a problem client and disregard the review.

        But maybe I’m a bit optimistic about the average person’s inclination to think critically about reviews.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Maybe, if it weren’t for the fact that each negative review drags down your rating, and the lower your rating, the lower you appear in the pageview. This review happened before he first started on Angie’s list, so he didn’t have “A”s to balance it out. Angie has herself quite a little scam going there. Know how the commercials say service providers can’t pay to be on Angie’s List. Not true! You can go review a contractor and populate the list with that business name, if they aren’t there, but the contractor also CAN pay to be on the list and paying pushes them up higher in the page. I want to say he pays about $160/mo and I think individual users (customers) pay something like $10-$20. I have to think Angie’s List’s money is made from the providers, not the customers, so as a customer, I don’t have a ton of faith in the concept.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            I should also say that A-List does let you rebut comments, so he was able to go in and say his side of things, but it does not change the letter rating.

        2. Liz T*

          It reminds me of when I looked up my real estate broker, and the only negative review was from a woman who was furious that she’d been told “No Fee” and then had to pay…$200. A pricey *application* fee, to be sure, but totally different from a *broker’s* fee, and not in a broker’s control. I went with him and he was fantastic.

          1. Scrubby*

            Just to be fair, if somebody’s ad said “No Fee” and then they tried to charge me a fee, I would be upset too. Saying that it doesn’t count because you’re charging *this* kind of fee, when your ad really meant that *other* kind of fee, is kind of a scummy tactic unless it was clearly and specifically laid out in the ad in the first place.

            1. Natalie*

              I think Liz T is referring to the apartment building charging an application fee, which is completely out of the broker’s hands and would vary depending on which apartment owner the client is dealing with.

            2. books*

              Some cities (ahem Boston) have broker’s fees on rentals where you pay a full month’s rent to the broker who “finds” you an apartment and rents it to you. It sucks, but if you’re in that type of market, you understand what “No fee” means.

            3. Liz T*

              In New York, No Fee means no broker’s fee (which would be a month’s rent, which in Manhattan is almost surely more than $1000). An application fee is completely different, and anyone who’s seen more than one place should know that.

              1. Jessa*

                Exactly. Lots of places charge app fees to keep the lookie lous out of the place. This is not the same as a no fee broker.

  3. Katie the Fed*

    Whoa OP, take a deep breath!

    I get the sense you’re kind of new to the working world. These seem like fairly normal, if slightly jerkish, interview questions and comments. I don’t see the need to get your hackles this far up over this. So you didn’t like the guy. Sounds like he didn’t care for you either. No harm, no foul. But he’s just doesn’t sound the monster you’re portraying him as – unless we’re missing some big facts here.

    I’d save your ire for the big things – and there will be a few in your professional career. Learning to choose your battles is going to be a big part of being successful in your career. If you launch a tirade at everyone who pisses you off, you’re not going to get far. You’re not really “exposing” him because he really didn’t do anything wrong.

    1. Felicia*

      I thought the OP was new to the working world too, until I reread their review, and they mentioned work they’ve done for 10 years. I kind of skimmed the first time though I was surprised that this was someone who had worked for 10 years. If they came across in the interview the way they did here, i’d think the manager had a good point, even though it wasn’t expressed in the nicest way.

      1. Felicia*

        Also “tell me about yourself” is such a common interview question, that even though I’m a relatively new grad, I know it’s often asked. I was also surprised that someone who supposedly had that much experience seemed so shocked and angry by that. There are some interview questions I don’t like, but i know they’re common, know they have a purpose and don’t get angry about them.

        1. Amy B.*

          I do not think I have ever been in an interview where I was NOT asked “tell me about yourself”. It is the first question for which I prepare. Maybe it is not the best question; but it usually gets the ball rolling.

          1. Chinook*

            I actually like the “tell me about yourself question” as a general conversation opener and a way to see how the interviewee wants to present themself. When asked, I think of it as a chance to do an “elevator pitch” on why I should be hired.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              This is exactly right. Candidates should have an elevator pitch about themselves anyway, and that question is the perfect time to bust it out. OP spent like a paragraph haranging the interviewer for a portion of the interview that should have been an easy-peasy 30 seconds of the interview.

              (And honestly, if a candidate is as thrown by the question “tell me about yourself” as this candidate appears to have been, I’d have immediate doubts myself, and depending on how much OP’s face/tone/words expressed his dislike of the question, that could color the entire interview).

            2. Liz in a library*

              Yep, this is exactly why I like it too. You should ask more directed questions to find out about their qualifications and history, but getting them talking tells you immediately about things like their professional sense of appropriateness, how well they conduct themselves, how organized they are as a speaker. It’ll also let you pick up alarm vibes…

            3. books*

              Yep – and it gives you a sense of how articulate your interviewee is, whether they’re long winded, on topic etc. I ask it differently, but mainly to get a sense of am I talking to a person who will be easy to communicate with or will that be a mismatch from the start.

        2. Ace*

          Funny, after really getting bored by this, I now ace this question, I have laid and found something in my CV that is very telling, my ‘journey’ and it works a treat. Mostly, my interviewer is relieved that I just answered the question well, succinctly, and we can move on, so what do you really want to know… I do it with humility. Find your story, mine is that I have changed jobs to be at the cutting edge if digital commerce, every time!

        3. Cassie*

          When I read the OP’s complaint about that first opening question, it made me question the OP’s judgement. Of all the things to complain about (and I was imagining an atrocious interview), that’s what you lead off with? Something so trivial (and common)?

          1. Fee*


            I think the only interviews I’ve been in where I haven’t been asked some form of this question are internal ones where the people already know me/my career history so well that the question would be kind of ridiculous. It’s how the interview for the job I’m currently at started and how my boss starts every interview he’s asked me to sit in on recently. I thought it was basically just a conversation starter to get the candidate talking and get a feel for them; and, as other commenters have suggested, an opportunity for a smart candidate to direct the interview to the aspects of your self/career that you want to talk about. Frankly I was taken aback at the OP’s reaction. Before I read the review I thought this guy must have made some sexual advances during the interview or something.

    2. Jen in RO*

      The OP says he’s been doing certain things “for 10 years”… sadly, I don’t think he’s that new.

      1. Angry Writer*

        I figured it was one of those who’ve counting “what they’ve been doing” since their early college years. Like, some writers I’ve work with “have been working as writers for 15 years.” That’s interesting, seeing as you’re only in your mid-30s.

          1. Rose*

            Even mid-30s is right. If you are 35 and you’ve been a writer for “15 years”, that means you’ve been a full-time writer since you were 20. Highly unlikely…

      2. Jen*

        Maybe just new to interviewing? If someone got the first job they’d interviewed for and then worked there for 10 years, they might have experience or be a bit out of practice.

        My sister is one of those people who worked at her first job for 15 years and when she had interviews for other positions she was always highly offended by things that others took for granted, like not getting a call back or any notification when you are rejected, etc.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I was thinking “recent grad” until that part too. It reads very much like someone new to the work world. (OP, this is not good — it’s worth thinking about why you’re coming across that way and what you could do differently!)

      1. Trixie*

        Why do people always assume that someone like the OP is “new to the working world”? I’m a “recent grad” and I’ve never felt compelled to act slightly crazy (or whatever you want to call it) like the OP. Maybe I’m just the exception to the rule here. Or maybe it’s because I read AAM so much…ha :)

        1. Felicia*

          Haha I’m a recent grad too, and most of my recent grad friends don’t act quite as crazy as the OP:) But I still thought recent grad because the OP sounded naive about what’s professionally acceptable, which is at least more understandable with recent grads. Maybe I’m an exception too because I read AAM everyday ;) Though I recommended it to all my friends who graduated with me, and most of them read too.

          1. The_evil_OP*

            Being a recent grad actually gives you less to be frustrated about. When my degrees, years of experiences, awards, and more were all minimized and made to amount to nothing in this man’s eyes – I was a lot more pissed off than I would be if I were 21 years old and had no prior experience. So, come talk to me in 15 years after you’ve received multiple advanced degrees, won awards in very difficult competitions, presented to CXOs and then tell me if you’d feel the same way.

            The emotional tone of the email to Allison as based on my immediate reaction as well. I’ve explained it in other responses.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Oh, OP, no. You are not helping yourself here. Many people here have multiple advanced degrees and are highly successful. Please stop.

              1. The_evil_OP*

                That’s not what I said. I said that being a recent grad & being in my position are two different things. In other words, I want to hear from someone who has multiple advanced degrees and many years of work – who goes in an interview – and is basically told that it is all useless and meaningless by a condescending a-hole who snorts and sighs after everything you say that you accomplished. If you are an undergrad, you can’t be in that situation – and that is what I was responding to. So, please read what I write – this is now the second time you’ve misread / misquoted something I wrote.

                1. bearing*

                  I think the part Alison is referring to is where you say, “Come talk to me in 15 years after you’ve received multiple advanced degrees, won awards in very difficult competitions, presented to CXOs and then tell me if you’d feel the same way.”

                  The implication is that none of the commenters have done these things, and that’s why they don’t understand how you feel.

                2. Loose Seal*

                  I suspect you don’t really want to hear from someone with multiple advanced degrees and experience who experienced an interviewer that did not seem impressed, but I’m actually that person.

                  Years ago, I applied for a position that was not in my field because I wanted a change. I was perhaps overly proud of my degrees and what I had accomplished and it showed in the interview. The interviewer said to me, in a snotty tone, “You don’t have to show off all your degrees. They won’t help you here.” And I wasn’t hired.

                  Sure, I was hurt, even angry, that she didn’t recognize my hard work and all the accolades bestowed on me. But I thought about it and realized she was right. My degrees didn’t matter. Things I had done in an academic setting didn’t matter much in the corporate world. She taught me to rethink my resume and how I presented myself in job searches in the future.

                  I think you should step back for a week or so (more if you need time to process this) and look at this experience, both with the interviewer and with the community here, with fresh eyes.

              2. The_evil_OP*

                bearing & AAM – the reply was to Felicia & other recent grads, not to everyone on the board.

                1. The_evil_OP*

                  It wasn’t snotty… Jesus – you are more snotty than anyone, Allison. Your “advice” and follow up comments have been insanely condescending and nothing has been useful aside from “don’t post it”.

                  I can remember being 21 very well, and people who interviewed me weren’t always that nice – and considering I had like 1 internship and 1 retail job in my life – I wasn’t that offended. Now, it’s a different story. I have much more experience – so when that experience is seen as a useless pile of crap by an interviewer it has an entirely different feeling.

                  Felicia said “I’m a recent grad too, and most of my recent grad friends don’t act quite as crazy as the OP:) ” – so being called Crazy is okay then? No comment to her that she “needs to cut that out”?

                2. V*

                  You can have all of the experience in the world, but if you don’t have any accomplishments, they don’t mean crap. (I’m not saying this is true in OP’s case, I’m just saying think about what you are focusing on talking about in your interviews).

                  You say you’ve won awards… focus on WHY you won them… Naming off a bunch of random fancy titles won’t mean anything to a prospective employer.. You have to give them the context.

                  Please don’t belittle the many 20 something year old intelligent people who are 1,000 times more talented and intelligent than many 40/50 something year olds. People that boast about experience just have that experience because they are older. It counts for something, but you must focus on what you did with that experience.

                  I once interviewed for a sales job with no sales experience. I was worried about my lack of experience and asked the interviewer about the problems it could cause. The interviewer laughed and said, “It’s amazing that so many people boast about ’20 years of experience’ when in reality many of those people just repeated one year of experience 20 times.”

                3. bearing*

                  Would you believe us if we tell you that it *sounds* snotty?

                  (And the swearing doesn’t help your case much.)

                4. Kelly O*

                  What if the best advice truly is “don’t post it?”

                  I realize that is not what you want to hear, but it is the truth.

                5. Anonymous*

                  She didn’t call you crazy, she called the behavior crazy which are two very different things

            2. Laura L*

              But why do you care what one random person out of the 6 or 7 billion on this planet thinks?

      2. The_evil_OP*

        Yes – that’s why I taped it too…so I could modify the issues that might come up since I haven’t interviewed in a few years.

    4. Katie the Fed*

      Oh good catch, Jen and Felicia. My eyes were glazing over a bit. I wonder how her career is going thus far?

      OP – I’ve dealt with some egregious, sexist stuff in my job. The worst that ever happened I had to take a full two days to calm down before I felt composed enough to address it professionally, it was THAT bad.

      So to summarize: 1) fight only the big battles and 2) calm down before you do it.

      1. Nikki T*

        Yeah… I really didn’t get “vile” out of this. I was expecting some creepy or outrageous behavior. The interviewer might have been a bit of a jerk, but I felt like the LW may have given as good as she got.

        1. Michelle*

          I also was expecting something HUGE from the OPs build up. If the OPs answers had a great deal of detail or explaination before the answer, that could explain why the interviewer gave such harsh responses. Not defending it, but sometimes you need to get to the point, be factual and let someone ask if they want more informatino.

        2. tcookson*

          Me too; when I read the word “vile”, the images that ran through my head were of him either exposing something he shouldn’t have, or groping something he shouldn’t have . . . or saying something awful in a sexually explicit way . . . or hitting the OP in the head. But he was just a garden-variety jerk (with probable cause for his jerk-itude provided by the OP).

        3. Jessa*

          I’m not even sure I got very jerkish out of it myself. Old fashioned interview technique certainly – tell me about yourself at the beginning? The interviewer wanted to see what the OP would say and how much of it, I don’t like it but I can see where some interviewers think it’s valuable.

          I just wish we had a clearer example of what the guy really did, because saying “all I got was x and y,” possibly was a bad way to phrase “you talked a lot, but you really weren’t concise and didn’t give me much useful information in that 10 minutes except I needed to know a and b, and that could have taken 10 seconds to say.”

      2. Josh S*

        OP — Whether or not you post this review, wait 2 weeks before you make your decision. You’re clearly upset, and writing things and posting them publicly while you’re upset is a recipe for disaster.

        Remember, the internet is forever.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          I’m not posting it. For one thing, I left out many details about my credentials to be anonymous – so now everyone thinks I am just a pompous ass hole. There’s no point to post it if that’s the only message it sends. Second, I wrote that very soon after the interview & it was terribly written. Third, I know a lot of people at the company who are happy there & describe the culture in very positive terms. And, he is an aberration which caught me significantly off guard. I’m sure the company will realize that in time – but it’s a shame that the person they picked for such a senior role acted the way he did.

          My use of the words “vile” and “exposed” seemed to get people really riled up – sorry – again it was written very quickly in an angry state…and there’s more to this than I can put in here. The “exposed” comes from the fact that I know he certainly does not fit in to that company’s culture. He does belong, perhaps, in a high-pressured cutthroat law firm or consulting firm. Also, I added additional information about his tone & other responses in other posts.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I left out many details about my credentials to be anonymous – so now everyone thinks I am just a pompous ass hole.

            Explaining more details about your background wouldn’t change the impression the message gave. Thinking that if only people knew your credentials, they’d have a different impression — it’s troubling thinking. People think the message was pompous and silly because … well, because it was. Why would any credentials change that?

            1. The_evil_OP*

              That was only 1 of 3 points. The other main point (I wrote it in an emotional way right after the event) was # 2 – posted right above. Why are you selectively quoting like that? And as far as my credentials go, people have said things like – I must be a horrible teacher and I don’t know what “empirical” means, among other similar comments. So, if I explained more about my background, those comments would be shown as clearly wrong.

              Are enjoying this, Allison? I wrote to you about a bad situation I went though because you seemed to be the type of person who gives good advice. But, instead of saying something simple like “just wait on it for a week and see how you feel” (and leaving it at the first email you sent me, essentially) you’ve now turned this into a pillory where your hundreds of readers can jump all over me and make a bad situation (that I was getting over) even worse. Thanks!

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I selectively quoted because that was the part to which I had something that I wanted to say in response. That’s how this works here.

                I’m not sure why this is making a bad situation worse. If you approach this with an open mind, it can be a useful experience where you learn something you didn’t know about how you approached this situation and how you came across to a group of people in writing. I genuinely mean that; the fact that so many people read your words differently than you intended them is something valuable to learn, if you’re willing to.

                And for what it’s worth, you’d be getting a much different response to your comments here if you were writing different things. People are responding to what you’re saying, not just disagreeing with you to be mean.

                1. The_evil_OP*

                  What would an “open mind” do exactly? When people say things like I must be a horrible teacher (though I have always had high ratings & have been nominated for teaching awards) and I don’t know what “empirical” means (when I have peer reviewed research published) – there’s not much use I can extract from those posts with an open mind. The one and only point that was ever made here (that was then beaten to death) is that I can be more concise. I know this already.

                  Since the post represents what I wrote in an emotional state, all the amateur internet psychology in the world will not reflect reality or be of any use.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Then I suggest you stop trying to respond to every criticism here, if you don’t find the discussion at all useful, because meanwhile you’re being rude to a group of people genuinely interested in helping others. Honestly, leaving this and coming back to it in a week or two when you have some distance might be more useful to you.

                3. The_evil_OP*

                  Wait – *I* am being rude, Allison? What? I am being attacked by 350+ people in every possible way about my character, qualifications, arrogance and more (all from one emotional post I never expected to see here)…and I am trying to clear up some misconceptions around it. So, *I* am being Rude, Allison? Really? How is that? And, compared to what has been said about me, WHO is the rude one?

                4. fposte*

                  OP, I know it’s hard to hear hundreds of *any* kinds of opinion about yourself. It’s really exhausting. Alison advises the “come back in a few days” for a reason, and several other OPs have found that really valuable, allowing them to get some distance from some challenging feedback and be able to benefit from it.

                  And feedback is what you wrote for, right? And while I know you were probably more ready in theory than in fact for getting a pile of it, you knew that if it got posted it was likely to get a pile of responses, because Alison has a lively comments section. So even though you’re clearly feeling pretty stressed about this experience right now, I think the part of your brain that wanted feedback here knew what it was doing, and that even though this is hard right now, you can find a lot of useful information here.

                  Here’s what I’m seeing (and have some sympathy for): both in the interview and here, you’re choosing the most negative interpretations of what people are doing and then feeling diminished by the interpretation you yourself chose. I’m not saying you have to choose the most optimistic interpretation every time, but as noted here, there are a lot of reasons people say “Tell me about yourself,” and most of them aren’t dismissive of you, but those other reasons don’t seem to have occurred to you.

                  There may be personal reasons why the default is to go to the negative–we generally develop defenses when we’ve needed to defend–but it’s not making you happy, and I don’t think it’s going to be adaptive in job-hunting. Let that “give me some feedback, AAM” brain take up a little more space, and remember nobody here despises you or hates you–we just think this wasn’t your finest moment. You can draw on this to get better ones.

                5. Jamie*

                  I don’t even know why I’m replying, but I do hope once some time passes you can look at this with a clearer perspective. But here is an example – you have posted repeatedly that people here have called you a “horrible teacher.” Who said that? What was said is that your statement of having taught people in “every possible context” isn’t true – because no one in the history of teaching has ever taught in every possible context. That =/= horrible teacher at all. You took statements about our exaggeration and restated it incorrectly as personal attacks.

                  I’m not posting this to pile on, but rather to attempt to show a concrete example of how you are interpreting things much more negatively than they were meant.

                  I hope you can find some perspective because I think there is valuable feedback to be had here and even from your interviewer it seems…and as Kerry said in another comment it seems exhausting to be so angry.

                6. Dan*

                  Sounds like Evil OP forgot to take their meds today.

                  I just have to chime in because it’s too good not to. I’ve been working for *a long time* and there seems to be a huge shift in the work force of people who have 10 years or less experience compared to 25 years ago. All these newbies think they’re entitled to everything and if they don’t get what they think they deserve, they cry about it and blast the offender as publicly as possible.

                  Get over yourself. I don’t care how many big letters are next to your name, or how many classes you taught (seriously, does that even impress anybody anymore?) or how much you “think” you are entitled to. Shut up already and move on. Not everybody’s going to like you OP, and when you rant the way you have been here, not many people will like you at all. Stop crying, put your big girl pants on and get over yourself.

              2. Rose*

                You are really doing your own work to provide evidence that you habitually overreact to honest criticism. Nobody is pillorying you,

                1. The_evil_OP*

                  Well, I saw this post about 6 hours ago and did nothing – but there were many people who seemed to have honest questions to ask me – which I tried to respond to. I guess my initial instinct to ignore this whole thing would have been better.

                  If you read my responses, Rose, you’d see I actually agree with the criticism where it is true. Where people completely jump to false conclusions about my background and experience – I corrected them.

                2. The_evil_OP*

                  Thanks fpostie – yes I think that is pretty accurate.

                  Jamie – I can’t find the posts about teaching skills rt now – but there were several. They caught me off guard particularly since I devoted so much time to that & was always rated very highly by students. By “every possible context” – I just meant in a LOT of contexts from academic to non-academic (all the way from retail clerks to CXOs). So, when people question my teaching ability – for no reason at all except that I wrote 1 nasty interview review – it will strike a nerve.

                3. Chinook - Chocolate Teapot Social Coordinator*

                  OP, I was one of those who questioned your teaching skills based directly on what you said as follows:
                  1. “I also taught hundreds of people in every possible context. I think I know how to present things by now.”
                  Claiming you taught in “Every possible context” means you are exaggerating your abilities. It is imposisble for a teacher to do this as the number of contexts available is as large as the number of combinatinos of humans out there. As well, teaching doesn’t equate to having good presentation skills nor does it mean you have good PowerPoint skills. Doing something repeatedly is not a guarantee of competence. Since yous tarted that sentence with an obvious hyperbole, it made me doubt the validity of the following sentence.

                  2. “He repeatedly said I wasn’t answering the question and I was an extremely frustrating person to interview.” As I stated earlier, a good teacher knows how to take feedback that shows you are not answering a question in a way that helps the asker and ask for clarification for what they really want. Part of a teacher’s job is to figure out how to present the information the person needs in a way they understand, even if they are being obstinate.
                  3. “I had to take several classes before teaching full time (as opposed to just being a TA). These classes included procedures relating to people with a variety of learning issues (including attention issues).” I didn’t comment on this directly but it confirmed my perception of you. You tmake it sound like you hink that “several classes” that included procedures relating to learning issues makes you enough of an expert in teaching and diagnosing these learning “issues” (do you mean learning styles or learnign disabilities?) to be insulted when somebody questions your skills. I have a B.Ed. where I spent 2.5 years out of 4 studying these issues and recognize that they only covered these issues well enough for me to recognize when to call in the experts for diagosis. And the techniques I learned over those years of study, supervised practicum and probationary period while I earned my permanent licence also taught me that I will never know everything about how to handle every situation.

                  Lastly, I can’t believe how insulting you have been to someone who offered you free advice. If you have read any of her blog, which I would have thought you would have done before writing to her for advice, you would realize that she has never been “snotty” (atleast publicly) and if she seems to be this one time only, maybe you should really look at what made you the exception.

                4. The_evil_OP*

                  Chinook – Here you go again with “a good teacher” – would you like me to email you my ratings? If I had hundreds of students taught directly and then was a TA for hundreds more – and constantly evaluated above a 4.5 – your comments are thus irrelevant. End of that issue.

                  Second, I did not diagnose anyone. I said this is characteristic of people who I have had in classes anecdotally…and I have been right 99% of the time – the same people who do these things are the same people who gave me letters from the accommodations office before exams (for extra time, private room, etc). Do I diagnose? No. i already said that. Do I spot trends? Yes, like every person on here calling me 100 names and diagnosing ME with a million mental problems, I can spot trends…and this is in person – not over some internet message board.

                  Whoa – you’re talking about how insulting *I* have been? Let’s see – I got home from work to discover that my email was posted w/ a dozen snarky comments by Allison and then I was ridiculed by 300 people in every way possible. I could literally pick out 500 insults to my sanity, competence, work experience, education, ego, privilege, communication skills, teaching skills, presentation skills and more…all because of 1 letter. And it started with Allison and then all of you just piled on (except for a small handful who saw . Are you completely blind to all of the insults that have been hurled at me – AFTER I already was in a vulnerable position to begin with by talking about my bad experience? And I’M being insulting?? I cant even… seriously…

              3. Katie the Fed*

                OP – I admire you for coming here and reading the comments – some of them were pretty harsh. You know the internet though.

                Please keep in mind that all we have to go on is what you sent in – and Alison’s advice was sound. When this many random people on the internet agree on anything – I’d really urge you to overlook the name calling and try to let some of it in.

                1. The_evil_OP*

                  Thanks Katie – yes, I have tried to overlook the name calling…though some of it is not easy to ignore. Oddly enough, Chinook above just said *I* was the one being insulting. Amazing.

                2. Chinook - Chocolate Teapot Social Coordinator*

                  OP, you repeatedly called Allison “snotty.” Maybe it means something different where you are from, but I always thought that was an insult. If I am wrong, I do apologize.

                3. Katie the Fed*

                  You’ve REALLY got to stop with the hyperbole though. It’s not helping anything.

                  300 people didn’t tear you apart. A few people were unnecessarily harsh but most people were constructive. Alison didn’t make snarky comments. They were blunt, as they always are, but not snarky. You probably were not right 99% of the time in your suspected diagnoses, unless people shared them with you, which I highly doubt. You cannot literally pick out 500 insults from the comments here.

              4. Anonymous*

                One thing, very minor, I know, BUT… If you’re going to address someone in writing, you really should check the spelling of their name. AAM is a one-L Alison. I put up a weird wall when my name is repeatedly misspelled; in every post that you have mentioned her name, you’ve put 2 Ls. If you are missing small details like that, perhaps you are missing others that may carry more weight?

          2. Anonymous Three*

            OP I think you may have missed out on a nice opportunity here- this guy was willing to let you come in for an interview. Why not give it a shot, at least for the experience? Or if not, you should have let him know you were declining rather than waiting for him to make the call. This guy may have been a bit of a jerk, but I think the rather haughty attitude you are displaying here probably came across during the interview and may have contributed to things escalating. I think perhaps some reflection and lightening up may be in order on your part. If you think this situation is bad, it’s nothing to some of the interviews and more importantly, professional situations I have been in. So consider yourself lucky and this experience was worthwhile if only to find our the position and/or manager were not a good fit. I would venture to guess, however, you’re not the easiest person to work with either, because who gets upset over an interview question like “So tell me about yourself?”

  4. COT*

    They key to writing a good complaint about a situation like this is to stay factual. Report what he said, without all of the editorial asides (such as your opinion about his opening question). If his behavior was truly egregious, other people will be able to draw the same conclusion you did. It’s like how Alison suggests writing cover letters–show, don’t just tell.

    For instance, “He opened the interview with, “Tell me about yourself.’ I gave him a rundown of my experience including x, y, and z. His response was that I didn’t tell him anything useful at all.” That stays far more on-point than your aside about whether or not you personally liked the question.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Yes. And save the breathless play-by-play. Summarize key points and the big things. Nobody really cares about every little detail (my eyes were glazing over big time reading it).

      But it’s just not necessary to launch a complaint on this one. Someone’s going to work for him. It’s not going to be you.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Exactly. This is what Consumerist advises on how to write a complaint letter than will get a company to do what you want. Save the emotion for your buddies when you tell the story about how crappy the service/interview/waiter/etc. was. The letter needs to be as dispassionate, factual, and short as possible.

  5. Acidartha*

    “He opened with ‘tell me about yourself,’ which is possibly the most useless way to start an interview, empirically. No data is gained from this question aside from whether or not the person has an interview coach which doesn’t correlate to job performance (or job preparedness) in any actual research on interviews.”

    As Alison said this might not be the best way to start an interview but it’s not an uncommon one. I can’t even count how many times I’ve encountered that question at an interview – it gives the interview an idea of your sense of self – of course there are no right or wrong answers but most times they are looking for a balanced individual who has a life outside of work OR who’s life won’t interfere with their work (IMO). I read through the entire review you had about the interview, apart from being a bit of a jerk (which a lot of hiring managers can be) I don’t think he’s done that’s terrible. I’m not certain that “exposing” him would do him any harm or you any good. I would file this under bad interview experiences and move on.

    1. Jaime*

      I understand that the “tell me about yourself” isn’t the most ideal interview question to ask but I think it’s intended to make the candidate more calm.

      Many times candidates for positions are nervous and getting them to talk about something like that may get them relaxed and ready for the other questions.

      When I was a reporter, I didn’t just go for the “hard questions” first. I would always try to get the person I was interviewing to relax so they could be the real person they are and I could get as much information from them as possible.

      I understand that some people may have an issue with those types of questions and some candidates may feel they’re pointless but I can see how they can help sometimes.

  6. Jen in RO*

    I don’t know how many people will have the patience to actually read everything you wrote. I lost track around the second paragraph… I will go back and read to the end because I love drama, but I doubt the people on Glassdoor will care.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      “I love drama”

      And unfortunately, that’s the exact message the OP is sending :(

      1. PJ*

        Yeah, the drama. I read the whole thing thinking, “Wow, can’t wait to find out what responses THIS gets from everyone!”

        Honestly, OP, if this is the worst interview you’ve ever experienced, you’ve been extremely lucky or stuck in one job for the last 10 years. Lighten up.

        1. Jill*

          Ha +1. I agree completely. I’m sorry OP that you felt you were treated badly in your interview but this is a new world and this is how it goes sometimes. I graduated from college in 2011 and the type of interview it sounds like you had doesn’t even crack the top 5 of worst interviews I’ve experienced. People suck sometimes and people who have no business conducting interviews do so all of the time. Hopefully next time will be better. One thing I can say is you can learn a bunch from each experience.

    2. Jen in RO*

      Ok, after reading that whole rant… I have a feeling the interviewer was right. Honestly, your whole “expose” was very hard to follow and rambling. If you sounded anything like this in the interview, I would be tempted to give some harsh feedback too.

      1. Jamie*

        Agreed. Tbh the vitriol regarding “tel me about yourself” and all credibility was lost for me. I don’t love the question either, but its innocuous. The whole thing had a feel of, “and let me tell you another thing…”

        This won’t hurt the interviewer…but it will make the OP look pretty bad if a big deal is made over this.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I really have to say, I hate that question. But I know interviewers are going to ask it, so I rehearse my answer. Alison’s book really helped, as did a lot of comments here. :)

      2. The_evil_OP*

        I didn’t sound anything like this in the interview. This was written after 60 minutes of being condescended to and having every reply I said meat with some snort or sigh. I wrote this in 10-15 minutes and it’s hardly my finest literary work.

        1. Rose*

          How are we supposed to know that, though? The only thing we have to go on is your submission and comments.

          1. The_evil_OP*

            And that’s why you shouldn’t jump to conclusions from limited data. About 20% of the posters here figured out that it was written during an emotional period right after the interview and/or sympathized with the situation & didn’t feel the need to denigrate every aspect of my personality and interview skills.

            1. Anonymous*

              But you wanted decent *advice* from this limited data. You’d be willing to trust that, but not the criticism?

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  The OP is referring to the fact that I sent him a quick email saying “don’t post this — it’ll reflect badly on you” before writing the entire post. I often do that when something seems time-sensitive and I want the question-asker to get the advice before the post itself goes up. (In this case, I hoped to prevent him from posting it, clearly.)

              1. Katie the Fed*

                Alison – I know the Capital Weather Gang predicted a derecho today, but I didn’t see anything about a sh*tstorm. Dayumm!

            2. nyxalinth*

              Humans are wired by evolution (or God, if you prefer) to make snap judgements and jump to conclusions. It’s how we survive as a species. Yes, physically, we moved out of the caves thousands of years ago, but we still don’t waste time figuring out if that shadow is a rock or a sabretooth. We just act on the split second judgement our brain makes.

              The thing to take away from this is yeah, jumping to conclusions *is* annoying, but that doesn’t erase stuff hardwired into us. What it does mean is since we can’t fix others, we need to ask ourselves “How are others going to perceive this? What can *I* do to eliminate fodder for negative judgements?”

        2. Mimi*

          You have a lot of excuses: “I didn’t sound like this during the interview”….”I wrote this in an emotional state”….”I didn’t know Alison was going to post this”….

          I’m waiting for you to take responsibilty for something – anything – but I don’t know if that’s going to happen tonight. Or ever.

          1. The_evil_OP*

            I already did. I agreed with a number of people’s comments… e.g., I am not concise in interviews. That doesn’t require 500 posts to get across to me. I am not going to agree with things that are patently false and “take responsibility” for them. And I agreed the “review” was pretty nuts. So, what else would you like me to take responsibility for?

            1. Mimi*

              Your emotional overreaction to this interview. Continuing this overreaction in your responses to a blog, and its commenters. The fact that a bunch of strangers can get you this riled up is not serving you well at all.

                1. nyxalinth*

                  And you don’t get to tell others how to react to your emotions. This means that sometimes, you’re going to get responses that you don’t like. You don’t have to like them, but you do have to accept it as a consequence of your words and actions.

    3. The IT Manager*

      I totally did that. I sympathized with the LW until I realized midway through the first paragraph that she was obviously did not have rational complaints. Frankly I expected sexual harrashment after the LW called his behavior “vile.” Now I sympathize with the interviewer.

      FYI: Asking someone to “tell me about yourself” is not vile.

      1. Cat*

        I was expecting sexual harassment too or racial harassment or something on par. The guy sounds like a jerk (honestly, I don’t see any reason to berate someone about not answering their questions when you apparently like them enough to ask them for second interview; sounds like he’s playing power games), but let’s not water down the term “vile” here.

        1. Chinook*

          I too was expecting some type of sexual harrassment, bigotry or other type of rude behaviour that is outside of the norm. What the OP describes seems to be not that bad and nothing that would make me think the interviewer is representing the company poorly. It also makes me think that the OP is a very lucky person to think that this type of behaviour, as described, is vile because it means they have never been exposed to something that makes them want to take a shower after or questions their value as a human being.

          1. Pussyfooter aka OneoftheMichells*

            I think the OP does feel that their value as a human being was questioned. What’s troubling is that OP seems to feel that mild to moderately clueless behavior was meant as a deeply personal attack.

            Is the OP so upset that they’ve left out a subtle, but important detail? Or is there something happening to the OP outside this situation that leaves them feeling disproportionately vulnerable to other people’s goof ups?

            I’ve been through a truly “vile” experience that left me unable to be succinct or tell the little irritations from the actual harm done. I *wanted* (heck still want) to EXPOSE THOSE WHO WRONGED ME!!!..but I was able to see that how I wanted to act and how people normally approach problems were much too different.

            By opening with his credentials, instead of just taking it for granted that his insight is worthwhile (regardless of what school he went to) , the OP makes himself sound insecure and naive.

            By not only describing the interviewer’s behavior, but telling other people what it meant, the OP would inadvertantly belittle those he wishes to let know about this.

            And the OP’s inclusions of:
            “No data is gained from this question aside from whether or not the person has an interview coach which doesn’t correlate to job performance (or job preparedness) in any actual research on interviews. ”
            “However, a person with an attention problem will not be able to handle the context, and they will blame you and insist that you are not being “high level” enough for them. You’re not the problem. They are.”
            come off as lecturing his would-be audience. It makes the OP look condescending and very out of touch with normal people (because we already know this).

            There is too much lack of perspective shown in this potential post by the OP. I sympathize with his or her extreme upset, but this hypothetical post looks too much like an emotional rant. If anyone knew who posted it, it would hurt their credibility, not the interviewers.

            1. Poe*

              “I was able to see that how I wanted to act and how people normally approach problems were much too different.”

              That is a very important distinction, and one that OP seems to have missed.

              1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

                aaaaaaaaaah. Life experience. (sucks at times)

                Love your name, Poe.
                Metzengerstein is one of my favorite short stories.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I think the interviewer was a jerk too, but honestly, if someone were berating me, I wouldn’t sit there and take it for a whole freaking hour. I would get up and politely say “I don’t think this position is the right fit for me. Thank you for your time,” and leave.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          Elizabeth, yeah – I was actually thinking about this half way in…I was thinking it might improve if I could answer in the way he wanted – or that leaving the interview would be far worse than just sitting through it.

  7. Andy Lester*

    I want his behavior to be exposed.

    Why? To what end? What do you hope to achieve? Is your goal here to get the guy fired? I see nothing here about helping the company. It’s all about telling people how pissed off you are at least, and revenge for a bad interview at worst. What good does revenge do you?

    What do you imagine is going to happen? Do you imagine that you’ll send this letter, and then they’ll get back to you saying “Thanks for letting us know, we have fired Mr. Jones as a result of your action”? That’s a fantasy.

    Don’t send it. You’ve had your catharsis of writing the angry letter. Now delete it and move on with your life.

    1. theotherjennifer*

      +1 exactly – OP should feel much better about this now that s/he has written it all down. Now burn it/delete it and move on.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      “Don’t send it. You’ve had your catharsis of writing the angry letter. Now delete it and move on with your life.”

      “burn it/delete it and move on.”

      I agree with all of you. You are right & I tried to explain that it was written in an angry state. I never should have emailed Allison – and I certainly didn’t expect it to become a circus here w/ people making insane statements about my character / qualifications / and background.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          I think you are trying to be (based on your comments) – but others saying I must be a horrible teacher, crazy, and don’t know what empirical means – were not helping anyone. Also, the whole thing about being “entitled” is not something that was not the case in the actual interview. I’d be happy to send any SINCERE person the actual recording of my side of the interview & you can tell me where it went badly. You can’t hear the other guy – but I can type out the questions.

          As I’ve said a few times now… Behavior = situation x personality. Nearly everyone is ascribing all of this to my personality and forgetting that the situation is 1/2 of the story. It’s called “the fundamental attribution error”.

          1. The_evil_OP*

            I think you are trying to be *helpful* – just to clear that up. Not everyone is.

          2. Anonymous*

            And part of that error is when ssomething happens to you, you blame the situation, when it happens to someone else, you blame the person. People may be overcompensating because in your email and responses there’s little sense of humility or listening to people’s advice, unless it confirms what you are thinking (confirmation bias)

          3. Charles*

            I think you may also want to think about what “fundamental attribution error” implies.

            Fundamental attribution error refers to the human tendency to attribute other people’s behavior to personality factors, but also a tendency to attribute one’s own behavior to situational factors.

            Given the perception you have given off to so many people, it might be worthwhile to think about how certain of your behaviors may have exacerbated a bad situation.

            Also, in many industries, interviewers are purposefully unfriendly/rude — it is a means of assessing how a candidate may perform or react in a stressful environment. If the job involves working with clients or vendors or colleagues who have differing POV — this may have been a reason for the interviewer’s less than friendly attitude. Stress interviews are not an uncommon tactic.

            Does anyone like a stress interview? No. Is it a very competitive job environment out there? Yes.

            Roll with the punches. A candidate who can demonstrate maturity and ability to rise above a tricky situation, is someone I would be willing to trust to represent my company. Someone reacts with frustration and name calling at by obstinancy, is not someone I would hire.

    3. The_evil_OP*

      Well, I am not posting it anywhere… as far as the “exposed” comment goes – that comes out of a long conversation I’ve had with a friend of mine who is also going through interviews. Basically, there are some interviewers out there who have been treating people like crap given the state of the economy. If I had a company, I would not want them behaving that way. My friends at the same company were very surprised, because that is not the culture of this place as well (and they actually know me – for a decade – so they know I am not the sociopath being portrayed here by that idiotic letter I posted – well…I actually didn’t post it). Anyway, there’s nothing we, on the other side of the interview, can do…and it’s exhausting.

    4. SCW*

      I agree. I once had a terrible internal interview, where the interviewer made fun of all my family and their religion, and would not let up on the fact that I was from a state where all those crazy religious people live, even when I deflected it and tried to change the subject. I talked to HR on the urging of my supervisor at that time and I don’t think she got more than a talking to–though HR took it seriously.

      1. SCW*

        Sorry my comment was in response to the poster who stated that the OP wanted the interviewer punished. I just observed that even in situations where interviewers say things that are patently offensive they don’t always get punished.

  8. TRB*

    The way the OP wrote AAM plus the drafted letter to the company makes me not want to sympathize. While I’m sure it was a bad interview by the OP’s standards, the anger and frustration is clouding judgment. I think it is best to let it go because like Alison said, it will only reflect on the OP. I also think the interviewer probably didn’t have a lot of experience interviewing for that particular role and wasn’t sure how to ask good questions on top of the OP being difficult.

  9. Em*

    Oh my lord. OP comes across as crazy, but Alison explained how in detail, so I won’t go there.

    I did want to speak up about “Tell me about yourself.” I know this isn’t a terribly valuable interview question in and of itself, but I open every interview with it because it’s a nice, safe, easy way to start that sets the groundwork for all future conversation. I like giving the candidate a chance to provide an overview of themselves however they see fit, so that I can follow up on things they say in addition to what is in their resume. It seems a lot friendlier than walking in, introducing myself, and diving right into “Tell me about a time when…”

    I really do get why this interview question is less than ideal, but as a candidate, you should have a nice, concise overview of your career, focusing on your strengths as they relate to the role in question, ready to go.

    I do wonder, though: What other ways have you, or have you seen, interviews start out? I’m open to something else, but I’m at a loss as to what that something else should be.

    1. Sascha*

      My manager opens with, give us an overview of your work experience and how it fits into this position, as you understand it.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think it’s a terrible sin to ask it, but I don’t really like it as a question because so many people aren’t sure what you want to hear and it rarely produces useful information. I like to start with “So what led you to apply for this job?” You’ll either hear what interests them about it or why they’re looking to leave their current job, or both.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I love the “why do you want this job” question because I find that half the applicants really don’t have an answer. I want the other ones – the ones who REALLY want it and can tell me why they’re perfect for it.

        1. Andy Lester*

          I also love the question because I’m not going to hire the one person who just comes in and doesn’t actually care about what the company does.

          Whenever someone asks me online “how do I answer the question about why I want the job?”, I always say “If you don’t know why you want the job, then it’s not a job you should be applying for in the first place.”

          1. SCW*

            I actually had someone tell me when we asked them that question that they just wanted any job at all–it was a long slippery slope to the end of that interview, and actually probably the least disturbing thing that happened in it!

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Ooooh, I actually hate that one. It’s not the interviewer’s job to reach that conclusion for you — it’s their job to talk with you about what they’d bring to the table and let you figure out if they’re the right fit for the role (and to also be figuring out if they even want the job). The question asks them to be too salesy and to assume a level of inside knowledge they truly don’t have.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              A better version might be: “Now that you’ve learned more about the job and what we’re looking for, what’s your overall take on why you’d be a good fit for it?”

              1. The Broker*

                One time and an employer asked me why should we hire you? and i said why not? and waited… he was stumped.. and i got a second interview.

                1. Felicia*

                  Once I was asked “why would you be a better fit for this position than all our other candidates?” I hated that one because how am I supposed to know what the other candidates are like? But I answered to the best of my ability and didn’t get all worked up about it because that wouldn’t have helped.

                2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                  HA. Wow. I honestly can’t decide how I would react if a candidate I was interviewing said that. I mean, it’s not the best answer… but it’s not a bad one.

                3. Ash*

                  My current boss asked me that, and I replied, “Because I’m awesome.”* I was hired that very week. :D

                  *I know this is not appropriate in many cases, but we were wrapping up the interview and it was very casual towards the end.

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Not to be a wet blanket (but I am), but it’s worth pointing out that just because an answer worked in one situation doesn’t mean it would be good advice generally.

                  (I’d never ask “why should we hire you” but I’d be annoyed if an interviewer answered “why not?” to any question or otherwise didn’t really answer.)

              2. ChristineSW*

                “Why should I hire you?” is intimidating, imho. I understand the underlying intention, but sometimes it can come across snooty, depending on who’s asking. Alison, I like your version of the question better.

                1. TheBurg*

                  Whenever I’ve gotten the “why should I hire you?” question it makes me super uncomfortable. I obviously don’t have all the information that the person doing hiring has, so how can I possibly answer the question accurately? Plus, any answer just makes the interviewee sound full of themselves, which is never how I like to come across and makes me feel icky.

                2. tcookson*

                  “Whenever I’ve gotten the “why should I hire you?” question it makes me super uncomfortable . . . and makes me feel icky.”

                  Me, too. It feels like one of those reality shows (like the Apprentice, or Hell’s Kitchen) where the candidates are asked that in order to create a dramatic moment where they’re on the spot and a spectacle. In my real, actual life, I don’t like to feel like I’m being asked to make a spectacle of myself. I always feel, when an interviewer asks that question, it means that they’re looking for one of those smarmy, sales-y types, which since I’m not one of, would cause me to self-select out of their hiring pool (assuming I had the luxury of being able to turn down a job).

            2. Susan*

              So, slightly related to this topic, what do you think of candidates who end an interview with “closing” (i.e. asking for a job offer, whether hard or soft)? As in “thank you so much for your time. After hearing more about what you’re looking for, I feel I’m a great fit. I want a job offer .” Is this to sales-y? Does it make a candidate stand out in a good way, a bad way, or what?

              1. Andy Lester*

                I think it’s crucial to close with making it specifically that you are interested in the job. I’ve had far too many candidates on the other side of my desk where I’m unable to tell if they’re interested in the job or not. If I, as the interviewer, have to wonder “Is this something he’s interested in?” then the candidate has failed along the way.

                It doesn’t have to be anything involved. I suggest something like “Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. I enjoyed finding out about X and Y and meeting Z. I’m excited about the prospect of joining your team. What are the next steps?” It’s a simple wrap-up and it makes explicitly clear that you want the job.

                1. Susan*

                  Thank you! I’ve been trying to find a balance at the end of interviews, walking the (fine?) line between expressing interest in the job while not wanting to come across like a car salesman: “what’s it going to take to put me into this job today?!” The linked article is super helpful.

                2. Ariancita*

                  Ok, but conversely, how bad is it if you’re just really super excited about the job and team after interviewing. More like ending with, after learning about x and y and meeting z, I’m really excited about the projects/work you you (this role would do) and would love the opportunity to contribute…. etc etc..not those exact words, but general (and genuine) excitement? Too much? Too naive sounding? I’ve been guilty of being super, genuine excited in the past–though it has worked out for me–not sure it’s the best way to go about things.

              2. Katie the Fed*

                I just go for sincerity. I ended the interview for my current job with something like:

                “I just really want you to know how much I want this job. I’m not just out for any promotion – this is a topic area I feel very strongly about, I’m very interested in it, and I really want the chance to transition into the role of a manager in this office where the leadership is so strong and I can learn a lot. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be considered!”

                It might have been a little ridic, but it was sincere and how I honestly felt. Sincerity WILL show in an interview.

              3. Elizabeth*

                I also hate that question, for the reasons listed in the “Had Sell Closing Questions” article linked above, but also for a whole host of other reasons.

                – You have no idea where in the interview process I am. Maybe you’re the first of five people I’m interviewing, in which case even if I thought you were fantastic and I want to hire you, I still have to go through the other four people I’ve already scheduled, especially since there’s always a possibility that there’s someone even better than you in that group.

                – It doesn’t give me a chance to check references.

                – It doesn’t give me a chance to discuss with my colleagues. Sometimes someone I think is great comes across poorly to others, or vice versa. Sometimes I might think they’re fine but others noticed a red flag related to a particular part of the job that I’m less familiar with, etc.

                – Where applicable, it doesn’t allow me to confirm with HR or funding partners if they meet the specific requirements needed for a job (e.g. that they are indeed a student so that their wages can be covered by a summer job grant, etc.).

                Etc. There are tons of reasons why even if you’re amazing I still might not be able to offer you the job right there in that moment, and frankly when people ask me that I find it off putting and demanding.

            3. Sabrina*

              I do too and the first time I got I turned it around and after answering asked why I shouldn’t work here. But I did get the job.

          2. Liz T*

            You ask this at the end? I would want to respond, “How about because of everything I’ve been saying this entire time?”

            1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

              YES. THIS.
              In the moment, I’d give my top 3-4 attributes or maybe find a way to politely summarize the highlights of the interview. But there’s this socially awkward brain cell, way in the back of the other brain cells, that’s raising it’s hand and asking the teacher, “Didn’t we *just* spend a whole hour talking about that?!”

        2. Cat*

          Yeah, when I do first round screening interviews of entry-level candidates on campus, about half of them knock themselves out of contention with that question, which I always ask first.

      2. VictoriaHR*

        It’s actually a decent question IMO, especially considering how the person answers it.

        If they immediately start talking about their personal life, that tells you they’re going to be focused more on that than their job, and it can show arrogance, to a degree.

        If they start talking about their professional life, then they’re committed to a career and care about their work (again, to a degree), or at the very least that they are a professional person who understands that an interviewer is going to want about work history.

        If they ask for clarification, such as, “me personally or about my work history?” then that tells you that they may be inexperienced in interviewing, but that they don’t have a problem asking for direction and respecting authority.

        My opinion, of course.

          1. LauraUK*

            Agree with this analysis completely and would use the question when hiring and have been asked it regularly. It’s phrased as a nice ice-breaker and gives a candidate the opportunity to relax, shine and match skills to the JD as an opener without the confines of specific questions. An interviewer can then drill down. To me it’s a variant of “tell me about your career so far?” where a skilled candidate and interviewee will have thought about how to give examples of things required in the job they are seeking and to demonstrate transferable skills, where appropriate.

        1. Claire*

          At my first “interview” (it was like speed-dating), I definitely answered the tell me about yourself question with personal information – oops! Luckily it wasn’t too long after I graduated that I discovered AAM

          1. Elizabeth*

            To be fair, I think there’s a certain amount of personal information that can be relevant in an interview or cover letter that wouldn’t be appropriate on a resume. For example, “As a graduate of an inner-city school myself, I’m very interested in teaching in a similar environment. Reflecting on my experiences as a student has given me a deeper understanding of the issues faced by this kind of school.” Or, “My grandfather ran a small chocolate teapot business, and I have happy memories of helping out in his store on weekends. I would love to return to this field, using my skills in ABC to help your business by XYZ…”

        2. annie*

          I disagree. I think its a bad question in general for all of Alison’s reasons. Your job as the interviewer is to ask questions based on what you want to know, it is not up to the candidate to read your mind.

          In the past I’ve answered this question by also referring to some personal stuff that I hope implies things that are useful to my candidacy and maybe give me a slight edge – being a native of/loving the city (you don’t need to worry about me leaving town, I’m here to stay), where I went to school and how that made me interested in this field (I made it through a well respected program and have ties to a community of people that the company works with), and a related hobby (I have taken my skills and applied them as a volunteer in a different context/environment, I can work with different types of people/situations ). I guess I’m trying to be strategic in hoping that it shows me as well rounded and with more experience in different areas, but also it’s just how I feel – I am not my job. Jobs come and go, but who you are is the sum of your experiences.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I like that one. It’s easier to answer and then the candidate can talk about the positives they saw in the posting, like “I noticed that the job requires a lot of X, and I’ve been doing X for Y time and love it,” etc. It’s a good way to work up enthusiasm. :D

    3. COT*

      I usually open with, “What interests you about this position? This organization?” It’s a pretty easy question to answer (or should be) so it puts people at ease, and they usually mention their past experience in a way that leads naturally into my asking further questions about it.

    4. Felicia*

      Not sure if this is a good way to start interviews or not, but I’ve had a lot of interviews lately and most of them started out by asking me why i was interested in the position. Some started with a more detailed explanation of the position and then asked that.

      1. Anon*

        I have been on more interviews than I can count in the past year (THANK GOD I finally found a job in March) and every single one of them–with the exception of the job I ended up taking–started with “Tell me about yourself” or some version thereof. It’s not a great opener, but it’s fairly harmless. Personally, I don’t mind it because it allows me to start the conversation on my terms and showcase a bit of my personality (obviously not in a bad way–just in an “I am more than a number; I have a life and I’m a pretty neat person” way).

        1. Em*

          That’s exactly what I like about it, Anon. But I get that it’s not a great opener, either.

        2. AnonfromGA*

          This is my thinking as well. I’ve not used it, but have had it asked of me countless times. Personally, it allows me to settle down a bit because I’m ALWAYS a giant bundle of nerves in interviews. It gives me an opportunity to breathe.

    5. Steve*

      When coaching people I tell them that the first question is easy. It will always be “Tell me about yourself” or “Tell me what interests you about this position” or “Give me an overview of your career to date” The question may differ, the answer is always the same – a two minute summary of your career ending up with why this position is the next logical step for you.

    6. Em*

      Thanks, everyone! I’m going to try the “why are you interested in this position” opener tomorrow and see how it goes. :)

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Report back and tell us how it goes :)

        I love interviewing so much. It’s stressful but I really enjoy it. I wish our budget weren’t getting slashed so I could do it more.

    7. anon for this*

      First interview question for my current job was, “What has been your experience with death?” It definitely made it very clear that comfort in talking about death was a primary requirement of the job… I imagine it eliminated quite a few applicants right off the bat.

        1. anon for this*

          Education and advocacy around end of life issues. Advance directives, refusing unwanted treatment, getting your doctor to refer you to hospice, making sure your wishes are followed when you’re living in a care facility, that sort of thing.

          It’s made for a pretty good work environment, really. We all have to be supportive of each other or everyone would go home a sobbing mess every day. :) But it definitely takes a certain kind of person to be able to do it.

          1. Poe*

            You have an awesome job! I am glad there are people around to do what you do, because these topics are so important.

          2. Jamie*

            I am so glad there are people out there doing what you do, with compassion. I will never forget the people who helped make things easier by their practicality and kindness when I lost my parents.

            You make more of a difference than you know.

    8. KimmieSue*

      I am a recruiter. I’m usually the first interviewer and it’s nearly always over the phone. For years, I’ve started with “What do you know about the company?”.

      Based on their response, I can cater how much additional company information to provide (before jumping into the role itself). I also am able to figure out who did their research. It still amazes me that people with 5-7 years experience and a degree fail this very first step.

      I steer clear of the “tell me about yourself”.

      1. Nichole*

        I’m glad you do that. I phone screened several times for an organization that starts the conversation by jumping into a roughly 3-5 minute bio of the company, obviously prewritten and completely irrelevant to the duties of the positions I was interviewing for. They jump into it almost as soon as you confirm that you’re the person they want. I hate the phone anyway, and it’s very hard to interrupt a phone spiel without being rude. I never figured out a polite way to tell them I’d heard it before. I suspect it wouldn’t have mattered-at least once they called me from an application for another job I wasn’t offered, I’m guessing it’s policy and they didn’t think that I probably heard it in the original interview. Now I know a bunch of random facts about the history of a company I’ve never worked for.

    9. Collarbone High*

      I liked asking for an overview of the candidate’s recent work and how it related to the position, because I gained a lot of insights by hearing how people talked about their colleagues and managers.

      I was always amazed at the people who answered that question by basically checking off every box on Gavin de Becker’s list of warning signs for potential workplace violence, happily painting themselves as angry, unmanageable employees who don’t accept feedback or get along with others. At that point, there’s really no sense in investing two hours in the interview, for either the candidate or the hiring manger.

      1. Collarbone High*

        Not to mention, I’ve never understood the logic of “if I go on a rant about how incompetent my manager is, this interviewer will surely jump at the chance to become my new manager!”

  10. CatK*

    This interviewer sounds a lot like a hiring manager I interviewed with many years ago who brought me to tears. I nearly cried during the interview, and when I got to the parking lot, I started bawling. It was horrific. It included unsolicited advice on my interviewing skills, which was very harsh and difficult to hear. I thought the hiring manager was unprofessional the entire time.

    I handled it by having a good cry in my car, calling up my best friend to complain about it, and then I put it out my mind. There are terrible interviewers out there. There are terrible hiring managers. They will make you angry and upset, and I certainly understand the urge to expose them – but there’s not a whole lot that can be gained. For most people, you probably have less power than you think you do. In the end it’s better to chalk it up to a bad experience and move on.

    1. Chinook*

      CatK, was the interview horrible because of what was actually said or because of the vibes that were being sent your way? I know that I have been in situations that have brought me to tears not because of what was said or even how it was said (as in a transcript would show that the questions were neutral) but because of a general attitude that seemed to be emitted by the other person. It seemes silly to someone on the outside but it is almost like you can read the interviewers mind and that they are thinking “why am I wasting my time with you.”

      1. CatK*

        It was both, I think. I was about 20 years old at the time (so several years ago), and the interview started off with the hiring manager being 30 minutes late. She then started the interview by telling me that if, at any point, I didn’t think this job would be a good fit, I should tell her so neither of us would waste our time. The interview proceeded alright, and I quickly realized the work was not a good fit for me, so I politely told her so, since she has opened up the invitation beforehand. It was at this point she told me I should never, ever have said that, and reprimanded me several times for saying it, and then told me I always needed to ” say or do whatever it takes to get the job, even if you don’t want the job.” She then started critiquing my presentation and interviewing skills.

        So long story, but it was both in the things she said and her tone that made it bad. Also, the fact that she was late and talked down to me as if I was a child did not seem professional to me.

        1. ChristineSW*

          Wowwwww. She probably saw it as testing you since you were likely new to the workforce, but that is still Not Nice on so many levels.

          1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

            Total head games…… didn’t exactly dodge the bullet in that you got hurt a bit, but you got away from the gatling gun. She was extraordinarily hostile and psycho.

            1. CatK*

              I was fairly new, I held some admin assistant jobs during high school and early college in the preceding four years, although it’s possible she thought I was younger than I was (I look pretty young). What really baffled me was inviting me to say “No thanks, not for me,” and then chastising me for it. I don’t get the flip-flop.

              1. TheBurg*

                Uh, even if you WERE younger, it’s still no reason to play weirdo head games with you. IMO.

        2. K*

          Judging from your other post below, you sound a lot like me (soft spoken and maybe a little shy), and I would’ve cried too–probably would’ve had a hard time making it to the car before I started. Why would she say to tell her if it didn’t sound like it was for you, and then become angry with you for doing exactly what she said? Ugh.
          I had an interviewer once who kept telling me during the interview I needed to have more confidence and not to be scared of her because she wasn’t scary. I wasn’t scared of her–I was just nervous. The way she critiqued me during the interview just made me feel awful (she even chastised me for wearing a suit because their office was very casual). She also went on and on about how she hates drama and cattiness and wanted to make sure I wasn’t catty (in my experience people who go on about hating drama are drama queens). Pretty sure I went home and cried after the interview even though it wasn’t really all that bad–just bad vibes, as you said.
          Sadly enough, I was very naive and ignored the bad vibes and accepted the job when I got an offer. It was just an unpaid summer internship though so I figured it would be ok. It wasn’t awful, but she was pretty unprofessional (flat out did not show up to meetings with clients that were supposed to be just her + client + intern, would talk badly about clients the moment they left, said she was going to pay the interns for a particular project and never did, sometimes didn’t show up to unlock the office in the morning without warning and the interns would be left waiting outside because none of us had keys). I was pretty glad it was only a summer internship and not a full-time job.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      CatK – THANK YOU for being possibly the only person who saw through the extraneous crap in my review (that was written in the emotional aftermath) to sympathize…rather than go off on my “entitlement issues” and dozens of other things. Seriously – I wish I could send you a present for this post. While a few others have offered some useful feedback (that wasn’t just more of the same criticism of me based on a diatribe in a n emotional state) you’re literally the only one who showed any actual empathy….out of 350 posts…. amazing.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        CatK didn’t say anything all that different from anything else here. She said that some interviewers can make you feel bad but that all you can do is move on. I think everyone here agrees with that.

        Look, this is a very polite group known for having reasoned, calm conversation. It’s also not a group that generally has 100% agreement on something. So when they all agree on the impression a letter gave, it’s worth thinking about.

      2. Rose*

        I think you need to examine the fact that you only accepted or listened to the one comment that is neutral to positive and either ignored or responded in a hostile manner to the many other comments that pointed out that you may have overreacted.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          That’s not the case at all. Where people said constructive things that were correct, I replied in kind. Where people said false things that were rude & baseless – then they got the reply that those comments deserved.

          1. Kelly O*

            “That were correct” – in your assumption.

            Which really tells us all we need to know about the bigger picture, and how it’s entirely possible you were a difficult interview, even if the interviewer himself were difficult.

            “the reply that those comments deserved” – in your assumption. I’m finding it telling that even in the relatively safe environment of AAM, you’re taking this very personally (even though we have no way of knowing who you are) and categorizing responses based on your opinion. It’s clear that anyone else is incorrect, as far as you’re concerned.

            Trust me, I’ve had letters posted, and had mixed feedback. It was tough to read, but I understand it was not personal, and sometimes the toughest feedback is what a person needs to hear the most.

            I wish you would stop and listen – really listen – to what is being said here.

  11. Lisa*

    She wants to destroy his life because he put a little pressure on her in an interview? Maybe the position is high stress and he wanted to see how she reacts when someone acts like a jerk; if so, she failed. I think he detected a chip on her shoulder from the beginning, and was testing his own perception – he was right!

    1. Workingmom66*

      I think you hit the nail on the head about the chip on the OP’s shoulder. Based on the the headline of the post I expected a horrific story of being sexually harrassed, being asked one illegal question after the other, etc.

      It was a tough interview, we’ve all had them.

      1. Poe*

        I expected worse, too. I was actually disappointed in the “terrible” behaviour of the interviewer…I was sort of hoping for a real horror story. Does that make me a bad person?

        1. just another hiring manager...*

          It doesn’t make you a bad person (or it makes me a bad person, too)… I think most of us like hearing the horror stories, I certainly do! Sometimes I empathize with the OP, sometimes I don’t, but the potential for a hot mess train wreck story and AAM’s rational take on it is what brings me back post after post :-)

        2. Lindsay J*

          If it does, I’m a bad person as well. I mean, I don’t want anybody to have to endure awful behavior, but if they have I want to hear all the gory, gossipy details.

    2. Jazzy Red*

      Yes, this OP sounds a lot like the kid last year who didn’t want a summer job at the pool because he was an intern at an international car company and was already indispensible to them (or something like that), so he wrote the nastiest (and inadvertently, the funniest) email he could come up with.

      I’m not surprised the interviewer felt frustrated with the OP. I am surprised he said that, though.

      1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

        I didn’t find AAM til last October.
        What date/Title was on that post?

            1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

              I think I can get all my favorite lines from BMW boy into one sentence:

              As previously mentioned, though feel it is necessary to do so again for reiteration purposes, I wanted to bestow certain bits of my over half a decade wealth of knowledge to you.

              Heheheheh. So wrong, so clueless….

              1. Lindsay J*

                What’s sad is that your mashed together sentence actually reads more clearly than his drivel.

                My favorite is this sentence: “In over half a decade of working at the pool, I can state with much certainty and conviction that I have never encountered a “manager” with such appalling naivety and laughable incompetence until the commencement of your employment the summer prior to the one upcoming.”

                I mean, seriously, I’m wordy and I know that’s something I need to work on but damn. His verb tenses also don’t make sense.

  12. Cruciatus*

    Yes, I agree with the others that posting this won’t do you any good. Maybe having written it all out and having it posted here will help the OP feel better about the situation…which I don’t think was so terrible. Good? No. But I kept waiting for the bad part to come and it never really did. The interview sounded unpleasant, and I could almost understand if it was their first interview ever–but from what I understood it seems the OP has been working for a while. I respectfully suggest to the OP that, once some time has passed, you do some soul searching and see if there was any truth to what he was telling you. This sounds harsher than I mean it, but…it sounds like you may be unable to see how you’re coming off to other people. Not to excuse the interviewer who was harsher than typical, but from what you wrote it seems like maybe he was reacting to you (though perhaps he should have kept some of his thoughts to himself). For example, at the moment he asked you to “tell me about yourself” maybe you rolled your eyes or sighed or had a disgusted face or something and then it all went downhill from there. None of us were there so we don’t know his tone or anything more than what you wrote, but I would sit on this for at least a week and see how you feel then (my guess is you’ll feel calmer about it) and just hope for better next time.

    1. CatK*

      I agree about the soul-searching after a cooling off period. After my horrible interview (see above), I thought about what the hiring manager had said, and she was right about my presentation – I tend to be soft-spoken and high-pitched when I’m nervous, and I don’t speak clearly or demonstrate confidence. In short, I sounded like a scared little mouse. I hated hearing that, since up to that point I had good interviews, but it was certainly something I needed to work on.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      Cruciatus, you are right – thank you for the comment & not jumping to 20 different conclusions about me as others have.

  13. Jen*

    The truth is, if the guy is kind of a douche, there is a good chance his co-workers already know.

    There are so many bad interviewers out there. In my life I have come across so many: The man who threw my writing samples at me saying “I don’t care about these!” when I was applying for a writing job. The woman who brought me in for a “second interview” and neglected to tell me that it was for a completely different job than the first interview. The woman who asked me “How old ARE you?” when I was just starting out and then proceeded to tell me how I was too young and she had to pay her dues before even thinking of applying for a job like the one I was interviewing for. There are so many people who are just terrible at interviews and you’ll go crazy if you try to go after every single one.

    Pull together a few lines summarizing the experience and post it on but otherwise, chalk it up to experience and move on.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Ha – I had the “what are you – 12 years old? 13? I mean look at you! there’ll be plenty of time to get promoted in your career – why the rush?”


  14. Andie*

    OP- Let it go. It is not going to help anyone. Everyone has had the bad interview experience and if they haven’t they will. I had an experience similar to yours early in my career. I went for an interview the first half was great with the team I would be working with the second half was awful! They had me meet with the CEO who was a man and 5 feet tall and I am a female who is 6 feet tall and of course I wore small heels that day which gave me an extra 2 inches. The CEO had short man’s syndrome and proceeded to tell me how he was an “alpha male” and likes to “work hard and play hard.” The entire interview he kept asking me what I wanted to know about him not about the company about him and then got upset because I didnt ask enough questions about him. It was the worst interview ever! He was so obnoxious! I was really mad after the interview but after about an hour I knew I dodged a bullet and let it go.

    You should not hold on to stuff like this. It is not worth it.

    1. Coffee Bean*

      I feel like the only time it is ever appropriate for the phrase “Alpha male” to be uttered in an interview is if the job is at a doggy day care.

    2. EM*

      Ha. I used to think short man syndrome was a cliche or didn’t exist until I actually worked with a guy who had it. Funny thing is, we had another coworker who was even shorter than him, and the other guy didn’t seem to care about it and was normal.

  15. Calla*

    Given the opening of this letter, I was expecting something like the interview solicited them for extracurricular activities, offered them drugs, confessed to a series of crimes, went on a bigoted rant, or perhaps conducted the interview in a costume and funny voices… but this review is what the phrase “making mountains out of molehills” was invented for.

    1. Anonymous*

      I was breathlessly waiting for the part with the casting couch.

      OP, I hope you would take AAM’s advice in a positive way…and please consider a writing for business course. Improving organization and clarity is always worthwhile. Business writing is not the same as college writing, unless you took journalism courses.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      Yep – I was TOTALLY expecting some kind of butt-grabbing incident.

      AAM – might be fun to have an open thread for horrific interview stories sometime.

        1. Poe*

          I have just 1 doozie. Open thread for horrifically awful interview moments! Mine includes the words “less than ample frontal assets”.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            Alison, the people have spoken. Is it legal to deny us this open thread we request? :)

          2. Lore*

            I was once told in an interview that the current state of the department was sort of like Iraq, circa 2006, but they were hoping to get it closer to Iraq, 2010 (which is when the interview took place).

            1. Cat*

              That doesn’t make me want to work there, but it does make me want to go out for a few drinks with the interviewer.

              1. Lore*

                Yeah, they were pretty dysfunctional. The point at which I pulled the plug on my candidacy was when I got a questionnaire to fill out before my second interview that included questions like “Which of the following stresses you out the most” and “How do you handle situations where you don’t have the authority to actually implement solutions to the problems you see”?

                1. Ellie H.*

                  Seconded – that is such a wonderful and specific question. I mean, it would be a deterrent for sure, but quite refreshing!

            2. Katie the Fed*

              Having worked on Iraq for years, I kind of like this.

              Of course I wouldn’t like it if the office were rampant with death squads, sectarian violence, and car bombs. That would be bad.

          3. Heather*

            OK, I don’t wanna wait for an open thread to hear that one. I assume you weren’t interviewing for a position as a stripper? Or lingerie model?

  16. Famouscait*

    I once had an interview with an organization that raised serious red flags for me. Here’s what happened and how I handled it:

    I interviewed with a manager who seemed to describe sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees as standard operating procedure, and proceeded to ask me how I would handle “those types of situations.” This person also asked me a number of those questions that, while not illegal to ask, cannot be considered when evaluating the candidate. I left the interview certain that I wouldn’t take a position in that office, no matter how much I might like the position. I was also concerned about the all-female team this manager had assembled.

    I didn’t get mad. I certainly didn’t post an anonymous review on the internet, like the OP is considering.

    I did call the org’s Equal Opportunity Office and relayed the interview, and my concerns, to a person qualified to handle such issues.

    They thanked me for my feedback, and that was the end of it, from my perspective. I was eventually hired by a different part of the org, far removed from that original interview. I have peace of mind that I spoke up in a constructive and professional manner when confronted with gross professionalism.

    1. T in Construction*

      That’s a really productive way to handle it — the company NEEDS to know if an interview is asking almost-illegal/illegal interview questions, and I’m sure they appreciated the input.

  17. AnonToday*

    I’ll let everyone else deal with the actual complaint; I’d like to dwal with the Glassdoor thing.

    Look, I love Glassdoor. I peruse it often. However, I take everything with a grain of salt.

    Some companies are horrible. Some interviewers are even worse. And some folks use the shield of anonymity to even the score. I actually read an “anonymous” post from a former employee at my current company. It was obvious who he was by the descriptors and he exaggerated A LOT.

    Really, I think most folks read the reviews and just move on. No letter is goung to cause a mass rebellion. Sorry!

    1. FormerManager*

      I’ve had the same experiences with the reviews at Glassdoor. A friend of mine was hesitant about accepting an offer due to the company’s negative reviews. He accepted the offer and was surprised to find the environment nothing like the reviews at all.

      Personally, I think someone is more likely to submit a review if they’re unhappy.

    2. Jen in RO*

      I was reading the local version of GlassDoor a few days ago and a candidate accused the hiring manager of sexually harassing her because he took off his sweater during the interview. Her logic: “If he takes off his sweater during the interview, what else will he take off once I’m hired?” She gave her name and I nearly died laughing, because he’s one of my boyfriend’s best friends and a total gentleman. Some candidates really are crazy. I guess it never occurred to her that maybe it was just hot in the room.

      1. Heather*

        She must have thought Mr. Rogers was practically Magic Mike. He always took off his sweater AND his shoes!

        1. Sascha*

          LOL. Taking off a sweater?? I take off my cardigan all the time, since it gets unusually warm in my office in the afternoons. So brazen!

    3. anon*

      I completely agree. It’s like any online review, whether you’re looking at restaurants or apartment buildings, you don’t believe everything you read. The reviews that are over-the-top negative are ignored. We’ve all worked with unhinged people who have some growing up to do, and we know that the organization shouldn’t be held entirely responsible for their rage. The reviews that say some good things and some bad things seem more believable and helpful.

      1. Tinker*

        Far as I can tell, for apartment reviews two stars translates roughly to “I stopped paying rent and am mad about being evicted” and one star translates to “my twenty unauthorized cats peed on the carpet, and I am mad because the apartment manager refused to turn off their mind control ray.”

        Glassdoor seems better in that for the companies I’ve read reviews on with inside knowledge, the overall trend of the reviews does seem to reveal what the designated annoyance will be for a given company. My company, for instance, is a bit cyclothymic (one year happy positive things are great, one year gloom gloom layoff gloom) but consistently has good people and a dubious attitude about upper management, and these things are fairly easy to predict from the reviews.

        1. T in Construction*

          I love the apartment or restaurant reviews that RAGE about really ridiculous things. My favorite was a RAGE-filled restaurant review because her drink only have 5 cubes of ice. Take with a grain of salt.

          1. fposte*

            I love reading bad reviews on TripAdvisor for this reason. It’s fun to compare bad reviews of a Downtown Deluxe with Fleabag Central–I was browsing one night and found a one-star review of the former because they hadn’t put the reviewer’s key card in a platinum sleeve; the one-star review for the latter was because the prostitute who propositioned them turned out to be the clerk. Ah, perspective.

            1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

              Working 10 months as a hotel franchise customer service rep has made me completely paranoid of going to hotels…even though I’ve never had a bad experience myself.

            2. Emily*

              I’ve gotten so addicted to TripAdvisor binges that I had to enforce a rule: I have to compose and post a positive and/or constructive review before I can read any train wrecks.

        2. Natalie*

          I’ve started evaluating apartments based on how often they file for eviction actions. It helps that my county puts all those records online for free.

          I figure a landlord that files a ton of eviction actions is either an abusive slumlord, or does a terrible job screening tenants. Either way, I’d rather not live in their apartment building.

          1. PJ*

            My landlord screens everybody as though they were going to work for the government or something. Took a long time, she asked a lot of questions. The lease is 40, I kid you not, pages long. As I was leaving with my key, she said, “If there’s noise, there’s gonna be trouble.”

            Best landlord and housing situation I’ve ever lived in. Clean, tidy, VERY nice neighbors, and… QUIET.

            Definitely ignore tha nasty reviews. Luckily I didn’t find the ones about my landlord until after I’d rented.

            Oh, yeah, I pay my rent on time.

            1. Jessica*

              I would love to have this landlady. Every place I’ve lived has said, “We are very strict about noise,” which usually means, “We want your money, but we refuse to do anything about unruly tenants. Just call 911 every night for weeks and months, because we can’t be bothered to do anything.” And then the city instituted a landlord fee for every time the police were called to a property being rented…

              And we only call when the music/noise can be heard not only in our apartment (above, below, or beside theirs), but also outside of the building completely and/or down the hall four more apartments. How does no one else care about these noisy people? I’ll never understand that. Maybe it just seems that way…

              We’re doing okay now, but I’m just waiting until our neighbors switch around again. *sigh*

    4. EEM*

      I agree. I love Glassdoor as well and used it frequently when I was job hunting to try to get some behind the scenes info about companies before I went in to interview, but I took all of the reviews with a grain of salt since most seemed to be overly negative or overly positive. My feeling is there’s a grain of truth to most of the reviews but in most cases you can’t really ascertain the degree. Honestly, if I saw OP’s review, after the first paragraph my response would be to write her off as a lunatic and move on to the next review (sorry to be harsh!)

      1. Anonymous*

        +1. I also take Glassdoor reviews with a grain of salt. I look mainly for patterns in the reviews. If a lot of the reviews from employees are very, very negative (objectively negative as compared to melodramatically negative), I’m always wary.

    5. Josh S*

      My 5 point rating scale for using Glassdoor.

      1-2 stars: Bad company
      2.5-3 stars: Average company
      3.5+ stars: Superb company.

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 4 rating for any company I’ve been interested in working for. I mainly look at the reviews for strengths/weaknesses of the various departments. Like “company is fantastic to work for, but HR department is totally dysfunctional–avoid them at all costs.” When you hear the same comments from multiple people, you start to get the picture.

      And it doesn’t drop the company from consideration, but it sure makes it easier to know which questions I want answered during the interview process…

    6. Lindsay J*

      One company I was looking at on Glassdoor was rated low by former employees, however, their complaints were essentially, “I was scheduled for 8 hour days and actually had to work them.” And “I wasn’t allowed to sit down while working. There are no chairs or anything.” (This is a retail environment where not being allowed to sit on the sales floor is very common, and where many people would kill to be scheduled for full shifts.)

      1. JamieG*

        Seriously. If she didn’t walk in thinking that she was going to want proof of how awful the interview was, why bother recording it? That just seems weird.

        1. MJ*

          My giving-the-OP-the-benefit-of-the-doubt thought was that perhaps she records interviews so she can identify her weaknesses and work on those areas for future interviews, but after reading the OP’s full letter I’m less inclined to think this was the case.

        2. just another hiring manager...*

          It sounded like the OP did not record the whole thing, just the end once she felt it was going downhill… Man, I would like to hear that tape, to really get a flavor for how it all went down!

          1. Heather*

            I want to know how she managed to start recording without the interviewer noticing….

    1. Kerry*

      In my experience, people record conversations when they want to catch someone doing something wrong. I never understand why people go on the interview in the first place if they’re so hostile that they feel the need to record it, but whatever.

      I’m not a fan of the gotcha types, but they also end up being the “I want to EXPOSE him!” types. They go hand in hand.

      1. Frieda*

        My mom manages an office and had an employee once who talked all the time about how she had lawsuit insurance–in case you get sued by someone else–and what a great idea it was. My mom always thought that was a strange thing to get, until the employee had a lot of performance problems and was spoken to about those problems, and was basically told, “you can either fix these things now or don’t come to work tomorrow.” The employee in fact did not come to work the next day, so she was fired. The employee then proceeded to sue the office for wrongful termination! (The case did not go far at all, as you can imagine).

        I guess the people who think that lawsuit insurance is a good idea are the same people ready to sue you for anything negative that happens to them.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s baffling, because liability insurance wouldn’t pay their costs if they were the ones deciding to sue — it would only come into play if someone sued them. But it sounds like this employee was the one to sue.

          1. Frieda*

            I think it was more of a case of the type of person who will sue at the drop of a hat is the type of a person who expects other people to as well, so they got insurance for it.

        2. Cat*

          Well, I mean, most of us have homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance that covers a lot of suits against us personally; as well as, of course, required liability insurance associated with our cars. And our businesses have it to cover stuff that happens at work. It IS a good idea because the potential losses can be pretty high. But talking about it all the time is weird, certainly.

        3. Henning Makholm*

          Hm. I’m currently at the defending end of a lawsuit (from a heating contractor who decided he deserves more money than he had offered to do it for and signed a contract for), and boy am I glad we have insurance to cover that…

        4. Just Me*

          We also had an employee who always talked about his “lawyer on retainer”. I often wondered who could afford to keep a lawer on retainer, or who has a personal lawyer anyway. Well, the employee who wants to sue you for everything, and keeps a running list of the egregious acts committed against him in the course of his normal job duties.

          1. Poe*

            I sometimes joke that I have a “lawyer on retainer”…it’s my dad. But anyone can say they have a “personal” lawyer, because anyone who pays can have a lawyer at almost the drop of a hat. And many people who previously have worked with a lawyer for anything seem to believe that somehow connects them to that lawyer forever (as my dad found out when he was named in a legal proceeding because an old client had told everyone he was their personal lawyer). People + lawyers = weird stuff.

      2. Pam*

        That’s what I want to know! Why record this? Sounded to me that the OP was the one who had a chip on his shoulder from the beginning. Very odd.

    2. Dean*

      OP stated he recorded just his end of the conversation. So I’m pretty sure two-party consent laws don’t apply. You’re free to record yourself any time.

    3. Gemma*

      The OP says “I recorded my end of the interview, which is obviously legal” which makes it sound like it was a phone interview, and that she only recorded her own voice, not his, which means she doesn’t need his consent.

      1. Jay*

        This was my understanding of it too. Not sure what other scenario could qualify as “obviously legal”

  18. Anon*

    Wow, OP. Deep breath + chill pill + a stiff drink.

    I certainly understand that bad interviewers exist, but TBH, yours didn’t sound that bad. The unsolicited advice was a bit much, but otherwise it sounded fairly standard. At any rate, as AAM said, the only thing posting that review will do is make you look bad. Just take it for what it was and move on! Especially since you don’t need a job anyway (per your post–“I already have a job”).

    Best of luck as you continue your search for better opportunities.

  19. A Teacher*

    Oh wow. I don’t know if I have much more beyond that. I will say my impression of the OP is not very good based on her/his draft. It makes the OP sound like OP thinks OP is much smarter than anyone else.

  20. mooseknuckle*


    sounds like something I would have felt/written……..when I first started working in college/after college. By far I’m still not what you’d call a “seasoned professional” but there is just so much bitterness and…..i want to say prissiness in this letter. I’m not sure how someone can advance so much in 10 years with this kind of attitude?

  21. Tinker*

    Life rule: if you feel like asking “Can I expose…….?” the answer is always “no”. Ignoring this rule is apt to lead to profound embarrassment, criminal proceedings of an unfortunate kind, or both.

    1. just another hiring manager...*

      Well, there ARE a limited number of circumstances when “exposing” someone is warranted and totally appropriate, such as reporting sexual harassment or whistle blowing a company’s illegal practices. But, obviously, that is not the case based on what the OP wrote here.

      1. Tinker*

        I’ll turn on a technicality here and say that one shouldn’t expose sexual harassment either, but rather report it — potential jokes aside, it’s the difference in tone between “You know, Bob won’t stop asking me out despite my saying several times that it’s not welcome, and I’m starting to get a bit uncomfortable here” and delivering a down-to-the-second log of Bob’s every gesture (with awkward diagrams) and proclaiming that he’d better not get away with it, etc.

        “Expose” kind of has a galloping hero investigative journalist feel to it that is apt to end in tears, particularly when the target is trivial.

  22. EnnVeeEl*

    I know bad interviews suck, and can be a ding on your self-esteem, but honestly, I’ve come to be grateful when someone is obviously a jerk, and let’s me know that up front so I can remove myself from the candidate list.

    He told you everything you needed to know about him and POSSIBLY the organization (may not be fair to paint everyone and the organization with a broad brush here). Even if you got this information to the right person, he isn’t going to get into any trouble. In ten years of working experience, and probably before that, you should know that never, ever happens. Sorry this happened to you. Try to move on from it. You didn’t want this job.

  23. Anonymous*

    Re: don’t care about burning bridges – You never know where bridges can take you! With people moving about different companies, professions, and cities, you really won’t know. Now sometimes this is a risk you have to take, but I would just move on from here, lest you get branded as a “crazy” one.

    1. Not so NewReader*

      Been there. At a previous job, a co-worker was a Debbie Downer. Even factoring the work environment and other people’s level of negativity, this person still stood out above the crowd. (Her MO included- back stabbing, sabotaging the work, lying, and so on.)

      Fast forward. I moved to a new place and I had been working there for a while. One day Ms Downer walked in to see about a job opening.
      I mentioned all this to the boss. Her paperwork hit the trash can.
      There really is no such thing as being totally safe from your past coming back to haunt you. Which makes sense, if we are no more than six degrees of relationship apart from each other.

      OP, seriously think about what is your goal here. What do you want from this letter? What would have to happen to make you feel satisfied?

      I have written many angry letters in my head. Then I ask myself these types of questions:
      What response from the recipient will make me feel better?
      Will my letter motivate the recipient to do something/anything?
      Will I ever find out if action is taken based on my letter?
      What do I hope to gain by writing this letter?

      At this point, many times I will abandon the letter idea. The few times I go forward with writing the letter usually the letter comes out well and I manage to get a desirable response.

      OP, you applied for a job that is not near where you live and it is not in your industry. The interviewer probably wondered WHY.
      Personally, I think changing location and industry is a life change, heavy duty stuff. If I was doing that I would expect to face some really tough interviews. It’s a very serious thing… and, yeah, it’s a big deal.

      1. The_evil_OP*

        I don’t know if I should answer any more questions because I am being accused of being “defensive” and “insulting” – but let’s see…

        I have worked in a number of industries, and mostly my focus is on the function (i.e., you can be in database admin in a lot of industries…the job stays the same). My resume is pretty industry-agnostic but more function-specific. The location of the job is not an issue… we have family & friends in a number of locations, including there.

        The above questions- yeah, agreed those are things I have since considered & obviously am not posting it at this stage.

      2. Lindsay J*

        Those are awesome questions.

        I really do understand the OP’s instincts in wanting to write a letter. I recently got fired, and I still really do think it was an unfair, b.s. situation. At the time I wanted justice.

        I sat down and wrote this huge outline in OneNote about every grievance I had, and supporting details for each grievance. I debated with myself about whether I was better off going through HR or going to the director. I emailed Alison and asked for advice.

        And then I asked myself some of the above questions. And I got over it mostly. The response that would have made me feel better was rescinding my “no rehire” status, since it is a large company in my industry and an even larger company in my general are, so I did appeal with HR. I never did follow up on that appeal because I got a new job that I’m happy with so I don’t need the rehire status now or hopefully in the future, and if I ever do likely enough time will have passed that it won’t be an issue anyway.

        However, the answers to the rest of these questions:

        Will my letter motivate the recipient to do anything?
        What is the likely outcome?
        Is this letter more likely to reflect poorly on the person I’m writing about or on me?

        meant that my long, spiteful letter never met the light of day.

        Writing it calmed me down to the point that my appeal was straightforward and non-emotional, and I don’t think my letter to Alison had anywhere near the amount of histrionics that this person’s did. I was able to talk to mutual friends of the person that unfairly fired me the following week at a social event and not commit any faux pas. So writing the letter did me good.

        Sending it would have likely done irreversible damage to my reputation, so I’m glad I asked myself these types of questions and didn’t do it.

  24. AJ-in-Memphis*

    The tit-for-tat stuff NEVER works!!! You stand to gain nothing from any of this.

    You will have bad interviewers as well as bad bosses. Learn from it. You can be a better interviewer and boss because of it – that’s your revenge!

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Yes! 90% of what I learned about being a boss was from having terrible bosses, and making mental notes about the kind of boss I wanted to be.

      1. T in Construction*

        Also, be glad he was a jerk to you in the interview stage and DON’T TAKE THE JOB! Personality conflicts like that would only intensify over time. Consider it bullet dodged

        1. HR lady*

          I totally agree with T in Construction. That was one of my first reactions upon reading the OP’s post — “wow, these are two people who should not work together — they just completely rub each other the wrong way.” Basically the opposite of two people “clicking” — you (OP) and that interviewer repelled each other like two magnets (when they have like poles together).

          Since it’s generally accepted wisdom that an interview is you “interviewing” the company as much as them interviewing you, I think this was a perfect example of you (OP) realizing you don’t want to work for that person.

      2. tcookson*

        “90% of what I learned about being a boss was from having terrible bosses, and making mental notes about the kind of boss I wanted to be.”

        Yes– like how Alison’s favorite post is her ode to her past bad bosses one, and how much she’s learned from them!

  25. AnonHR*

    I don’t know if this has been brought up, but is recording interviews a thing that people do? I would have never even thought to add “start recording” to my pre-interview to-do list. OP, were you looking to review your own interview skills? Because, in reading this, it comes across as you going into the situation hoping to catch some evil management type mistreating you, which became some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

    1. AnonHR*

      Unrelated side note: I am now going through a situation where I really could have used the referrals from a job where I ended on a bad note because I was 19 and didn’t know how to address issues with my boss aside from going to his boss. As someone else said, you never know when you’ll need to cross that bridge again.

    2. AJ-in-Memphis*

      I thought that too….it was a little odd. And the part about “I’m only recording my end, that’s legal” – was very weird.

  26. De Minimis*

    I’ve given a bad review to one company’s interview process on Glassdoor and the site will probably edit your review to pieces if they post it at all…it is way too rambling and long compared to the other reviews on there.

    I’m wondering if the OP is a career changer–I don’t know why the interviewer would be asking about MBA coursework for someone with that much experience.

    Posting reviews can be useful as far as venting, but don’t expect it to change anything at their company.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      He was asking about my MBA classes because he was trying to see how much finance and accounting I had exposure to. Instead of asking about finance and accounting classes directly – he asked me to list all of my classes…and then came back with “why wasn’t there more finance and accounting?”

      He could have just said “tell me about your finance and accounting experience”. I guess, he thought I’d lie…? I have no idea. What is the most funny were his reactions to my classes like “business ethics” or “workgroup management” – which led to an audible sigh on his end. You know, that useless fluffy stuff like ethics & managing a team…oh god forbid I took those classes.

      1. Emily*

        To look at it from the interviewer’s perspective, you are changing fields, and candidates changing fields typically have a little more to prove. If he was trying to gauge your finance and accounting knowledge and experience, presumably with the hope and/or expectation that you had some hard skills, and you told him about “Business Ethics” and “Workgroup Management” (important, yes, but arguably “fluffy” compared to straight finance and accounting), I can see how it might have seemed like your answer was a stretch to cover or compensate, and I can understand how that could be frustrating for an interviewer. I’m not saying that you don’t have the skills, or that sighing audibly was polite—I can also understand how that would make you feel like he was dismissing the experience you do have. But it sounds like he was treating this as a conversational interview and you’re reacting as though you were being interrogated (for example, presuming that the interviewer suspected you would lie—why jump to that defensive conclusion?)

        1. De Minimis*

          MBA programs can be somewhat sketchy as far as teaching hard skills, so I can see why business ethics might provoke some eye rolling.

          Seems a little weird that he would expect a lot of accounting knowledge from an MBA program, though I guess programs vary. You usually need a program that is specifically related to accounting to get any kind of serious knowledge.

          1. Natalie*

            There are MBAs for accounting, specifically, although I’m not sure how people with MBAs indicate that on their resume.

  27. Employment lawyer*

    Short response: If you write how you talk, I don’t think that it is appropriate to blame the interviewer. I think that the problem is you.

    Longer response: You don’t appear to have any functioning sense of scale. People might deserve to be “exposed” for invective, racism, open discrimination, etc. But the things that you list simply aren’t that unusual. The fact that you consider them to be personal affronts; that you recorded him without your knowledge;that you think you’ll “disprove” his claims; and that you would even consider attempting to hurt the interviewer by using all of your contacts? That’s a problem with YOU, not with HIM. You better hope that no future employer reads this: you sound like the kind of person who thinks that it’s illegal to get yelled at by your boss.

    1. Anonymous*

      You hit it the nail on the head: the inflated sense of scale is what led nearly all of us to think OP was young and just out of school.

    2. Rana*

      That’s exactly it – thank you!

      My initial reaction, on reading the “review” was “Holy sh*tballs” – that’s how ridiculous it seemed to me. My more measured response is that it reads like a bad student paper, in which the person writing it thinks that the evidence on offer is so much more compelling than it actually is. This horrible, awful, deserves-to-be-reported interviewer… asked you to tell you about yourself? Asked you to clarify the work you did at previous positions? Wanted more information about your coursework?

      Oh, my gosh, what a monster!

    3. The_evil_OP*

      Within the company’s culture – this is very unusual. My friends who work there both found it to be unusual and were surprised he was there (he’s only been there a short time). They actively seek to weed out people like him…and there were more details than the ones I posted.

      Guess what, being an a-hole is a two way street. If you’re a senior exec interviewing someone w/ my experience and contacts in a completely condescending, arrogant, and dismissive way – don’t expect me not to tell people about your behavior (after all, my own friends at that company were the ones who recommended I apply). And the internet has just amplified the possibilities. Why do you think places like BCG are so polite when they reject you? They know that you’re their future clients. Since then, I have reconsidered and am not as upset as I was when I wrote to Allison – but these posts have now sparked this all again.

      So, now to you: “You seem to have no functioning sense of”… human behavior. (Am I going to get accused of being insulting now? You see I just turned the phrase around…right?) Here’s an example. You do not seem to understand that behavior is a product of environment (situation) and personality. You ascribe the entire post to my personality. I don’t know if you ever took a psychology class in college, but you’d have learned this is called the “fundamental attribution error” – so google that…and then we can both talk about our dysfunctional senses.

      I did not record him without his knowledge. It says it was a PHONE interview and I recorded MY side. What is with all of these holier than thou comments from people who didn’t even read the original post? Seriously. The “trying to be helpful” excuse is not going to work if you didn’t even read the post.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        OP, I implore you to stop this. Turn off your computer. Get some sleep. Read Rana’s very helpful posts if you must. For someone with the self esteem problems you describe, this is not helpful for you. No, I didn’t study psychology but I was in the military. Learn this: get out of the kill zone. Just go. You’re flinging insults with strangers on the internet – nothing they say is going to make you feel better or more whole about this. We had imperfect information from what was posted and responded to that. It’s not an attack on your entire person – it’s a response to the limited snippet/scenario we got. That’s it. But you’re not making anything better now.

        1. Mimi*

          I think this is cathartic for the OP; instead of railing at the interviewer, he’s lashing out at strangers over a computer.

        2. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

          Yeah, Katie’s on point. If this is hurting you, rather than helping, do something more relaxing tonight. You can always look this over again later. You can email Alison or even make a related comment in the next open thread if you feel the need.

          Yes, some people miss details and some express their opinions pretty roughly, but that’s part of a discussion with a bunch of humans. Despite the sarcastic sense of humor I display on the blog, my *long* post upthread was meant as an attempt to help. Most of these people want to help.

  28. The Other Dawn*

    It sounds as though the OP has a chip on his shoulder, not the interviewer. It really just seems like a huge overreaction, not a well thought out, factual review. This is a review I would automatically disregard.

  29. FormerManager*

    OP, I’ve endured a similar high-pressure interview by being a somewhat emotional wreck for a day or two. Then I went on. As far as exposing the interviewer, I just planned to mention my experience if anyone I know told me they planned to apply for that particular company. Not that I’ve had to but I would if it came up.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Thanks FormerManager. I appreciate it! (To others, note the post with no insults, from someone who can relate / sympathize, etc..). Yeah, I agree w/ what you did as well…seems to be the more appropriate route.

  30. Jamie*

    Did he really expect someone with my resume to have a finance background? My quant skills were clear – and reading a balance sheet is actually easier things I have done.

    I also taught hundreds of people in every possible context

    which is possibly the most useless way to start an interview, empirically

    However, a person with an attention problem will not be able to handle the context, and they will blame you and insist that you are not being “high level” enough for them. You’re not the problem. They are.

    (and was no surprise since I diagnosed his problem after 5 minutes).

    I reread the letter, because the rant was not well written and hard to follow and the above jumped out at me. You are making extreme blanket statements and both inflating your own knowledge and denigrating others.

    There is far more to finance than reading a balance sheet.
    No one has taught in every possible context.
    I don’t think empirically means what you think it means.

    And diagnosing? You are qualified to not only diagnose attention problems but to paint everyone with the same brush? I have no words.

    He may have been less diplomatic than you’d have preferred, but hopefully after the anger dies down perhaps you can reevaluate the feedback he gave you.

    I am curious though…as you were asking if there would be repercussions of posting a review but also said you didn’t think there would be and wouldn’t care even if there were…if you don’t care either way what is the question?

    1. Katie the Fed*

      “I am curious though…as you were asking if there would be repercussions of posting a review but also said you didn’t think there would be and wouldn’t care even if there were…if you don’t care either way what is the question?”

      I think the OP wanted validation.

      Ain’t happening…

    2. Sourire*

      Yeah, I don’t think he or she so much has a question as they wanted validation and justification for their anger and perceived mistreatment.

    3. Loose Seal*

      No, kidding. I was coming here to tell OP that her MBA doesn’t qualify her to diagnose an attention disorder. It’s much more likely that his attention wandered because OP isn’t as interesting or as coherent as she thinks she is.

      Also confused about the use of the word “empirically.” OP, this sounds like a big, professional word to use but you need to stop using it immediately until you know what it means. How many studies have you read that quantify the usefulness of interview questions? Please link them here because I’m sure we’d all like to peruse them.

      1. some1*

        The LW doesn’t seem to understand what “irony” means, either, but then neither do many people my age (I blame Alanis Morisette.)

        Also, the LW used quotes incorrectly. I “told him nothing” would be incorrect, it should be I “told [him] nothing” because the interviewer actually said, “You told me nothing” not “You told him nothing.”

      2. The_evil_OP*

        I have more than an MBA, but I am not compromising my anonymity here by posting all of my credentials. I have personally conducted scientific research which is peer-reviewed and published, so I know what empirical means. Do you? I was referring to the research-based (empirical) literature on interviews in the HR / IO Psych / OD fields. It is not hard to find them.

      3. Lizzie B*


        Show me the empirical evidence that this is the “most useless way to start an interview.”

        Next, show me your psychology license so I can rip it up.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          Can you use google scholar? There are dozens of articles about interviewing that you do not even need university access to read the abstracts.

          I don’t have a psychology license…and I never said I did. But, you’d want to rip it up because I was angry over a bad interview? Wow – that’s a bit much, don’t you think? Anyway, I was clear about where my opinion of his attention issues came from in other posts.

          Your issues of “wanting to rip up my psychology license” stem from what – bad experience on the couch?

    4. CollegeAdmin*

      I now have an image of Hello Kitty crossed with Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. “

      1. tcookson*

        Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride

        A-ha!! I knew I recognized Jamie’s phrase from somewhere . . . my husband and I say “I do not think that word means what you think it means” all the time, and I couldn’t remember where we got it from.

    5. Runon*

      I’m glad you mentioned the diagnostic issue (and the others) that one really jumped out at me as absurd. The little bit of credibility the OP had left with me lept out the window at that point.

    6. Chinook*

      When the OP said they “taught in every possible context” they lost all credibility with me. I would never say I taught in all possible contexts and off the top of my head I can say that I taught British military personnel how to use basic Word; special needs teens on a reserve; ESL students overseas ranging from 3 to 68; religious education on 2 continent;, in a makeshift classroom in a canteen between 2 arenas after the school burned down with no blackboard or wall to shine the overhead on (used the ceiling) and no textbooks for 2 weeks; and my mother how to do something on her POS system while I was overseas because she didn’t understand what her computer guy told her. If the OP can top that list, then maybe she would have a right to rant, but otherwise she maybe needs to reevaluate how she perceives her skill level and experience.

    7. The_evil_OP*

      To be a teacher at the university I graduated from, I had to take several classes before teaching full time (as opposed to just being a TA). These classes included procedures relating to people with a variety of learning issues (including attention issues). Am I legally able to diagnose him and writing an Rx for Ritalin? No. Did I see the classic signs that I’ve learned about & seen in 5-10% of students? Yes. It’s not that complicated to pick up on.

      Like I posted elsewhere, I know what “empirically” means – because I have done empirical research and published it in peer reviewed journals. I was referring to the HR / IO Psych / OD literature in interviewing.

      My “rant” was written in 10 minutes about 15 minutes after the interview ended…so sorry if it was not up to par for you.

      1. Lizzie B*

        I think it would be in your best interest to give serious thought to how you present yourself to others. You are coming off as a person who is petty, bitter, pompous, and cannot take feedback.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          If you go on google scholar – type in “interview questions” – there will be dozens of research studies about interview questions you can start with. Then, read those & look at who they cite – and you can keep going. You will need library (e.g., Wiley or JSTOR) access to read most of them. If you are in a library, then just use the main database for psychology research which typically includes industrial psychology. There is a lot of research on interviews out there.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I know. I’m interested in the specific studies you’re referencing. I’m skeptical they say what you say they say, so I’m asking for specifics. If you choose not to provide them, I’m going to take that as my answer. (I don’t know a nicer way to say it, but I’m not going to go spend time looking for studies that I doubt say what you said.)

            1. The_evil_OP*

              I am not in a university anymore and do not have access to those articles unless they are in PDF form online. So, it would take me just as long to find it as it would take you. And, I’ve had enough of you & this board for one day…turning one bad private experience into another one 10x bigger. So, I’m not going to be your RA and find the studies on interviews for you…especially since I do not have library access & can’t even pull them up.

              1. Anonymous*

                I bet this is how the OP replied to the questions in the interview. Interviewer : “So could you elaborate on that point some more please”
                OP: *sigh* *rolling eyes* “I’ve had enough of you”
                Interviewer: I find you frustrating.

              2. Esra*

                I’m a bit surprised that as someone with teaching experience, you are so reluctant to cite more specific sources.

                1. The_evil_OP*

                  Because I graduated many years ago and do not have them in front of me. I cannot access the library since graduation, and therefore I cannot easily get the sources. If I do cite things that I see on google scholar (with abstracts only) – that is misleading because I need to see the full article…not just abstracts…

              3. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

                No baiting, actively curious:
                When I had to research my health concerns 8yrs ago, a guy named “Rodney K. Graham” was really making a lot of strides on my issue in the English speaking research world. Even though a lot of school and government computer systems only give abstracts, I’ve been able to get several entire articles on line by searching for abstracts of Dr. Graham’s work, then doing a “full text” google search of that title.
                I’m on this blog to get both business/social skills savvy, so I’d enjoy finding hard data sources :)
                Do you recall any names/titles that showed really admirable work?

          2. Meganly*

            In case anyone else is curious, I went on google scholar as advised, and found zero empirical evidence even addressing his claim, let alone proving or disproving it. I did find a bunch of studies on the differences between experience-based and situational interview questions, which were quite interesting!

      2. Katie the Fed*

        Dude, NOBODY knew that it was written right after the interview! You can’t withhold crucial information like that.

        If you had mentioned that, most people would have said “sleep on it, you’ll feel better in the morning.”

        Oh wait, a lot of us totally did do that. You realize that most people here are trying to be helpful, right?

      3. DJ*

        You met this person once, and you think you’re qualified to diagnose him with a disorder? It couldn’t possibly be that maybe you were boring him or he was having a bad day.

        Based on what you have written here, it sounds as though you were not a fit for the position. Sounds as though he wanted someone with a strong background in finance and accounting. I gather from what you have written, you don’t have that. Maybe what the interviewer was trying to say was, your experience and awards are not relavent for that particular position.

        For the record, anybody can read a balance sheet that is easy. However, without a background in finance or accounting, it’s very difficult to do the analyzing necessary to determine whether the balance sheet and other financial statements make any sense and are truthful.

  31. Erica B*

    It definitely sounds like this was written in a moment of emotion. If the OP wants to write something factual they need to do it when their emotions aren’t all crazy.
    The letter draft as presented is a hot mess, at best. It certainly sounds like the person is early in their career, even though they claim to have been doing this work for 10 years. Just because you have been doing this since you were 14 doesn’t give you the right to behave like your 14.

    also with the title of the post and her initial ‘it was so awful’ thinking I was expecting some sort of harassment or sexual misconduct!

      1. Heather*

        I think you pretty much nailed the tone of the rest of the letter with the title! Although it *was* a little cruel to make us look forward to a tale of the Interviewer Who Flashes Candidates and then dash our hopes :)

          1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

            I’m waiting to find out what context “less than ample frontal assets” fits into.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      after wading through all that extraneous detail, I felt like the reader kind of deserved a payoff in the form of really bad behavior. Like…

      “and then he slipped off his glasses, looked deeply into my eyes, and told me his wife didn’t understand him.”

      “he asked me to do the Macarena with him”

      “he said the job would be given to the first person who could beat him in Candyland.”

        1. Anonymous*

          Dear Jamie, is it bad I thought of you yesterday when I saw the Honda Odyssey all tricked out with Hello Kitty EVERYTHING. Or was that you???

          1. Jamie*

            Ha – mine’s a Mustang! (Truth be told not that tricked out, just a couple of subtle accoutrements)

            1. Chinook*

              Now I have am image of a Mustang in a subtle rose pink share with a flower bow just above the driver’s side window.

              1. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

                Hello Kitty instantly makes me think of Jamie now.
                Was at a mall yesterday…so much Kitty.

                1. Jamie*

                  That cracks me up – I really don’t think I’m the kind of spokesperson Sanrio had in mind.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      Erica, thanks – yes – you accurately saw the situation there. It was written in a very emotional position after someone basically spent an hour telling me my entire educational and professional career was worthless… so, thanks for seeing that. The other 80% of this board has decided to draw the conclusion that I am a sociopath with entitlement issues.

      1. Mary*

        It’s okay OP – we all have had lousy interviews. There is one interview question, I was asked literally 30 years ago and I never forgot it. It turned me off to interviews to this day: ‘Finish this sentence, “Mary is_________________.

        I always get the tell me about yourself. First from the HR rep and then from the hiring manager; I just give a brief job description of my past few positions. I remember doing this and one guy said. “No tell me about your personal life.” I got stupid and answered (even though in Calif, it is an illegal question) told him the truth that I was married and had a 10 year old. I went on three interviews with 8 people in that company. Needless to say I did not get the job. So much for honesty.

      2. Also Guest*

        It only took me a few minutes to diagnose you with a personality disorder (I’m only half joking).

        1. abc*

          Yes, he comes off like a complete narcissist & very immature in that rant. Does that mean he actually is & people should feel entitled to insult him endlessly? No. He is probably none of those things…and all of the points about his character were made about the first 10 posts in…now it’s over 600…all saying the same thing.

  32. Sourire*

    OP – Take a deep breath, sleep on this, complain about it over a glass of wine with a friend, etc. Then drop it. This is one of those things where you’re justifiably annoyed and feel personally attacked, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not a big deal. We all have times where we make mountains out of mole hills, try to put this experience in perspective and move forward from it.

    The interviewer did nothing illegal, immoral or even all that offensive, to be honest. He sounds like a bit of a jerk, but there are plenty of them out there. Leave a VERY edited down version of your complaint online if you must, but it sounds like this is mostly a personality issue and candidates will notice it on their own, and be able to decide on their own if they want to work with this man/for this company.

  33. Jane Doe*

    I rolled my eyes at this: “I am a graduate of a fairly well known grad program, and I have had quite straightforward interview experiences with people in the past. Not to mention, I have a job which is decent (but I’ve known I could do better for a year now).”

    It’s just so snotty. “I went to a good school! I have a good job! How DARE you speak me to this way? Don’t you know who my father is?!?!”

    I hope this letter was sent in the heat of the moment about five minutes after the interview took place and that the OP cools down and realizes it sounds ridiculous.

    1. Heather*

      Given yesterday’s discussion, I’d crack up if the “well-known grad program” was U of Phoenix.

      1. Anonymous*

        Hey they have lots of ads on late night tv, therefore they are well-known! Just like Cash Call.

    2. SW*

      I’m getting that exact same impression from OP’s comments in this thread, too. “How DARE you question me on the word ’empirical’! Don’t speak to me unless you have [X, Y, Z degrees].” So pompous.

  34. The Other Dawn*

    I’m wondering why the OP felt the need to record the interview. Does he do this with every interview? The tone of the whole post tells me that OP is the type of person who records everything so he has “ammunition” against anyone he thinks wronged him. Or her. Kind of a “everyone is out to get me” attitude. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it comes across.

    1. Jen in RO*

      As an aside, it’s really interesting to me that some people assume OP is female and some assume OP is male. Alison, do you know which one is it? Not that it matters, but I’m really curious since I’m getting a male vibe, but a lot of people are using “her” so they’re obviously getting a female vibe.

      (Or, in light of the post itself, not that obviously.)

        1. tcookson*

          I got the male vibe, too . . . I can’t put my finger on it exactly, because, as Rana said, there is a female variant of this behavior, but somehow there are subtle gender-based nuances in what males and females dwell on when defending the ego.

      1. Rana*

        I was getting a male vibe too. It was the tone of arrogant entitlement, I think, which I’ve seen in a lot of educated people who think a bit too highly of themselves. It’s not that there isn’t a female variant – there definitely is – but that one tends to come off more snide and catty.

      2. Loose Seal*

        I used “she” when referring to OP. In my case, it was because I knew that the interviewer was male and I didn’t know the gender of the OP. So I picked the opposite gender to make my pronouns clear. I had no real feeling whether OP was male or female.

  35. B*

    OP you need to let this go. We have all been in situations with horrible interviewers, interviewers that put pressure on you to see how you handle it, those where you feel you have wasted your time, those that want you to come in the same day and when you don’t they reject you. It is a part of interviewing.

    Sure he may have been a douche but nothing horribly egregious. Also, you sound a bit high and mighty about yourself discussing your degrees from a well-known program, you have a decent job but can obviously do better, I’ve taught courses and pin-pointed this guy’s attitude right away, etc. Perhaps you are trying to illustrate a point, but whatever that point is is completely lost in your writing. Instead you are looking like the unhinged person who cannot take critiques.

  36. Andrew*

    OP–you never send a letter like this. You write it, you get all the anger and frustration and bitterness down on paper, you print a copy, and then you put that copy in a drawer. Then you delete the original from your computer.

    Years from now, when you find the copy, you’ll have a good chuckle about the whole thing.

  37. Anonymous*

    I suspect there’s an overly inflated view of an Ivy League degree lurking in the shadows or perhaps I’m just biased. The rant immediately got me thinking about a conflict I witnessed as a paralegal between two first year lawyers, one of whom had attended Hahvard Law School. She, the Hahvard grad, had written a docuement that the non-Hahvard grad had to review. The non-Hahvard grad made some changes to the doc that insensed you-know-who. “Please remind her that I went to Hahvard and she didn’t.” Well, I didn’t relay it quite like that, but she got the idea.

  38. Angelina Retta*

    The rant is TL;DR. Don’t bother sending it. You’ll just be embarrassed later.

  39. Roger*

    For the most part I agree with AAM and the previous comments: the OP should let it go and move on, just because that level of anger and stress is always harmful in some way. That said – we did not hear the tape. Text is one thing, but hearing it loud and clear is something else again. Let’s not rush to judgment on just how badly the OP is overreacting. Also, if people never get called out for dishing out crap, they never learn not to.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Sure, but the specifics that the OP gave as evidence of “vile” behavior were so far from vile that it’s unlikely that the tape would reveal something more.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        am I the only one thinking of the Seinfeld episode where George tries to record the board meeting at his late fiancee’s foundation?

        1. Poe*

          You’re not alone in this, I assumed it was an in-person interview and OP had secretly turned on a recorder at the start.

    2. BCW*

      Plus, all she said was that her friends agreed that she answered the questions perfectly. I’d be curious if those friends also thought his behavior was “vile”. If so, that is a weird group.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I could see it being along the lines of “yeah, your answers were good and that guy sounds like a jerk” and the OP taking that as confirmation of his much more extreme stance here.

        1. T in Construction*

          That’s how I took it, too.

          I have a super dramatic coworker who rants about everything (seriously — she once spent 30 minutes ranting about how annoying it was that the rice and canned soups are in the same aisle at the grocery store). Everyone just goes “oh yeah, totally, that’s so rude/annoying/terrible/horrible/vile/etc” so she’ll run out of steam.

          1. AP*

            Ha, now I’m going to spend the rest of the day wondering why it’s annoying that those things are in the same aisle! They kind of go together, no?

  40. Anonymous*

    If not for this: “despite the fact he said he was impressed with the work I’ve done for 10 years”, I would have guessed the OP had 2-3 years work experience post-education, at most. The premise of the query to AAM suggests that the OP is not an experienced interviewee and nearly everything OP took painstaking care to detail is pretty standard stuff so it is really puzzling that this person appears to be 10 years out of college, with a Masters.

    For your own peace of mind OP, move on from this interview. The guy did nothing very wrong. None of these extreme words you used are supported by the exchanges you detail: berated and harangued; vile, horrendous.

    1. tcookson*

      “it is really puzzling that this person appears to be 10 years out of college, with a Masters. ”

      I thought the OP sounded like someone who has never moved beyond relying on the cachet of a degree from a prestigious university . . . so maybe he is still working in academia, and/or hasn’t had any further notable accomplishments since the degree? You know how some people will cling to some distant accomplishment and continue to define themselves by it, and have a very fragile surrounding it?

  41. IndieGir*

    I’m just wondering what kind of buckets o’crazy OP had to be to even think to tape the interview. Why would you do that unless you were paranoid and had a chip on your shoulder to start with?

    I used to work with someone similar. She would see insult and injury in the most innocent email and had a flair for creating tension and drama in her wake. At the same time, she genuinely believed that she was being persecuted. She was so nutso she didn’t even know she was lying — she believed all her own crazy tales, even the ones I knew to be false because I had actually been there.

    I’m guessing OP is in the same category. Was the interviewer not great? Probably. Vile? No way. Not even close.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      “I’m just wondering what kind of buckets o’crazy OP had to be to even think to tape the interview. ”

      Yes, another “helpful” comment from the wonderful posters here. I am so far beyond the excuse that people are “trying to be helpful” in their replies to this when at least 50% of the posts are like this. Helpful? You’ve got to be kidding. I said I taped MY end of the PHONE interview…and I clarified that I did it because I have been in the same job for a few years & have not interviewed in a while & am trying to improve where I can because I am out of practice with it.

      And you all need to get over the word “vile” – for me, questioning an belittling everything I have ever done & worked on in my life with sighs & snorting noises while being condescending for 60 full minutes was vile…OK?

    2. Anonicorn*

      I might be strange, but I can see how recording yourself during an interview would be useful. This is how speech/communication classes are generally taught. They record your presentations so that you can be aware of and improve your weaknesses–verbal ticks, posture, gestures, etc.

      1. Anonicorn*

        Oh, M covered that directly below. One day I’ll learn to read everything before I paint a blue wall blue. :P

        1. Woodward*

          Just had to say, I worked for a woman once who didn’t want me to wash the white walls when they looked dirty; she wanted them painted white again. As in, taped the edges, tarp on the floor, brush and roller painted. For an experiment, I washed one half of the wall and painted the other half; it looked the same. I have a VERY vivid mental image of what “paint a blue wall blue” looks like!

  42. M*

    While I agree the whole thing comes off as a bit unhinged, just wanted to say that I understood the OP’s comment about recording the interview from her side to mean a tape recorder (or something) in the room with her not attached to the phone so not in a position to capture the interviewer’s remarks but just her own voice. I could see how this could be a useful tool for someone wanting to improve their intervewing, akin to videoing yourself practicing a speach.

    1. Sourire*

      That is how I read it too, given that OP specifically stated “my end of the interview” vs simply saying that he/she recorded “the interview”.

    2. A Bug!*

      On a re-read I think you are likely right. The references to the recording are made in support of the things the OP said rather than in support of the things the interviewer said. It’s far from crystal clear but I do think you’re right with your interpretation.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Very useful! Job classes sometimes give you opportunities to videotape or have someone observe a mock interview and critique, just for this purpose. It’s a good way to notice and quash ums and likes and slouching and other less-than-ideal habits you don’t want to exhibit in an interview. :)

    4. The_evil_OP*

      Yes, M – that’s exactly why I did (and it was just my end in my house – not his voice). I have not had to interview in a few years, and it is actually useful because I *was* truly rambling in one spot in particular. In the other spots, I was not – but he seemed to want to berate me when the answer wasn’t what he wanted.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Its only recorded on my side (though I can type the questions out) – and you are all going to be very let down when you hear how non-sociopathic I am. Anyway, it is a full hour – so I’d have to play it on the phone. Email attachments won’t send. If anyone is sincere (and not looking for further ridicule) i would play it for them.

  43. SEBarbara*

    I want to know why, if she clearly identified his behavior, she didn’t change her approach so the interview would be more successful. The way OP describes it, she just kept on answering his questions without doing anything to help the situation. If she is so knowledgeable about his inattention, then she should also have some tricks to deal with it. Unless, she prefers getting upset that other people aren’t behaving the way she thinks they should and hasn’t bothered to learn how to deal with different communication styles.

  44. PuppyKat*

    As someone who moved from the “outside world” into a position with a university fairly recently, I immediately read the OP as someone who has been in academia their entire career and has now applied for a corporate position. I love my job and where I work. But in my experience so far, the people who have worked at the university for any length of time tend to be what I consider over-sensitive and unable to handle direct communication—not to mention burdened with severe cases of entitlement.

    The university hiring system is also beyond belief: You can’t deviate from the list of interview questions, even when it makes no sense to ask a candidate a particular question; questions are assigned to specific members of the interviewing committee to ask (and there’s *always* a committee); and you have to ask for permission to call any reference not provided by the candidate. But I digress….

      1. fposte*

        My university has the “same questions for everybody” rule; my impression is that it’s that it’s because we’re state, and that as a result fairness tends to be mandated by rule and statute. I imagine the theory is that this ensures that candidates weren’t inappropriately dismissed or given a disproportionately easy ride for illegal (or perhaps political) reasons.

        1. PuppyKat*

          My impression is the same as fposte’s. And I can understand the need to essentially be fair to all candidates. But my university really takes it to extremes.

          For instance, during my last search, the three finalists included two internal candidates. I composed a question that basically asked them how they were going to go about supervising a team of people who used to be their peers.

          The question obviously only applied to the two internal candidates. However, HR required me to ask it of the third, external candidate as well. It was silly. I’ll admit that I made some minor word changes to that question when I was in the interview room with the third candidate.

          Anyway, I couldn’t resist adding this additional information. Apologies to Alison for the continued digression!

  45. Ruffingit*

    As something of an aside, I’d like to make a general suggestion that people (everywhere in general) all dial back dramatic word usage. “Horrendous interview…” You know what is horrendous? 3rd degree burns over 80 percent of your body. That’s horrendous. This interview you had? Merely annoying and unprofessional. Dialing back the dramatic language is a small thing, but can often help with putting things in perspective.

    1. Anonymous*

      You know, I blame the teachers for that. All that darn emphasis on vocabulary! It used to be the biggest words people could come up with were “Awesome”, or perhaps “Yucky”. Now everyone thinks they’re a writer.

      1. A teacher*

        Please don’t blame me for that…I teach high school…you want to see teen drama and angst, hang out in the high school halls for an hour. Most of us expect the kids to tone it down and will do reality checks on a daily basis.

        1. Rana*

          Yup. And while it’s useful for people to know the existence of words like, for example, “corpulent” – it’s equally important for them to know when it’s appropriate to use, and when they’re better off just writing “fat.”

          I did a lot of vocabulary crushing when I taught, and as an editor. We even have a term for the problem: thesauritis.

          1. T in Construction*

            I had a great teacher who had a rule for writing — “Do you work at the NY Times? No? Then don’t try to write like you do”

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I blame Yahoo! where every article is about something unsavory, mysterious, or amazing (just to sample the current headlines). If I make the mistake of clicking through, there is usually nothing amazing, mysterious, or unsavory.

    3. Loose Seal*

      One of my best teachers said that when we finished writing something, we should go back and remove all the adjectives. Then, only add the ones back in that were needed to make sense. She was also the same teacher that told us that exclamation marks were not usually needed in writing.

      1. Ruffingit*

        To add to my earlier comment, it’s more than the choice of words in a written context, it’s also the way the poster is thinking of the situation. He/she is thinking “this was a HORRENDOUS interview” and thinking that way just adds to the internal anger and drama.

        Dial it back OP. It wasn’t horrendous.

        1. fposte*

          I think you’re spot on as far as self-talk goes, and I think, OP, that this relates to what some of us have been talking about upthread. Sometimes we can get so locked into indignation and hurt that it feels like a loss to change the story to one of merely moving forward past some surprising annoyance, but boy, can it be freeing to do. You might find it worth exploring just to say to to yourself wherever you are, “That wasn’t very pleasant, but I’m okay.” And let the “I’m okay” be the last part of it–don’t succumb to the temptation to close with a way to make the narrative focus again on how wronged you feel. You don’t even have to tell us if you did it :-).

  46. Anonymous*

    You know, I’ve had bad interviews too. I have never once thought of “exposing” someone, or writing a bad review. That seems so navel-gazey. Why not just say to yourself, “Hey I just found a company I do not want to work at, go me!”, and move on?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Exactly. And I might share my experience with close friends who may think of applying to that company, but I wouldn’t bother with scathing reviews all over the Internet or wanting to “expose” the person. What exactly would you be exposing anyway? That the person is a bad interviewer? OK, there are tons of those. Big deal. Move on.

      1. annie*

        Agree. I just think of it as that company loosing the opportunity to work with the fabulous me! :)

    2. Not so NewReader*

      “naval gazey”

      (Note to self: Remove “horrendous”. Add “naval gazey”.)

      1. Anonymous*

        Naval gazey: someone who stalks Navy enlisted.
        Navel gazey: someone who stalks belly dancers.

        So sorry, I just could not resist. I just couldn’t.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      One of my Native American friends has a signature line in a forum we belong to that says “I am Lakota–whatever does not kill me makes a funny story!” I love this.

  47. Amelia*

    There is an overwhelming sense of entitlement here. On top of the overly dramatic and rambling review, it sounds like they feel entitled to getting the interview correspondence that they expect. The OP is so thrown off that someone would doubt them and question them in a way outside of their choosing during an interview. How dare anyone question them?! They “do not live where that company is located…do not really work in that industry”!

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Actually, it’s the opposite. To clear up all these arrogance comments and amateur internet psychiatry…let me be clear about this: I have a very LOW opinion of myself, psychologically. I have never had high self-esteem. If any of the commenters who made similar statements were really that adept at their internet psychiatry – they’d realize this came from having an already-weak ego threatened…not from having entitlement issues. Someone who feels like he has no intrinsic value will have the emotional response like I did when the tiny shred of value that I thought I had was being attacked. So, that’s the real psychology behind it – to educate some of your readers who think I am some pompous ass hole. I do have extremely strong credentials that I worked very hard for (academically and professionally). Am I not supposed to say that? Do I think I am entitled to anything due to those credentials? No. But, a lot of interviewers DO open with things like “your resume is really unique – I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed someone from xxx” who started “xx” business. Your readers seem to think my issue is entitlement – it’s not. I think I am entitled to the same basic respect I have given people I interviewed. I realize, from the comments section, it’s too much to expect an interviewer to give a person a basic level of respect, but personally, I was never an ass hole to anyone I interviewed.

      I do not work in the industry or location – but the ROLE is what I have worked in before.

      1. Rana*

        I think, OP, that the problem is, whatever you’re feeling inside, you’re notcoming across that way. At. all.

        The impression you’re giving off – whether you intend it to or not – is of someone who is fragile, prickly, arrogant, and too important to be challenged in any way by anyone.

        People who are confident in their experience and credentials don’t need to browbeat other people with them. They trust that the quality of their work can be perceived without having to call aggressive and repeated attention to it. When slighted or doubted, they are ready to calmly explain why such doubts are not a matter for concern; if the matter is not resolved, they are able to move on, knowing that their worth is not defined by the opinion of a single person.

        By reacting so defensively, and aggressively, and in such an exaggerated fashion, you’re actually setting yourself up for failure, not success. For example, no one here thinks you are “evil.” That’s something you’ve applied to yourself and seem now bent on making a reality.

        Please, take a deep breath. None of us knows you personally, nor what’s in your head. All we have to go on are what you’ve written here. And, whatever you may have intended, what you have written does not make you look like a sympathetic person. It makes you look like a jerk with no sense of proportion.

        If that is not you, then you need to think about why your writing is conveying that message, instead of attacking everyone else for receiving it. The good news is that writing is a lot easier to fix than character flaws – but first you have to acknowledge and address the problem.

        The problem, in a nutshell, is that your communication is poor. Work on it.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          Yeah, I agree that review makes me look like a “jerk with no sense of proportion”. I guess the dozen attempts to explain why it came out that way have been missed. 80% of the board just loved jumping all over the “psycho” who would write such a thing – that they are ignoring the fact I wrote it in a very bad mood in about 10 minutes right after the interview (a few people picked up on that, however – to their credit).

          I’ve had like 20-30 interviews in my life for 10-15 companies, outside of academic interviews…I’ve done fine. This was one of the worst for a lot of reasons I have already discussed (outside of that initial post)…and can’t discuss due to anonymity.

          Behavior = situation x personality. Historically, “situation” is much harder for people to understand… hence the name “fundamental attribution error”

          1. Anonymous*

            Maybe the interviewer was in a bad mood and shouldn’t be judged for that, just the same way you don’t want us to judge you for fifteen minutes spent screaming at a keyboard after a lousy interview.

            Your unwillingness to consider that or related points are what make you sound bad.

          2. Rana*

            But, again, OP, all we had to go on was your words, not your situation, and yet you still came out swinging and defensive.

            Here’s the thing: knowing that people can – and will – misinterpret what we say, it behooves us to think through not just what we want to say, but what an audience is likely to perceive. The time to make sure that the situation is clear is before you post something, not afterward, when people have already formed opinions based on the information they have.

            I have sympathy for your situation, I really do – both at the time and right now – but it is what it is. It’s now your choice as to whether you keep digging at this hole you’re in, or whether you seek a way to gracefully accept the results of your impulsiveness. Yes, people have reacted to this in ways that are upsetting. But, you didn’t have to write this. You didn’t have to send it. You didn’t have to add to it.

            In other words, you’re as much responsible for this situation as Alison or any of the commenters – indeed, you’re more so, since none of this would have happened if you’d hit “delete” instead of “send.”

            I know this sucks. I’ve posted dumb things online in the heat of the moment, and regretted them mightily. I’ve seen a lot of other people do that too. But you know what made the difference between it being a brief embarrassment that people soon forgot or forgave, or a big hullabaloo? The poster’s willingness to say “Oops, I screwed up. I won’t do it again.” instead of lashing out defensively and trying to “fix” it. This can’t be fixed now. It can only be forgiven and forgotten, and for that, you’re going to have to show some grace and contrition, and let this lie, however shitty that may feel.

            I’m sorry.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            You didn’t explain it, though. You kept saying “You think I’m an asshole,” and yelling at people who were suggesting that your letter wasn’t coming across the way you wanted it, and maybe that you didn’t come across the way you wanted to in the interview. You called Alison “snotty.” Alison is not snotty–sometimes she is very frank, but I have survived extreme snotty, and she isn’t it.

            When are you going to say, “Yeah, this interview sucked. I was very upset by it. Do you all think this is crappy and jerky?” instead of just lashing out at the interviewer, at us, at Alison…it’s just not stopping.

            I said in my comment below that I quit reading–but I came back to see if you had calmed down. And you haven’t–except when someone agreed with you in a way that validated you.

            If your self-esteem really is that fragile, you need to go see someone about it and not seek validation on the internet. Seriously, the internet is the LAST place someone like you should be. It can be friendly and helpful, like this, but it can also be a flaming hellhole. What you write here may not stay here. I don’t think you can handle the trolls. They would crush you. And really, I hate to see that happen to anyone.

          4. Katie the Fed*

            You REALLY need to stop the hyperbole. I’d bet if I tallied up the posts here by “constructive” vs “attacking” you’d find there are actually very few that are attacking. Most people really got that you were being overemotional at the time, and were trying to talk you down.

          5. Charles*

            It also doesn’t help your case that you are using the concept of “fundamental attribution error” incorrectly.

            Fundamental attribution error refers to the tendency to attribute another person’s mistakes to personality, but attribute one’s own mistakes to situation.

            It refers to the natural human tendency over-inflate the impact of personality when evaluation another’s behavior. Fundamental attribution error is not generally considered applicable in self-assessment, where there is little tendency to blame one’s own personality over situational factors.

            If anything, fundamental attribution error supports the AAM/the other commenter’s suggestion that you maybe want to revisit this incident again when less in the heat of the moment.

  48. Colorado*

    Let it go and move on. You’re only going to make yourself look crazy with all the ranting about things that don’t seem that bad.

  49. Elizabeth*

    As a teacher, I want to add that diagnosing attention problems, such as ADHD, is not something that even a specialist can do in five minutes of conversation. The human brain is a complicated thing, and teasing out what’s going on in it takes focused evaluation. I’ve been teaching elementary school for eight years now, and I know that I am only qualified enough to know when to refer a student to our learning specialist – who then calls in outside experts for further testing and consultation. Teaching courses in a business setting does not qualify one to make a medical/psychological diagnosis of a learning difference.

    The OP may have gotten good at quickly spotting people s/he finds frustrating to communicate with (though this is a self-fulfilling prophecy!) but this is not the same as “diagnosing attention issues.”

    1. The_evil_OP*

      As I posted elsewhere, to be a teacher at the university I graduated from, I had to take several classes before teaching full time (as opposed to just being a TA). These classes included procedures relating to people with a variety of learning issues (including attention issues). Am I legally able to diagnose him and writing an Rx for Ritalin? No. Did I see the classic signs that I’ve learned about & seen in 5-10% of students? Yes. It’s not that complicated to pick up on.

      1. Done with it.*

        Classic signs, yes. Does it mean he has the condition you refer to? No. Does it mean you should wind your neck in and stop saying “I know what X is because I’ve taken several classes and done some work in the field that’s not in the least giving me the right to label someone just because I don’t like them!”? Yes. It does.

        Stop ‘diagnosing’ people from the armchair, and start working on your interviewing skills, please.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          Why is everyone so sensitive about me saying he has attention issues? He spent 60 minutes interrupting, being highly impatient, insisting that I didn’t answer questions that I answered 3 different ways, sighing, snorting, and being condescending. So, “attention issue” or not – that behavior was unpleasant. I chose to label it because I felt like labeling it. Boo hoo.

          I am so tired of people that think that anything that cannot be summarized in 5 words is “rambling”. It’s a very American thing too – btw, this “keep everything high level” idea. I lived in another country for several years, and the reverse would be considered true. It would be considered abrupt and rude to give answers that are preferred in America.

          1. Done with it.*

            Because as someone who /has/ a disability, your armchair diagnosing is really really grating. I have to fight misconceptions and people saying stuff like what you did all the time. Maybe it’s just his personality. Maybe it’s just the way he behaves in interviews. You don’t know for sure, especially since this was just an interview – and you are not a professional in that field.

            You could be correct. But you also have no way to establish that, and you should leave it for a professional. “He was rambling, distracted, and unprofessional” <— That's good. "I think he has a condition" is not okay.

            You come across as condescending and hurtful.

            And rambling is exactly what you did in your 'review'. It's full of extraneous information, hyperbole, and information that isn't relevant. You don't have to summarise in five words or less, but you do have to learn to trim the fat in your words when it comes to reviews by being succinct, sticking to the facts, and dispensing with the emotive, hyperbolic language.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I am so tired of people that think that anything that cannot be summarized in 5 words is “rambling”.

            People didn’t characterize your post as rambling because it was lengthy. They characterized it that way because it was truly rambling: hard to follow, disjointed, and unclear writing. People post lengthy things here all the time, and when they’re clear and well thought-out, no one complains. The issue is construction and editing for clarity, not length. I realize that is blunt, so you will probably take it as another insult, but it’s worth paying attention to.

            (And I’m not sure if this feedback will ever sink in, but this is another example of you insulting others in an attempt to defend yourself — i.e., “my writing wasn’t unclear, they just can’t tolerate in-depth discourse.” The problem with that kind of defensive reaction isn’t just that it doesn’t fool anyone and makes you look bad; the bigger problem is that you deny yourself the opportunity to truly hear feedback and grow. When you’re this focused on trying to defend yourself at all costs — and you’re certainly coming across that way here — you really do yourself a disservice.)

  50. AnotherAlison*

    This also reminds me of my friend who called up Pand ora and chewed them out about their free service sucking. I think they cared about his opinion just about as much as her interviewer’s company would.

    1. some1*

      Or the people who freak about what people post on Facebook. (I.e. “I’m sick of reading about hockey today!”)

  51. RJ*

    For the record, there’s also a huge difference between Powerpoint skills and presentation skills. Having one doesn’t indicate that you have the other at all.

    1. T in Construction*

      If the job requires strong Powerpoint and presentation skills, then the interview definitely should ask the OP’s skill level. It’s not obvious just from a resume, and often people overestimate or lie about their skill set.

      We were hiring for a Contracts Administrator position recently, during each interview we asked the interviewees about their abilities in drafting contracts, knowledge of the FAR, ect. Many of them definitely overestimated their abilities, or conversely, it was unclear from their resumes what their proficiency level was but they were actually proficient with contracts. No one was offended like the OP.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      How would I have survived many years in consulting if I couldn’t present anything? And, how would I have presented at dozens of (peer reviewed) conferences (and won awards – all on my resume)? Also, the point was – he asked if I could present things & at what level (so I explained from undergrads to CXOs – which my resume makes clear) and then he said “well, it doesn’t sound like you have presented much.” Seriously. 10+ years of presenting to every possible audience (and getting awards) is “not much” – ok.

      1. Lexie*

        OP, I was feeling bad for you at first because it seemed like you were just blowing off some steam in your letter. I understand how hard it can be to feel pride in skills and have that challenged- fairly or not. I think you should take a step back from systematically defending yourself against every criticism in these posts and truly look at the big picture. Every one here is trying to provide a piece of valuable feedback and AAM’S readers genuinely are aiming to help. It may feel great to get the last word now, but your replies are mirroring your initial letter and are only cementing the remarks that you are attempting to refute.

      2. Anon*

        Every possible audience? Does that include screaming kindergartners, the executive board of a company, gun-toting homegrown militia members, teenagers high on weed, and a group of highly egotistic but also highly educated doctors who are intent on one-upping each other?

        Brought to you by the power of my imagination, as granted to me by TV.

  52. MrsKDD*

    OP-get over yourself and get a reality check. With the way you started your post, I thought for sure you were told you would have to perform sexual favours to get ahead in the selection process. I’m still not totally clear on what the interviewer did that was so over-the-top…mind you, I started skimming over the incoherent ramblimgs after the second paragraph…regardless, saying things like “exposing” the interviewer makes you appear like you’re flat-out insane. Just because your interview wasn’t what you were expecting doesn’t make the interview structure wrong. Ugh, so smug.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Why does your mind (and that of dozens of other posters) go straight to sexual favors? It’s very odd.

      Belittling my entire career and all of my accomplishments was bad – people, ok? Yes, I said it was vile because having everything I did for the last 15 years reduced to his snorts and disgusted gasps was BAD. What is so hard to understand? If he asked me for a BJ, I would’ve been far less offended by that. At least then I’d know he was a crazy pervert and I could just leave.

      So to summarize for the person who is tallying the insults vs. constructive feedback – here we have “incoherent ramblings, flat-out insane, get over yourself, get a reality check, and smug”

      1. Amy*

        You’ve given literally zero examples of your interviewer “belittling [your] entire career and all of [your] accomplishments.” You state numerous times that it happened, but you’ve given no examples of it. If that’s what happened, and if you want anyone to understand what happened, it would be helpful to identify when and where that happened. Specifically, what did you say, and what did the interviewer say in response? It’s very clear how you felt about the interview, but it’s not at all clear what actually happened in the interview.

  53. Lindsay H.*

    I really hope the OP weighs now a little time has passed and because, I’m assuming, he or she did not receive the resounding support that was expected.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Yeah, I’m weighing in… I didn’t expect this to be posted for one thing, and the number of misconceptions is astounding.

      1. Leslie Yep*

        When nearly everyone interprets your response in one way, that’s not really a “misconception.” There’s near unanimity here about how you are coming off to others; I would take that as an opportunity to reflect on why my intention and how I’m actually being perceived are so disjointed.

      2. Emily*

        Can you explain why you submitted this if you didn’t expect it to be posted? You wrote to an advice columnist/blogger who publishes questions and answers every day, presumably seeking a response. I understand that you wrote your review itself, and your letter, in the heat of the moment, and grant that you had the presence of mind to run it by someone else instead of posting directly to Glassdoor, but still, impulsive reactions and hasty responses like these are not usually the way to make friends and influence people.

        1. Woodward*

          “Can you explain why you submitted this if you didn’t expect it to be posted?” This is what I keep wondering. AAM posts questions people email to her. That’s how it works.

  54. BCW*

    In all honesty you sound far worse than this manager. You seem to have a very high opinion on itself, verging on arrogance and narcissism, which if that came across in your writing, probably came across in the interview. Also, you “diagnosed” his attention problem within 10 minutes. So are you a therapist or something with actual credentials to diagnose these things? I mean that would be like me reading your (poorly written) review and diagnosing you with anger issues. As many have said, nothing he did was that “vile” or “awful”. He seemed very blunt, which many people aren’t comfortable with, but thats it.

  55. Just Me*

    I got the impression the OP had a very high opinion of herself and her work/job performance, and was insulted that the interviewer did not have the same opinion.

    The OP may have read into the job description what they wanted to and ignored or negated the finance part, assuming it wasn’t as important as the interviewer thought it was.

    When the interview wasn’t going the direction she had it in her mind to go, she probably gave the haughty vibe that the interviewer picked up on.

    I have found in my own self reflection, that sometimes a more humble approach is best. While I know a interview is an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills, you don’t want to come off as an arrogant know it all. You want them to come to the conclusion that you are the best for the job by your examples not by telling them that you are so amazing no one can stand it.

  56. H. Vane*

    I’m interested in the OP’s reaction to our obviously hateful and malicious collective responses. That would be fun to read.

    1. Just Me*

      I’m willing to bet, we won’t hear from the OP. S/He has probably read the first few comments and written this off as they are all wrong, we just don’t get it… etc.

      My sister growing up had this issue with her teachers EVERY year (and then her boyfriends). They were always wrong, they didn’t know anything, she did the work right, etc.. I never understood it because I had the same teachers and they didn’t have any of those issues with me.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      I have been replying. What is so funny about all of this to you? I had a very bad experience (which was not articulated well since I wrote that review out of anger 10 minutes after it happened)…and now 300 people now are anonymously ripping me to shreds after what I just went through. So, you’re enjoying it….how nice.

      1. Kathryn T.*

        You may say that it wasn’t well articulated, but that’s all we have to go on. The fact that you could’t tell it wasn’t well articulated before you sent it to Allison is. . . troubling, to say the least.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          It’s ….”troubling”…. that I couldn’t tell it wasn’t well articulated before I sent it to Allison? lol… ok…

          I could tell that it wasn’t my finest piece of literature. I didn’t expect her to post it. Her auto-reply says she probably won’t even READ it. There are no notices that she will post anything to her main board when you contact her.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            As I already stated, my auto-reply does not say that. It says, “The number of reader questions I receive means that I can’t respond to everything, but I do try to respond to as many questions as I can.”

            Please stop misrepresenting it.

          2. Katie the Fed*

            You wrote to an advice columnist but didn’t expect this to be in her advice column?

            Now I’m getting annoyed at you. I happen to LOVE this blog – I read it religiously. It’s helped me be a better manager by far, and I personally don’t appreciate what you’re doing here.

            1. The_evil_OP*

              Can you tell me “what I am doing here” that you don’t appreciate?

              I googled something about bad interview experiences & landed on Allison’s contact page… I saw the link to her email and sent it…not really seeing the text below that says it may be posted (and that 100s of people can comment on it – which is NOT there). I figured it would never be read or replied to…that was about as much thought as I put into it. Sorry I am not a “member” of this board and friends with all of you – and I don’t know the culture or pecking order here…but if people want to rip someone to shreds who has already had a bad experience, I would defend the person being ripped to shreds…not attack them further when they are vulnerable. In this case, i am the one in question and I am defending myself. I don’t appreciate what 80% of you wrote about me. Were you the one offering to tally up the insults? In the last post I responded to, we had “get over yourself, get a reality check, incoherent ramblings, flat-out insane, and smug”. That’s just 1 post. There are 200+ others like that, despite what Allison claims about her board members “trying to be helpful” – it’s BS. At least 50% are not being helpful. If I came back in a week, I highly doubt I’d interpret those comments any differently.

              I am not sure why you think I should be appreciative of the 100s of insults posted. When people have been respectful or even criticized constructively, I replied in kind.

              1. Katie the Fed*

                Yeah, I can be more specific. I don’t appreciate you attacking Alison, lying about what she responded with, or pretending that you didn’t realize that writing into an advice columnist would mean your email would get posted (anonymously). As for your hurt feelings over everything else – that’s your business. But I don’t think it’s normal to personalize criticism to this extent – like you did with the interview and like you’re doing here. I honestly think you might want to talk to a professional about how you handle criticism. This is not healthy, it’s not good, and it’s not going to help your career.

              2. Done with it.*

                …I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. You googled in a fit of pique after a bad interview, sent a letter to an advice blog /without researching it/ or reading the page TELLING YOU THAT IT MAY BE PUBLISHED, get mad when people respond telling you’re in the wrong, and yet, somehow you expect to come out of this with validation and a halo?

                You don’t have to be a member of this blog to do five seconds scrolling through the ‘recent entries’ on here, and learn what you’re doing. I worry for you if you think a lack of research means you get to bounce off scotfree.

                People come from a number of different backgrounds on here, in a lot of different work contexts, and with different opinions. 98% of people have told you to stop, think, reassess how you approach things, and take this on the chin to learn from it.

                That alone should tell you something.

                Also, the only one on here I see being condescending is you, with your 10+ years experience~, and ~presentation skills. Congratulations. Still doesn’t mean you’re the best, or in the right.

              3. fposte*

                Even in replies where you’ve liked what people said, though, you’ve tended to fall back into complaining about other posts. That’s an unusual habit to develop on the spot–have you maybe been feeling unappreciated and hard done by at your current workplace, so this has been brewing for a while?

          3. Amy*

            When you click on the “Ask a Question” link at the top of every page on the website, this is the message you get:

            “If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, you can submit it to me at

            I can’t answer every question that I receive, but I do my best to answer as many as I can get to.

            Questions that are more than a few paragraphs have less chance of being answered.

            Be aware that any question you submit may be published here….”

            I’m sure you were surprised to see your question here, but it’s simply untrue to say that she doesn’t notify writers that their questions may be published.

      2. Mimi*

        I think you’re still too fired up to be even remotely open to criticism. You mentioned in an earlier comment that you have extremely low self-esteem….and I believe it. No one with a healthy level of self-worth would react the way you did, post-interview.

      3. Y*

        “…and now 300 people now are anonymously ripping me to shreds ”

        Please stop with the exaggerations. If you actually counted the number of different pseudonyms here, then subtracted the ones just talking about their own interview experiences, then subtracted the ones that are not actually “ripping [you] to shreds”… that would amount to almost none. Even if you meant people critizising you, that’s still very much in the two-digits, not anywhere close to 300. You are just trying to be dramatic throwing around numbers like “80%” and “300 people”.

        1. Anonymous*

          I am now starting to wonder if the interviewer was even as harsh as OP says he was. Even if he WAS as harsh (which I am now starting to doubt), my conclusion after reading OP’s remarks is that OP probably deserved it.

      4. H. Vane*

        Honestly, OP, your lack of self-awareness in the original post and the comments is hugely entertaining. It’s like watching a reality TV show where everyone behaves badly. I’m sorry you can’t see that and laugh at yourself for the way you’ve overreacted about everything.

        1. Natalie*

          This would be the perfect place for that reality show staple, “I didn’t come here to make friends!”

      5. Just Me*

        Timing on this board: a lot of the posts at the top were written after posts that follow, because replies get posted under the comment they are replying to. Your comments to previous posts may have been written after the posts at the bottom actually hit the thread.

  57. Susan*

    The other way to look at this is that the interviewer may have behaved this way on purpose. Perhaps the culture at this organization or the job is such that they need people who can handle criticism or can work under pressure. This behavior would be a quick way to weed out the people who can handle it and who can’t. My husband’s business is such that he needs to hire quickly for a high-pressure job where he needs people that can think quickly and not over react to criticism. He will often say to a potential candidate “What if I told you this was the worst interview I have ever had to sit through?” Just to gauge their reaction. It may seem cruel, but that’s how you might find the candidates you need for the specific situation.

    1. Not so NewReader*

      I’d be interested in hearing what kinds of responses he gets. Particularly, responses of the people who successfully get hired.

      Does he have a response type that he is looking for? Or does he evaluate on a person-by-person basis? (For example certain personality types can pull off X response but other personality types can do well with Y instead.)

      1. Susan*

        He does hire on a person-by-person basis, and will usually only ask this question of a candidate he is truly interested in hiring. A good response to this would be along the lines of “Well, *if* you did say that to me I might get upset (or give some other response), but as you didn’t I’m hoping we can continue with this interview. Another type of response he would look for would be “I’d sorry to hear that, can we discuss how I can improve this interview? I’m very interested in working with your company and I think I’d be a good fit”.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Bizarre. I’d probably say, “I’d be really intrigued to hear that and would be interested in hearing about why.” And I’d mean it! (But I’d also think the guy was silly. Does he realize that he’s supposed to be thinking about attracting the good candidates?)

          1. Susan*

            Yes, but what makes a good candidate can mean different things in different industries. There may be 10 qualified candidates, but in my husband’s case the one that can think quickly and remain calm under pressure is the one that will get the job. It’s a waste of time for him to hire the best candidate if they can’t handle the pressure.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Totally agree — but what I’m saying is that he’s probably turning a lot of those good candidates off with that question, even if they remain calm and give an answer he likes.

            2. Cat*

              But not everyone who thinks quickly and reacts well under pressure wants to put themselves in an environment where the pressure is artificial drama created by the company itself, which is what your husband’s question might imply. (Or maybe that is the situation at his company, in which case it’s good to let people weed themselves out, I guess.)

    2. Jazzy Red*

      He will often say to a potential candidate “What if I told you this was the worst interview I have ever had to sit through?”

      Me: “Me, too. Good bye.”

      1. tcookson*

        Me: “Me, too. Good bye.”

        Yes, me too, because high-pressure work is impersonal (and you can spin customers’ jerk-ish behavior as impersonal too), but why opt to work for someone who is just a jerk on purpose. There’s got to be a better way of discovering people’s ability to handle a high-pressure job.

        1. tcookson*

          It’s like people who say that they pride themselves on being “brutally honest”, when what they really enjoy is the brutality more than the honesty.

    3. The_evil_OP*

      I have a few friends who work there, and it’s a good place to work. The interviewer’s behavior does not fit in to the culture of the organization at all. The friend of mine who I talked about this with was shocked – and he knows far more about my background and legitimacy of my complaints than anyone here does. I couldn’t put it all here.

      1. A Bug!*

        If your friend is shocked at the behavior you are reporting, then that may be a sign that your impression of the interviewer’s behavior is a little out of line, especially if your friend knows your interviewer professionally.

        It may well also be a sign that the interviewer is a rude, abrasive, mean person. But based on the information I have available to me in the form of your letter and your comments here, that’s not where I’d put my money.

        You would of course know best if I am missing information relevant to that assessment (but then that would speak again to your ability to communicate your point in a clear and concise fashion).

    4. Done with it.*

      I’d be a little miffed, and even if he was only saying to test a candidate, it still doesn’t leave a great impression on them about the company.

      Saying it ‘s a high pressure environment is one thing, but saying to a candidate essentially, “I don’t know why I’m sitting here, and I have no wish to continue this because it’s the /worst/ interview I’ve ever had to endure” is pretty demoralising.

  58. Z*

    Incidentally, the section in which the OP describes evidence of someone being a bad student (e.g., asking for more clarification after something has been described twice) makes me think the OP is, in fact, a bad teacher. As others have said, if OP speaks like they write, then they’re probably hard to follow in conversation. I suspect these problem students have in fact been trying to get a comprehensible explanation from a poor teacher.

    1. Chinook*

      “the section in which the OP describes evidence of someone being a bad student (e.g., asking for more clarification after something has been described twice) makes me think the OP is, in fact, a bad teacher.”

      I have to agree with you. If you have described something twice and it still isn’t clear, then maybe you need to explain your idea in a different way so that it is clearer to the listener. I got my ESL job after showing up an hour late to the sample class (I forgot to change my watch to the new time zone) after giving a one-on-one class on some grammatical point (I can’t remember what). The interviewer acted like they didn’t understand and I would change my tact. I ended up explaining it 5 different ways and was later told that flexibility is what got me the job even though they were convinced they weren’t going to hire me and were just going to have some fun at my expense.

    2. The_evil_OP*

      Thanks for jumping to conclusions about my teaching skills from one sentence. My teaching scores were always 4.5-5/5, and my classes always had waiting lists. Like I stated elsewhere, I wrote that in about 10-15 minutes right after the interview. It should have been edited better, and I thought Allison would ask me before posting that here (and her auto-reply said she probably wouldn’t read it at all). That “review” is not clear enough for a lot of reasons (the time I took to write it and my need for anonymity – leaving out details about myself)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        No. My auto-reply does not say I probably wouldn’t read it at all. It says, “The number of reader questions I receive means that I can’t respond to everything, but I do try to respond to as many questions as I can.”

        And my site clearly says that anything submitted may be published here.

      2. Done with it.*

        So… you send something to a website that deals with interviewing from /both/ sides (amongst other things) that you are not comfortable with them publishing on the basis that you think that someone will get back to you and say, “Are you sure want me to post this because it seems a bit…off?” Even though it’s clearly stated that all questions have the potential to be published, and that Alison tries to get back to everyone who sends in messages?

        Wow. Just… wow.

  59. some1*

    Why were you interviewing at a company that’s not in your location or industry in the first place?

  60. Maggie*

    I had one especially bad interview experience recently (haven’t we all had at least one?) but really OP, let it go. Just chalk it up to that person/company as being on your personal “no” list.

  61. CatB*

    So yeah, the transcript doesn’t show any egregious actions from the interviewer. Probably not really the run-of-the-mill kind of jerk (I guess maybe 1 or 2 levels of obnoxiousness above average?), but – in writing – nothing really Elm Street nightmare-type things.

    That’s why I wonder: maybe the really aggravating part was in the non- / para-verbal? Maybe it was all just minute things (snarky tone, unwarranted impatience and so on) adding up?

    That’s not to say that OP is right; s/he’s not. That rant is the kind of letter you write, print, sign, put in an envelope and stash the envelope in a drawer. Sending it would be a serious sign that a reality check is badly needed.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it’s possible that the aggravating part was the tone stuff, but the OP doesn’t even say that if so! He focused entirely things that fall squarely under the Not Horrible category.

      1. CatB*

        Yeah, I wondered also why s/he didn’t mention anything tone-related (I would expect tons of meta-messages from a jerk). Then again, this para-verbal thing is hard to fathom or even notice as such, unless one is a mindful (or trained) person. Most of the times people just get flustered without being able to find a logical explanation.

        Again, that doesn’t excuse OP’s poor reaction; it’s just a shot at an explanation.

          1. Jen in RO*

            The name change was about one of the recent threads (don’t remember which one exactly), where HR Pufsnuf went against most commenters’ opinion… but this thread is so much better than that one.

            1. HR NavalGaze*

              I kind of like this username flexibility. It reflects how deeply evaluated my feelings are for the current topic.

              1. Katie the Fed*

                I like this one. It makes me think you’re watching Navy ships pull into port.

                1. HR NavalGaze*

                  Actually, I’m in Naknek, AK right now for the commercial salmon season. The temp office faces the river, lots of ships to gaze at, none Naval.

  62. ChristineSW*

    Adding to the chorus here. The review is way too long and, frankly, not warranted. Sure, the interviewer definitely sounds like a bit of a jerk, but, as others have said, I was expecting far worse behavior. Not worth exposing, imho.

    If you really must post a review, I like what someone said way up-thread about keeping it to the facts. No need to add all of that commentary. Keep it professional and tactful.

  63. Lindsay the Temp*

    “I have no qualms about burning bridges because I do not live where that company is located and I do not really work in that industry.”

    Am I the only one that caught this??? WHY WERE YOU INTERVIEWING FOR THIS POSITION?????

    1. Ruffingit*

      Nope, you’re not alone in wondering why the OP interviewed there. Also, having no problem burning bridges because you don’t work in the industry or live in the town is ridiculous. You never know who from that industry knows someone within yours or who from the town is friends/valued customers of your business, etc. It’s just totally ridiculous to be anything but professional because the world truly is a small place these days.

    2. changing location & possibly industry*

      No, I don’t think you are the only one that caught that. And I don’t think this scenario so unusual. I am looking to move to a community that is over 200 miles away from where I currently live. My former industry no longer exists, so I’ve been searching for positions that utilize my skills, experience, and education; additionally, this job market is very competitive due to the small population size. Maybe the OP is in a similar situation. However, I am aware of my lack of industry knowledge and fully expect to be grilled regarding my perceived weaknesses relative to other candidates during my up-coming interview.

    3. The_evil_OP*

      I know several people who work at the company and are very happy there. No need for all caps. God forbid I used all caps in my post….

  64. Meganly*

    OP, I re-wrote your review for you, without the extraneous information and asides. TBH, I think I’d have gotten pretty frustrated by your answers as well! It sounds like you danced around answering every question, even though your interviewer explicitly asked for high-level answers.

    This was one of the worst phone interview experiences I have ever had. The interviewer seemed to have some kind of chip on his shoulder for the entire painful hour. He opened with “tell me about yourself.” After I told him about myself, he said I “told him nothing” and said “all I got was project manager and change manager,” which I did not say/is not all I said. (?)

    Another issue was the extreme impatience and inability to follow anything I said beyond two sentences. This interviewer interrupted me, claiming I didn’t answer when I did, and asked for clarification when something was answered twice. He insisted that my answers were not “high level” enough for them.

    At one point, he wanted to know every MBA course I took. He was irritated that the list didn’t have a lot of finance and accounting in it. When I mentioned that I had taken a business ethics class, there was an audible grumble from his side. Since I didn’t have a strict finance background, he spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out if I could read a balance sheet and determine what the drivers of costs and revenue were. I explained the situations where I read balance sheets and contributed to them in revenue forecasts. But, he repeatedly said I wasn’t answering the question and I was an extremely frustrating person to interview. Then, he said “I am going to give you some harsh feedback about your interview skills” about 20 minutes in…which came at the end.

    He then questioned my PowerPoint and presentation skills, though he said he was impressed with the work I’ve done for 10 years (several for a huge consulting firm and directly for C-level execs in other cases).

    At the end, he said he “wasn’t sure about me” and then proceeded to berate my interview performance and the fact I was not working at a sufficiently high enough level for someone with my background. This went on for 10 minutes straight, with him saying it was his “free advice” and he “didn’t have to tell me all of this but he enjoys helping others.” Finally, he said, I seemed “so smart on paper” and I should probably have another chance. He asked me to set up an appointment with his admin for a teleconference interview after I was certain this was the type of job that would fit with me. I said I’d need some time to think about it, however his admin sent me a rejection letter at 11:30 PM after I took too long to schedule a teleconference.

    In conclusion, I was berated and harangued for 60 minutes.

    1. Rana*

      Nice editing job. And I agree with you about the “dancing around the questions” quality to it. I can’t blame the interviewer for getting frustrated.

  65. MC*

    I usually love reading this stuff but couldn’t get past the first paragraph of the review.

    I’ve had terrible experiences before during my job search but I’m not going to write a Glassdoor post about it unless I was, say, opening discriminated against or something. If the person is just a terrible interviewer…well. that’s just one out of many. Not getting a position there would be a blessing in disguise.

    1. LJL*

      I really think that’s the best way to look at it….along the lines of, “wow, that was horrible! I’m so glad I dodged THAT bullet.” And perhaps laugh about it a few years later.

  66. Brooke*

    From just life experiences in general, I’ve learned that USUALLY when someone is telling you “their side” of the story, and “their side” is always really good and they did nothing wrong whatsoever, but the other person was the one that was totally wrong and terrible. If a story has one person who did nothing wrong and one who did everything wrong, more often than not, the story is severely biased.

    Since I tend to keep an eye out for this kind of talk, based on the letter to Alison and the letter that OP is wanting to post, I have to wonder if this “I’m better than that” attitude (that strongly comes across throughout the entire post) came across to the interviewer and possibly that’s why he was seen as “a jerk”.

    Usually, if you are kind to a person, they will be kind to you. If you are rude, nasty, or self-centered to a person, they will probably respond “rude” back. It’s natural.

  67. AllisonD*

    You may have a legitimate complaint about the interview but your response comes off as a rant. There is no benefit to you in purusing this. Let it go – deep breath!

  68. A Bug!*

    There are a lot of posts here! I Ctrl-F’ed to see if this was covered already and it looks like it might not have been, but if I’m wrong I’m sorry for the repetition.

    OP, I wanted to touch on the interviewer’s criticisms regarding your providing too much context and your failing to answer questions.

    As AAM said in her answer, it is more than possible that these criticisms are valid.

    Based on the content of your letter, I wouldn’t be surprised if you have difficulty nailing down the information that is essential to your point, and expressing that clearly and concisely.

    Based on the interviewer’s criticisms, I wouldn’t be surprised if you have a tendency not to hear the question as it is asked, but as you want or expect it to be asked, and, consequently, then provide an inappropriate answer.

    Based on your observation of his lack of attentiveness and his requests for clarification on matters you felt you had answered, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were giving him a flood of information from which you expected him to extract or infer the answer.

    I also feel like you may have a fundamental misunderstanding of the interview process, because interviewing is nothing like teaching a class (unless you’ve got an interview stage where you are asked to make a presentation). In a classroom setting, the instructor directs the flow of discourse. In an interview setting, it’s the interviewer who decides what is relevant and what is necessary.

    The interviewer communicated to you that you were not answering questions in a way that was helpful to him. Instead of moderating your answers, you took umbrage and carried on as you felt fit. This would be a red flag for me: if I hired you, could I trust you to follow instructions as presented, or would you take matters into your own hands and do things the way you thought they should be done?

    So, the short and sweet of all of this? Is that I think you should definitely take a good, long look at how you are answering questions and whether or not the things you consider ‘essential’ to the answer are as essential as you think.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Sounds like OP may be an “over explainer”. You’re right, though, OP should consider whether what he’s saying is essential to making the point, or if it’s just extraneous information that can be left out.

    2. Poe*

      This is really good information. I talk a lot when I get nervous, so when I go to interviews I take in a folder with resume copies, etc, and also a post-it that says “STAR” to remind me to answer questions in an orderly fashion: Situation, Task, Action, Result. It helps a lot (and I found out about it when I asked for feedback after I was not offered an internal position I had applied for).

    3. The_evil_OP*

      Yes, your basic point might be correct. I am not as concise as I could be – but let me just say this… first, I didn’t know this was going to be posted here for public criticism. Second, I wrote it 10 minutes after the interview & it was quite rushed. Third, I have had 4 jobs (and grad school) in 10+ years…all of which included many many interviews. I never had a problem with any of them & they were never like this. I didn’t effectively communicate how awful his tone was either & provide more specific examples because (a) I wrote it emotionally, after I typed it and (b) I had no idea it would end up here – open to criticism by anonymous people who seem to enjoy ripping me to shreds even further. If I knew it was going to be posted here, I would’ve changed what I focused on…and my direct email to allison wasn’t something I thought would be read by 300 people with the need to pile on the bandwagon.

      1. Loose Seal*

        When you click on the “ask a question” button on this website, you read:

        Be aware that any question you submit may be published here.

        so I’m not really buying that you didn’t know it would be here for public scrutiny. Maybe you were relying on this:

        Questions that are more than a few paragraphs have less chance of being answered.

        Regardless, I hope when you calm down, you can do a little introspection as to why people made some assumptions about you because of your letter.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Alison has said many times that anyone emailing a question to her should be prepared to have it published. And it says it on the Ask Me a Question page of this website: “Be aware that any question you submit may be published here.”

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        my direct email to allison wasn’t something I thought would be read by 300 people with the need to pile on the bandwagon.

        I don’t get this. Most of your email was a review that you were asking if you should publish on the Internet for far more than 300 people to read.

      4. MrsKDD*

        Even your response to all these posts is demonstrating just how little objectivity you have. Of course you knew this could get posted here; that’s what that email address is for. Stop saying “everyone is picking on me” and realize you may have been wrong about this.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          I did say the interview review was over the top & written in an emotional state…about 20 times.

      5. A Bug!*

        I’m not sure why you selected the pseudonym you did. Nobody here is calling you ‘evil’. If you think the comments here amount to thinking you’re an evil person, it makes me further question whether the interviewer’s comments to you were quite as ‘vile’ as you represented.

        I will acknowledge that today’s post has drawn a lot more comments than usual, although many of them were hung up on what seems to be a moot point. But in my skimming through them I haven’t seen anything that would really amount as any verbal abuse or demonizing.

        I say this as a person who has trouble being short and to the point (she typed, as regular readers of her comments nodded along knowingly). I know, it’s not easy sometimes. And it takes practice, and careful thought.

        But that’s not even what the main problem seems to be here: it’s your reaction to valid criticism. You’ve been consistent from your letter to your comments here, in blowing criticism out of proportion and having some really unrealistic expectations.

        And you’re responding to comments here in a manner which just further tips the scale in the direction of the interviewer’s criticisms being completely valid, by the way.

        You seem to be bringing up a lot of irrelevant points in your defense . For example, I didn’t say you don’t have interview experience at any time. I said you come across as if you don’t understand the interview process, given that you held up your classroom teaching experience as evidence that you present well in interviews. The two aren’t related; they require different skills entirely. So your 10+ years of teaching experience aren’t relevant to my comment.

        So I guess what I’d just like to invite you to do is to sit back, take a deep breath, and if you don’t find the comments here unhelpful, to forget they even exist. Your commenting here, from what I can see, is doing nothing other than confirming the opinions people have formed from your original letter.

        I’m sorry you didn’t get the result you were hoping for when you wrote to AAM. But I truly hope that you can look at the advice given here with a dispassionate eye and maybe find something useful you can take from it.

        1. Loose Seal*

          I’m not sure why you selected the pseudonym you did.

          Evil is an anagram of vile. Something in that, perhaps?

          1. The_evil_OP*

            It’s a joke bc everyone seems to think I am a sociopath from a review written in an overly emotional state.

            1. N*

              No, honey. They think you’re a sociopath because of the comments you’ve posted here in response. Before that we just thought you were a little naive and silly.

              1. The_evil_OP*

                To the person tallying – please add “sociopath” to the list of “constructive, helpful feedback” vs. “insults”.

                Yes, when not interviewing for jobs, I go around killing people and robbing old ladies when they cross the street.

                1. Jill*

                  I love it when someone says they’re done with the board and won’t be responding further and then continues responding.

                2. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

                  Oh for heaven’s sake.
                  * * * *
                  I was going to defend N here, then realized that OP’s tallying of “insults” reminds me of two other people I’ve known to use such a tactic. Both wanted attention, demanded that it be only their way, and desperately needed psychological help. Not in the “she’s such a jerk, she must be crazy” needed help, but in the “um…this isn’t ok. She’s suffering and driving other people up the wall and needs to find someone to talk things out with kind of way.”

                  Even attempts at constructive criticism just fed those other people’s desire for attention without improving their situations. So, I’m out of this discussion.

                1. Emily*

                  That’s true. I don’t think N’s response was intended to be any more literal than your statement. You seem to have a habit of using exaggeration and hyperbole as an argumentative defense mechanism (your The_evil_OP “joke” for instance). Maybe that’s related to your ongoing emotional state, or this first dip back into the waters of interviewing has you feeling especially vulnerable and your ego is overcompensating. Hopefully this isn’t how you usually communicate or deal with conflict. It’s very off-putting.

            2. Liz in a Library*


              There have been a handful of mean spirited and rude comments directed at you, and I’m sorry for that. However, the vast, vast majority of the people here are legitimately trying to help you see why the review and your subsequent responses to it are seriously troubling. I don’t think you are a sociopath; I think you wrote a misguided review out of anger and seem to recognize that now.

              I wish you would also recognize that the way you are responding to comments here is equally misguided. Allison and several other posters have tried to respond to you kindly and explain exactly what about your responses are striking people as inappropriate. You keep responding defensively. If you don’t want to hear this right now, then take a breather.

              I do think there is a lot of useful information for you here if you come back later with a cool head.

            3. pidgeonpenelope*

              Ok. So lesson in this is to write out what you want to say, put it down for a day, calm down, and then reread. Hopefully you’ve then edited the crap out of what you wrote or decided it wasn’t worth it.

      6. ThursdaysGeek*

        I’ve had questions answered here too, and yes, it can be hard to read the answers. This is actually a very well-mannered and pleasant group, compared to most anonymous internet comment areas, but when you are already beat up in an interview, it’s hard to accept any criticism, constructive or not.

        Just as several have suggested that you write the letter and then put it away for a long time or burn it, it may be best to give the comments time too. There is a lot of useful criticism here, for you and for others in a similar situation. Give yourself some time to cool down and recover from the interview, and then come back and see what you can learn. And, of course, you’re always free to ignore advice and comments from anyone, especially internet strangers, who have only read a small part of a much larger situation.

      7. Elizabeth West*

        Oh, please. You’re completely dismissing the good advice in the answer above and are back to defending yourself. You are starting to sound like the chick from Amy’s Baking Company, the one who could admit no wrong and blamed the “haters and the hackers” for all of her troubles.

        1. FD*

          From your original submission, and more so from the comments, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve been fairly steeped in academia for a while. I’m guessing–though I can’t say for sure–that this job was for a non-academic position (considering you had only one interviewer rather than a committee, etc.). I feel like what you’re running up against is culture shock combined with a couple of other things I’ll get to in a minute.

          First of all, you made something of a point of saying that you did well in your academics and have peer-reviewed papers published. The thing is, non-academic interviewers generally don’t care. At all. Especially because peer-reviewed papers get published in journals that are only read by academics or students are therefore that he’s probably never heard of. This is not to insult you, but merely to explain that however impressive it actually is that you have a paper on Chocolate Teapot Making in the British Empire Between 1840-1860 published in the Journal of Chocolate Cookware History, your interviewer doesn’t care. He cares about whether you have work history that shows you can do the job—i.e. do you know how to actually make chocolate teapots? This is a huge difference between the academic world and the non-academic world. Academic interviewers want to know what you KNOW and therefore what you can TEACH. Non-academic interviewers want to know what you can DO. This is not to say one or the other is better, only that if you went in expecting a non-academic interviewer to be impressed by your credentials, it’s not surprising he didn’t seem very interested.

          Second of all, many academics are very, very good at focusing on one small area that they are incredibly good at. After all, you have to publish papers on very, very specific areas, so an intense ability to focus on detail is necessary. As a result, many academics tend to easily get caught up in the details at the expense of showing the big picture, and many have a tendency to ramble a little. Again, this is not to say this is better or worse (engineers are usually like this too), but only that if you’ve been generally successful as an academic, you may have trouble stepping back and speaking concisely. Your original letter seems to indicate this as well. You might find it helps you in the future (if you wish to continue in a non-academic area) to practice interviewing with a friend, and give yourself a limited amount of time to answer questions.

          Third…your letter and your response seem to indicate an intense need for validation. Once again in the academic world, this is very common. When you’re in school, you’re given constant feedback in the form of grades; even as a professor, you get similar validation by the peer reviews you get and by your student evaluations. Because of this, many people who do well in that environment seem to have trouble in situations where validation is not readily available (bosses who rarely give feedback unless it’s negative, etc.). Being of a very similar temperament myself, I understand, truly. But in the long run, you might find you’ll be happier if you look for validation in meeting internal goals instead of external goals. When you can shift that need for external approval to internal approval (“Am I meeting *my* goals for my life” instead of “Am I meeting the goals of my supervisors/peers/etc.) you may find that you feel much more confident overall.

          1. FD*

            …That was supposed to be a response to the main post, I don’t know why it posted down here, sorry.

          2. Rana*

            That’s really well put, FD.

            (Says this former academic, who learned that outside of academia a Ph.D. and $5 will get you a decent coffee drink, and often not much else.)

          3. SW*

            I thought this was a great comment, so I reposted it downthread (crediting you, of course).

  69. Yuliya*

    This is not a review, it’s a rant by a very bitter person. There may be some merit to it but it is hard to see for the reasons Allison mentioned above. Also, I understand his concerns about your lack of financial background: you find revenues and costs on an income statement, not a balance sheet.

    1. nyxalinth*

      It sounded like that the financial thing was something that they really wanted for the position. assuming that is so, why did they call someone without those skills in the first place? Other than that, I have to say that the OP is coming across like an entitlement brat in the worst way.

      1. ChristineSW*

        That happened to me many years ago; my resume had nothing–in my view–that spoke of any financial or accounting experience; yet, the interviewer asked questions asking if I had any experience in x, y, and z (I don’t remember specifically though). So I’ll give the OP a pass on that part because it’s really embarrassing and a waste of time.

        1. a hiring manager*

          I recently asked a job candidate about skills I thought she didn’t have, because I wanted to 1) double-check how effective our screener was and 2) hear how the candidate phrased “no, I don’t.” Instead of getting an answer that clear, I instead got misdirection and rambling on another subject, which ruled her out of the position. I need to know that my reports are willing to tell me answers they think I don’t want to hear, and I can’t have someone working for me who isn’t able to say “no” or “I don’t know”. Just another perspective.

  70. KM*

    I’ll just throw this out there, and say that sometimes people are upset by things and they don’t know why. I know that, in my life, I’ve had conversations with people where I walked away absolutely livid about how they treated me, but it was hard to explain what the problem was — I’ve even made up explanations before, about this or that thing that they shouldn’t have said — and it can sometimes take a lot of introspection to figure out what it really was about the situation that pushed my buttons.

    I’m on the same page as everyone else in thinking that, the way it’s described, it doesn’t seem like the interviewer said anything all that terrible (though I do think it’s pretty passive agressive to tell people, in the heat of the moment, while they’re in the process of annoying you, that you’re going to give them unsolicited feedback about how they suck in order to help them improve themselves). Clearly, though, there was something about that exchange that really upset the OP, and I’d like to suggest that it might be helpful for him/her to reflect on it more to try to figure out what it was — was it because the s/he felt rushed, or belittled, or cheated, or condescended to, or something else? Not for the purpose of concluding, “Oh, I guess I was wrong and it was all in my head” but for the purpose of identifying the trigger. I find that, when I get upset like this, I really start to calm down if I can get a handle on what it was, specifically, that upset me.

    1. Bagworm*

      I think this is a really good and helpful point. I had a coworker who made me absolutely crazy. Everything about her drove me nuts (even how she sneezed which really made it apparent to me that this was about me and not her because seriously how can you be annoyed at how someone sneezes). If you can calm down enough to figure out what set off a disproportionate reaction, it can really help you in the future to avoid overreacting based on some personal issues you might not have even identified. This response just seems so disproportionate to the the experience that it would seem something deeper’s at work.

    2. Ruffingit*

      This is really good advice! Really looking at a situation and parsing what exactly it was that bothered you can help. It’s like saying in a relationship argument for example “Well, he/she should have been more supportive.” OK, but what does supportive really mean?

      Same thing here. The OP may feel that the interviewer was too “condescending/unprofessional/insert whatever here,” but it might help the OP to really define what that meant to him/her and why it bothers them so much. Could it be the OP is not as secure with their skills/background as they would like to think and the interviewer touched on that subconscious feeling? Or it could be the OP simply has a different communication style and needs something else from a work communication than was given here.

      Whatever the case, exploring that can only be helpful if the OP is willing to be open with him/herself and look at the situation. I highly doubt, from the tone of the letter that the OP is willing to do that. But they could benefit from it!

      1. fposte*

        I was thinking similarly, Ruffingit. I think I’m not unusual here in tending to project a little on the questioners, and when I hear somebody’s been in academia, I think about my experience and that of people I know. And I would be really anxious about job-hunting outside of academia, and I *know* that the private sector is a foreign language for me that I don’t speak very well. And it sounds like this was the OP’s first outside-of-academia interview, and I wonder if this made her afraid that what she’s achieved really *isn’t* good enough for working elsewhere. That’s a hard worry to have, if so.

        OP, if any of this is near true, I’d encourage you to look for posts by Jubilance, who’s a regular commenter who successfully negotiated a similar daunting transition (I can’t remember if she started in actual academia, but I’m pretty sure it was lab work), and talked about it in various comment sections, including open threads. Also look at the April post about managers and transferable skills to understand a little more about the hiring side. It’s a doable transition, clearly, but it helps to understand the changes involved.

    3. Anon*

      This is a really good point. I remember this happening on another forum I was on–a poster was annoyed with a journalist who seemed not to have done anything wrong, but I think the poster picked up on something intangible, because the publication turned out to be a scam. There may have been aspects of tone, etc., that don’t come through the screen to us.

  71. nyxalinth*

    I kept reading and reading, looking for the vile behavior. I didn’t see it. I did see a clash, and the OP acting entitled.

    I had an interview in Florida where the interviewer (in my opinion) was pretty obnoxious . He would look at me, smirk, look at my resume and do one of those disbelieving chuckle/shaking head combos, ask me a question, repeat the process. The best description was it looked like he was thinking “OMFG, who thought YOU were right for this position? I’m laughing my ass off inside.” I didn’t get the job, but really, it wasn’t a tragedy :D

  72. Kerry*

    I don’t think I can recall a time where the OP’s initial letter and his/her responses were so remarkably consistent in terms of the level of anger. That must be exhausting.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Where’s the anger? You mean when people have said I must be a horrible teacher or don’t know what empirical means (and I correct them)? You wouldn’t be offended if people were just hurling insults at you with no reason, either – then? Besides, I actually agreed with many comments here if you actually read all of them.

      And yes, it is exhausting to come home from work and discover a private email was posted to this site without any permission (her contact form does NOT say that any submission is open to being posted here)…and made into a giant circus by people who do not have all of the details.

      1. Anonymous Three*

        The evil OP- you said earlier you were done with this board for one day. Perhaps you should make good on that romse and take some time to cool off.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That is absolutely not true. First, there’s no “contact form” here. There is an “ask a question” page at and it clearly says this:
        “Be aware that any question you submit may be published here.”

        Please stop posting false information about this and my auto-reply (which I’ve corrected elsewhere on this page).

        1. Anonymous*

          I don’t know…he may expose you now as a horrible and vile blogger.

          That could hurt; he’s got credentials.

      3. sugaraddict*

        “I had two other people (who are critical) listen to the interview who said I answered perfectly…”

        Or maybe they just don’t want you to think they’re “just hurling insults at you with no reason.”

        1. Flynn*

          The problem with this is, if they can’t hear the other side, they have no context. They might be hearing several perfectly reasonable sounding answers, but if they can’t hear the original questions, they have no way of judging what his behaviour was like. She may have given a perfect answer about chocolate, but if he was asking about teapots, then it’s not a perfect answer at all.

          That was the confusing thing about the ‘recording’ – it gives no basis to judge the interviewer’s behaviour, so the context is entirely missing and it’s irrelevant.

        2. Kelly O*

          Or maybe they just didn’t want to hear a discourse about how they were wrong because they disagreed…

      4. Lexie*

        OP – you cannot seriously believe that you were handling this “privately”. The whole point of AAM is to ask for open feedback on topics and utilize the advantage of her audience. Alison has answered a couple of questions for me and while the comments can be hard to swallow, there is so much value in this feedback. Own up and admit that you were looking for feedback condemning your interviewer and are hurt that the responses don’t match your perception. Take a couple of days and come back to absorb some of the truths that are being handed to you.

      5. Kerry*

        So then what you’ve learned from this experience is:

        1. Read the “ask a question” page of a website completely before you ask a question, because otherwise you’ll look like a fool when you say it doesn’t say what it’s said for years and years

        2. Read the website itself, so you’re clear on the format (which in the case of this website would include lots of people commenting on your submission, as is the case with every single submission in the five years or so that I’ve been reading this website)

        Is that right? Have you learned those things? Because it seems like at the very least, you didn’t do your homework here, and now you’re complaining about the result. This seems like a teachable moment, and since you’re a teacher, I’m sure appreciate how important those are.

        1. The_evil_OP*

          I’ve learned a lot more than that surface drivel you posted.

          I learned that the ability of a cult leader to amass her horde to go after someone is profound…the dynamic of that vilification that has been unfolding for the last 12 hours has been textbook. It’s rare that you actually can see a social dynamic unfold right in front of you. For example, it’s amazing to see how people will relentlessly attack me in every conceivable way (as if you all have known me for decades) – with basically nothing to go on but an opening post and follow-ups that were only replies to being attacked (since I couldn’t edit the original post to add anything there).

          Then, when I dared to reply, it’s interesting to see how people get mad at me for “swearing” (e.g., saying the word “pissed” one time) and for being “snobby” (for saying I have more experience than a recent grad which is a fact) while nobody gets mad at the fact I’ve been called a sociopath, lunatic, crazy person, entitled, egotistical, bratty, bad teacher, no knowledge of the word “empirical” and that I need to get over myself, get a life, see a therapist, and far more….but that’s all okay because I’m the villain of your little play, here. But, god forbid I defend myself and then you all freak out that I am daring to be so rude and insulting (by simply posting a response) and “feel sorry for my emotional problems.”

          I’ve learned (as I’ve known) to be wary of someone who is a lot nicer in private than in public. E.g., the private email I got from Allison is below – but the public diatribe & response to me was QUITE different and much more inflammatory (and not remotely necessary when the comment below was sufficient). But, I am hesitant to criticize Dear Leader here given the following. But, the polite simple email is quite different than this. Regardless, nothing is gonna change here. The dynamic is larger than me & has existed before humans were walking upright.

          “I suppose you can post it if it makes you feel better, but honestly,
          these complaints aren’t going to get this guy in any trouble. Your
          letter sounds like you think they’re much more serious problems than they actually are, and it’s going to reflect more poorly on you than it would on him (even if only anonymously on your side). You’re going to encounter plenty of bad interviewers in your life and
          if you try to “expose” them all, you’re going to be disappointed. I’d
          just move on.”

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yep, that’s the quick email that I sent you before the longer response that I posted, which I mentioned before (because I sometimes send a quick response first if something seems time-sensitive, and in this case I wanted to stop you from posting it it in a fit of pique before I’d had time to write a fuller response). I’m not sure what your point is with it. I answer posts for publication on my site. I did you what I thought was the favor of sending you a faster response first.

            But at this point, OP, I’m cutting you off from further posts here for, let’s say, a week. Because while debate is interesting, this isn’t debate. This is the unravelling of someone, and I don’t feel comfortable enabling it by allowing you to continue this here. You’re welcome to return a little later, but for now you need to set this aside, clear your mind, and stop what you’ve been doing here. It’s not helping you.

            1. Josh S*

              Ooh! The week is almost up! Do we think the OP will chime in again? Is this thread all but dead? Will the OP attempt to hijack other threads once the temporary ban is lifted?

              Will our heroes escape the insidious trap set by the Riddler?!?

      6. Mimi*

        These commenters are strangers. It’s ridiculous to be so upset by the comments of strangers, and it’s just dumb to post a question to a blog which exists solely to provide answers/advice to its readers’ questions.

  73. Elizabeth West*

    Well, I got to the comment with the OP calling Alison snotty, and guess what?

    Sheesh. There went all your credibility, right out the window. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: once you piss in the street, your protest movement is over.

    You had a bad interview. Either you effed it up, or he did, or both. Grow the hell up, bag your tantrum, and MOVE ON. You don’t want that job anyway–if the interviewer is that bad, you dodged a .357 Magnum bullet.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I only skimmed, but I didn’t see anything supporting the OP’s assertion that studies have found that “tell me about yourself” is the worst way to open an interview…?

      1. Yup*

        I didn’t see any studies to that effect. I just spent about 30 minutes on google scholar and JSTOR. (Because I’m sincerely interested in this question.) All I saw was research on structured versus unstructured, and closed versus open ended. Lots of studies on how to conduct proper research interviews and the best ways for health care professionals to interview patients.

        The consensus seemed to be that the most effective job interviews are semi-structured and include a great deal of open ended behavioral questions.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Even if there are studies indicating that it’s the worst way ever in the world to open an interview, it’s a standard question to use so I don’t think it really reflects poorly on this specific interviewer to have used it.

  74. pidgeonpenelope*

    I can’t find anything wrong with what this exec said. I don’t know if the OP realizes but oftentimes, execs are blunt because they don’t have a lot of time. He did take the time to provide feedback and I sure hope that the OP took the time to write it down and think about it. If I had an interviewer give me feedback and then a second chance at interviewing, I would be completely grateful!

    Also, the freaking letter rambled on and on. It was emotion-filled and it does nothing but say, “I can’t handle people.” I would scrap the letter, reread the recording, write down the constructive criticism and try again.

    1. pidgeonpenelope*

      Furthermore, after reading some of your comments, The Evil OP, I’m going to say this: Just because you did well in the academic world doesn’t mean you’re qualified in the corporate world. It’s quite awesome you have higher degrees but so do many other people who are interviewing and who have far more job experience in the corporate world than you do. I gotta tell you, I don’t have a bachelors but I got a job that required a bachelors (and they had people who had earned a masters applying) because of my job experience and ability to take constructive criticism. Truthfully, having a higher degree doesn’t always get you that awesome job.

      I’ve read that you agree that you were pretty emotional and you wouldn’t write or send that review now that you’ve had some time away. That’s good. I still see a lot of emotion from your comments and so I have to ask you, “are you sure you want to work in the corporate environment”? If you are having a hard time here, you’re going to be incredibly distressed in a corporate gig. You need to work on getting a thicker skin. I know some people here were nasty. You ignore those. If they don’t offer you something constructive, just move on. There were so many though that were helpful. Alison, AAM, has given you the feedback you’d get from a boss. If her feedback was too harsh, you need a thicker skin.

      I really think you did good for yourself by sending AAM this question. I think that in the end, this is going to be a positive experience if you take the feedback and truly work on it. This blog site is a community of people who want to share with you their insight and experiences. I hope you end up finding all of this valuable and it helps you forward your career. Best of luck!

    2. V*

      I once had a hiring manager challenge my qualifications on the spot during an interview. I pushed back, addressed her concerns and went from the “definitely no” to the “maybe” pile. I didn’t get the job, but she was impressed that I was able to stand up for myself.

      Sometimes interviewers have all of these hesitations but are too polite to outright mention them. In any interview, you should always ask if there are any concerns you could try to address, but most people don’t, and some interviewers will answer the question anyway.

  75. Done with it.*

    ….You’re asking about posting a review to a big website with hundreds of readers, email a question into a blog called /ASK A MANAGER/, where you have to read a section which says “Your question may be published” AND get an auto-reply saying that she’ll try to get back to you and you’re SURPRISED that it was published when you send something in?

    IDGAF if you said it was ‘written in the `10 minutes after interview’ or whatever. You clicked the button, you sent in something that you knew was not your best work/review/reasonable/rational and now you’re annoyed because people are calling you out on it?

    People disagreed with you and told you why. You haven’t agreed with many of the points at all, and you’ve lied about what Alison’s autoreply says, and how you sent in your ‘review’.

    Your ‘review’ is hyperbolic, and any genuine points are lost underneath the ranting, and the overarching sense of ‘I know better than you so listen to me!’ Potentially, any sympathy you might have gained from having a difficult or awkward interviewer has been swept away from your responses in the comments. When people have responded, you’ve gone off in the deep end and complained that people are ‘misunderstanding’ you, when all you’ve shown is a distinct lack of self awareness and understand of why your email and the connotations of it are wrong.

    I’m just really really struggling to understand /why/ you thought this was in any way a good idea? You didn’t want people to comment on it, or someone to disagree with you, at all. You wanted validation, and commiseration not critique and honest replies, and this is not the place for it.

    Nothing in your ‘review’ tells me anything except that if I was a manager looking to hire, your resume would be going in the bin after an interview like that.

    1. V*

      The OP says they wrote it “10 minutes after the interview” multiple times in the comments thread, but the original post mentions the rejection e-mail he got at 11:30 PM after taking too long to schedule the teleconference.

      Unless he interviewed at 11:20 PM, and they wanted him to reach out 10 seconds later to schedule the follow up, that can’t be true…

        1. Done with it.*

          I think actually, that he was interviewed during business hours, but maybe because the OP failed to contact in the immediate aftermath/the boss decided in the hours afterwards that he would not be carrying forward the candidacy regardless of whether the interview offer was accepted, OP was emailed late at night after the fact.

          1. V*

            That would be my assumption too, or the boss decided that OP wouldn’t be a good fit after a couple hours of thinking about it.

            I just think OP was trying to save face by saying that he wrote his email just 10 minutes after the interview, but that’s highly unlikely given the timing and events that he described in the original message.

      1. The_evil_OP*

        Huh? I said multiple times that I wrote the review right after the interview. I didn’t have an interview in the middle of the night.

        The interview was in the morning… then, I wrote the review (that appears at the top of this page) right after it was over. I never replied to them that day (he said to take a few days). The next day, I woke up with a rejection letter that was time stamped at 11:30 at night (from the night before).

        In other words, the interviewer told me to schedule the teleconference – but then obviously changed his mind later and had them send me a rejection letter at 11:30 at night.

        What part is confusing?

        1. Amy*

          Wait, so you wrote the review in the morning, then got an email from the interviewer later that night, then decided the next morning that it would be a good idea to send the review by email to Alison? Did you re-read the review before you sent it to Alison? If so, did you revise it at all, a day later, for tone or conciseness?

          1. The_evil_OP*

            Oh lord – what is this – a deposition?? Am I on trial? You people are all calling ME crazy & redundant? But you want a minute-by-minute timeline of my life?

            1. Done with it.*

              No, but trying to understand your logic and how this happened is part of the goal here.

              And I’m really struggling to understand this situation overall. I think you got angry, and frustrated that someone wasn’t very professional to you, and you went through a stressful interview, which is a legitimate response. But then, instead of writing it off as something to learn from, you wrote an angry review, sent it into a place you didn’t even bother to research, or to even /look/ at the damn page you submitted it on, and got a first response from Alison, who then posted it to let other people weigh in.

              If you had left it there, you would have been a little ridiculous but now, with all this defending, and irrationality, you’re not coming off at all well. Because then you took it up to eleven. And now you’re dealing with the results of being called out. You may be a talented candidate, with an excellent resume, and a host of achievements and accolades to your name. But the impression you’re sending off with all your follow comments is “I’m looking for validation in my feelings, and nobody’s giving to me!” and “I can’t take criticism.” since you’ve only acknowledged a few people with neutral or ‘gentle’ feedback.

            2. Amy*

              You asked “what part is confusing?” I answered your question. The part that is confusing to me is the timeline. When explaining why the review was so emotional, you’ve said repeatedly that you wrote it right after the interview. I’m trying to figure out whether you took the opportunity to reread and revise the review before sending it to others. Basically, I’m confused by your explanation, so I asked a clarifying question. I have never called you names, and I don’t appreciate being referred to as “you people” or being accused of things I didn’t do.

  76. Sourire*

    “Evil OP”, in case you’re still reading…

    Aside from taking time to cool down (from both the interview and this post), I think some advice that may really help you is that you should mentally push yourself to “be the bigger person”. Getting angry and yelling at commenters (regardless of how justified or not it may be) does nothing productive. It makes you angry and stressed, ends up putting you in an even more unflattering light (because you are responding emotionally, not rationally or professionally), and doesn’t end up bothering or affecting the people you’re responding to because they’re just not as emotionally invested as you are. It’s an exercise in futility and one that will never serve you well.

    From now on try to take the high road. Listen to and genuinely consider criticism, and then let it go as much as possible. You sound like the type of person who takes things very personally, who builds them up to more than they were ever meant to be, and who has trouble letting things go (a common problem). Working on these above issues may really help you.

    1. The_evil_OP*

      Your points are well taken. Given that, I am just wondering why nobody feels the need to call out the people who called me a sociopath, entitled, lunatic, flat-out insane, smug, and on and on…

      Everyone just wants to keep saying “OP – stop this – stop that – etc…” ok, well what about the 300 other people that everyone ignored (or piled on) that went off on me for no reason? Allison admonished me for replying (politely) to a recent grad poster who called me crazy. I pointed out that things are different between a recent grad and someone out for a while – Allison said “it was a snotty comment. You need to cut that out.” She said nothing about the “crazy” comment above, of course…or any other unnecessary negative comment toward me (and nor has any other poster yet).

      It’s sort of like a mob or cult on here… so the dynamics are pretty clear. Under no circumstance can anyone defend me or say anything bad to all the BS spewed at me because then you risk being vilified like I have been.

      Oh – Here’s another example… One person just thought she “caught me lying” because my interview “could not have been at 11:20 PM” and then immediately 2 people agreed with her that I was “caught”. It’s obvious that this person (AND the 2 follow-ups) misread what I wrote – but nobody said anything, naturally. Of course, 2 people sure jumped on that bandwagon immediately though. Kind of amazing.

      1. Tinker*

        “Cult of the Chocolate Teapot” does have a certain ring to it.

        I will say, though, that I used to be a forum moderator and saw a lot of people go down this road you seem to be going on. None of them ever came out of it happy or with their dignity intact.

        The good thing about this is that the solutions to “unjustified attack, amplified by cult mentality” and “negative reaction to behavior, amplified by more behavior” are pretty much the same — put down the shovel and get out of the hole — so you can extract yourself without the need to parse which is the case. Having been there (or more or less there) before, I appreciate the need for such a shortcut when dealing with extremely upsetting material.

        Hope things work out better for you.

      2. Sourire*

        Forums and comments sections do tend to be breeding grounds for the mob type mentality and that can be frustrating. You can’t control that because you can’t control other people’s thoughts and actions. What you can control is your response. You felt attacked, and responded with very defensive and confrontational posts, which added fuel to the fire. I think (hope) this will be a great learning experience for you. While criticism is always tough to hear, try to take away from this that responding emotionally and highly defensively does not alleviate the problem, but rather, it makes things worse.

        When it comes to criticism or advice, it’s generally best to listen to it (and truly be receptive), thank the person, and end the conversation right there. There are times when that person will be wrong; lord knows Alison answers tons of questions about horrible advice/criticism given, but that doesn’t mean you need to argue. If you decide after careful and unbiased consideration that you do not agree, simply don’t follow the advice. No harm, no foul. And no messy explosions like we saw here.

        “I am just wondering why nobody feels the need to call out the people who called me a sociopath, entitled, lunatic, flat-out insane, smug, and on and on…”

        I am responding only to your actions because you are the person who asked the question/who is supposed to be getting advice from this post, not the commenters.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          it’s interesting because you’re the one who used the word “sociopath” first. As in “people think I’m a sociopath because…” and then someone responded. But nobody used that word before you. Nobody called you a lunatic either. I did a search for the term .You, however, have used it twice.

          1. abc*

            EEM June 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm – says lunatic.

            Does it really matter? You are cherry picking from the insults that were hurled at someone who came here who was already upset over something?

            He said sociopath as an obvious joke / metaphor for the way you saw him by reading the rant & because of the way people were responding…and then he gets:

            “No, honey. They think you’re a sociopath because of the comments you’ve posted here in response. Before that we just thought you were a little naive and silly.”

            So, yeah I think that’s a pretty blatant & unnecessary comment REGARDLESS if he used it as a joke or not to refer to himself. It’s funny how people call him egotistical and then berate him for using negative terms to describe himself. Which is it?

          2. EEM*

            I’m late coming back to this post but I’ll own “lunatic” – my comment was that as a Glassdoor user, if I saw that review, that’s how I would interpret it, which I’m guessing is not what the OP would have hoped for when he posted it. Probably not the best choice of words but I was hoping to provide some perspective on how the actual audience who would read the quote might see it.

      3. Jamie*

        The word sociopath was used 13 times on this page. The first instance was by you – one person agreed clearly sarcastic and tic to you calling yourself that. Another was telling you they didn’t think that – the rest were yours.

        If I post on a message board calling myself names how can I get mad that others aren’t defending me…from myself?

        I personally feel bad for you as you seem to give other people’s a hell of a lot of power over your emotional state. That’s never a good idea.

      4. Anonymous Three*

        Well you weren’t exactly truthful when you said you were “done with this board” much earlier last night; rather you kept at it past 2 am. Glad to see Alison had the wisdom to call a much needed break.

      5. LD*

        Why are there quotes around words and phrases that are not quotes from the commenters? That appears as if you are putting words into people’s mouths when those are not words or phrases that were used. OP, you are feeling bruised by the comments from people who are trying to offer you rational advice. And so you respond by reading excessive harshness and criticism into the comments. And it appears that rational advice is not what you want to hear. When people are bruised and offended, as you seem to be, they want to be soothed and not told to take a good look at their own behavior. It is normal to feel that but not helpful if you want to learn and grow and improve. Look at this as growing pains…not fun while it is happening, but good in hindsight.

  77. Sydney Bristow*

    Wow, I’m late to this but I was wondering if perhaps this was a stress interview? I haven’t had one myself, but in law school we were warned about them. Part of the point of the interview is to see how you handle yourself in a stressful situation. One the one hand, I personally would hate to have an interview like that and would question my fit in the company/firm. On the other hand, I can see how it would be useful for a position that would involve constant challenges to your credibility or skills.

  78. Elikit*

    I don’t think the OP actually considered the possibility of getting any advice that wasn’t: this person is awful, you are 100% correct, feel free to do doubt ruin this interviewer’s career with your scathing review.

  79. Tinker*

    Talk about a case where the drapes match the carpet!

    I don’t think the OP is a bad person by any means, just one with a very… distinct… personality. One that’s reflected in the rant, and also in the comments here. It’s been very consistent, and it’s received a consistent reaction from others (including people who on other matters are known to disagree).

    It might have been addressed along with everything else, but: The thing about “oh, it was the situation” is that if that time it’s the dude sighed at you a lot (which I agree could be aggravating), and this other time it’s a lot of people were extensively critical of you (which I agree could be aggravating), then what about the next time when the barista put soy milk in your coffee (aggravating), Grandpa gets out on the interstate and tries to remember how turn signals work in the left hand lane (aggravating), your debit card gets et by the ATM (still aggravating) and your cat shits on the rug (also also aggravating)? It seems like the way this ends is that the entire world has the power to ruin your day and exercises it routinely. Particularly given the pattern shown in this case, where the reaction to your reaction… likewise causes its own reaction in you.

    That ain’t any way to live.

    At this point I’d go on about blah blah mindfulness blah but… hey, the work is out there and you’ve got the background to figure it out evidently. So go do, before you rupture a ventricle or something.

  80. BCW*

    Wow, after reading all of the comments from the OP, I actually have more sympathy for him now. Its not sympathy that is about the interview or the letter though. I feel bad that someone is this emotional. That 10 minutes after a job interview they felt the need to go on a rant and consider posting something on Glassdoor. Then, they needed reassurance that their scathing post was ok, so they wrote an advice blog without even reading what happens when you post. But the worse thing is how bad he is taking comments by a bunch of strangers. I have a thick skin myself, so its something that I can’t really relate to. But I can see how if with all of these things, you are that emotional, that seeing hundreds of comments about you could really mess with you.

    Many of you know that my opinions aren’t always shared by the majority, but I can usually have a healthy debate without taking it personally. If someone can’t do that, I really do feel bad.

    OP, my advice is to not look at this blog for a week or maybe even a month. Hopefully though, eventually you can come back and see that you presented yourself pretty poorly. If hundreds of random people are in agreement on this, its something to consider. So maybe you and one of your friends could go through these points and see what you can do moving forward to improve how you are presenting yourself.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      My advice (in tandem with BCW’s): Learn not to view things as personal attacks (aka build a thicker skin). When you do feel like you’re being personally attacked (as you did in the interview and here in the comments) learn to internalize/deal with it in a different way. Emotionally-driven, written communications aren’t the way to go because those live on even after you’ve cooled off.

      A lot of the comments above were reiterations, so it wasn’t really necessary for OP to go through and read/respond to them. He wasn’t gaining any additional insight into the situation, and it’s almost self-deprecating to do so. If OP hadn’t responded, this thread would have been ~200 comments max.

      Additional Thoughts:
      The internet is the internet. This blog is definitely better than a lot of the stuff out there, but you can only do so much when you’re communicating with strangers in writing.

      I like to have a good debate now and again, but even on this blog I’ve had to “check out” sometimes. It’s hard to communicate ideas when writing, its even harder when you’re trying to respond to a plethora of people who are posting at random times. Throw human nature (re: snap judgements) into the mix and you can get yourself into a circus pretty quickly. It’s important to know when to throw in the towel, and I think OP missed the mark on this one.

  81. Mark*

    Wow – I don’t think I’ve seen a post get so many responses, so quickly, in a long time. If ever. I’ve only read through a few (hundred) or so. This is my first blush response to the OP’s post:

    I can appreciate that the email and the review were written in a heated moment, however that doesn’t change the fact that it reflects poorly on you. In fact, most people will measure you much more by how you act in moments of stress. I work in academia, and I get the impression that the poster is highly academic in terms of background, not simply because of the mention of advanced degrees, but also because of the prevailing attitudes I see in the post. Credentialing might equal instant respect in higher education, but that doesn’t mean that this is so in every environment – and I think for good reason. Education is as much a function of your privilege as it is a reflection of things like worth ethic, intelligence, or skill.

    I can appreciate that this hiring manager was very rude to you – that is clear. I can also appreciate that you are acting very poorly and that the compound effect is that you come across as severely out of touch. Take this experience at face value – that someone does not value the same things that you value. Any way you slice it this comes down to bruised ego and hurt pride, and while we can all empathize with how that feels like, you always have a choice here. You can act like a petulant child, or you can move on and find a place of employment that is a good fit, meaning: one that is pleased with your approach, your background, and your experiences.

  82. A Reader*

    I think everything that needs to be said has been said, but I want to add my two bits. OP, I’ve learned through trial and error that if I need to vent, I don’t do it in what could be a public forum. I vent privately to someone I trust to give me honest feedback, be it positive or negative and I take their feedback away to digest and review.

    As for the people who you said were being mean in their comments, they were just writing on the fly, just as you did when you wrote your initial email to Alison. The regulars here are super nice, very helpful and treat you like family, which means they’ll sometimes say something that stings a little, but it’s well intentioned.

  83. Aswin Kini MK*

    @Evil OP, Fellow AAM members, and AAM (If you are still reading the comments in this post):

    I think things have been blown a bit out of context here. While I do agree partially with AAM on the OP’s attitude, I noticed that conversation has digressed completely from judging the interviewer to OP’s attitude to OP’s character.

    OP: I can empathize with you, but I am afraid that a major part of the criticism here happens to deal with the fact that your mail is not clear.

    For example: When you want to defend yourself, you should have clearly stated a few questions that the interviewer asked and how you responded to them in your mail and leave the readers to decide on which one of you was the A–hole here? Having read many of the posts, I can clearly say your post is completely contradicting whatever you say?

    Please do list a few clear instances on the sort of rude replies given by the interviewer and explain the context. Until then, you cannot justify your rants…..

    All of us go through bad/worse/pathetic interviews, but ranting about them, especially in an ambiguous manner, on the internet is almost like digging our own graves…..

  84. Anne*

    Wow. 600-something comments…

    After reading a lot of the OP’s responses, I’m actually seriously wondering if the OP is dealing with Asperger’s or something on that spectrum. Assuming everything the OP said about his qualifications and experience is accurate (and I don’t really have any reason to believe otherwise)… it seems like they’re an intelligent and productive person without a lot of understanding of social nuance.

    If you send a letter like this to an advice blog, it will get posted. It’s so extreme that of course it will get posted. And of course people will react the way they did. I can imagine someone who is socially normal being upset after a bad interview and getting that far. But the comments? No. I’m really thinking there is some kind of actual social issue here.

    1. Cat H*

      Anne, not trying to start anything but a lot of this thread was to do with the OP trying to diagnose someone and that came off pretty badly.
      I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that he might be dealing with Asperger’s.
      BTW – I don’t agree with much of what he has said but I’m not wanting to take sides!

      1. Anne*

        Fair enough. Just reminded me very vividly (very – could have been written by one of them) of a couple friends I have who do. Which would explain a lot to me and be pretty understandable. :)

  85. Rarely Comments*

    As someone who reads this blog but doesn’t comment frequently, I have to say I agree with AAM & co…and with the OP. The OP seems way off the mark with regards to the seriousness of his interviewer’s behaviour. I kept reading and reading waiting for the “terrible” part of the story to be “exposed”…but no, just a bunch of whining. And he seems clueless about a few other things too — including how people on the Internet tend to interact.

    That said…as an outsider I think he’s right that you guys *are* kinda giving off a cult-like impression here. Disagreement and debate are not always encouraged on this blog — for a recent example, see AAM’s responses to those stated that they don”t hire employees who regularly use illegal drugs. Perhaps cultivating a slightly different sort of commenting culture could have prevented this thread from blowing up into 600+ posts of people essentially all saying the same thing.

    1. Liz in a library*

      Please correct me if I’m misremembering, but I don’t remember debate being shut down on that post. Alison involved herself in the debate, sure, but not to close it off; rather, to explain why she and other commenters feel differently and think it’s important for people to actually think about instead of just responding based on policy…

      I’ve been on the very unpopular side of a debate here (the great for-profit college debate of ’11!), and I never felt that my voice was being silenced. I felt that I wasn’t convincing anyone, sure, but that’s not unique to this place.

      One of my favorite things about AAM are the different experiences and personalities here, and the fact that, most of the time, we can disagree without things getting ugly.

    2. Esra*

      I’ve been against the crowd as well, left-leaning Canadian that I am, but have found that generally when most of the comments are leaning one way, it’s for a good reason.

      In this case, I don’t think many people would look at the OP’s draft letter and think that response was well-reasoned or that the writer was distinguishing well between appropriate and inappropriate interview behaviour.

    3. FD*

      I think that’s rather an unfair assessment. The comments here as a general rule are polite and show an attempt at being well-reasoned. The only time Alison shuts down comments that I’ve seen is when there’s a blatantly bigoted statement, or when someone is representing something unfairly. (For example, here where she comments that when you submit, there’s a warning your letter might be published.)

      Overall, there’s usually a healthy degree of discussion here as a rule, and when there’s general consensus, it’s usually because it’s the sort of thing one would expect consensus on. Here, people are generally agreeing that the letter doesn’t seem very professional. However, there’s still a range of responses, from “the OP is acting very strangely and the interviewer acted normally” to “the OP is reacting with frustration to a legitimately irritating interview.” I don’t think that’s cult-like at all.

      A cult discourages discussion and disagreement. Alison has always encouraged discussion, including opening questions up to us. And although I think many of us (including myself) admire her greatly for her general badassery, I don’t think any of us think she’s infallible, and I think most of us have disagreed with her advice at least a little now and again.

      (However, it should be pointed out that this is an advice column, so logically speaking, the people who follow it are people who usually feel Alison has good advice.)

    4. BCW*

      I’m often against the crowd here, but I don’t think that my opinion has ever been discouraged. But I think it goes to show that when just about everyone agrees that something is bad, there is usually something to that.

      1. A Bug!*

        I’m actually pretty glad you continue to post here and share your perspective because it often challenges my own and encourages me to think critically about my positions. And, if necessary, to reassess them.

        (I’m thinking also of a handful of other posters whose presence here really helps to foster meaningful discussion rather than an echo chamber. You probably know who you are, so I just want to say thanks.)

        1. fposte*

          One of the things I like about AAM is that it’s a place where people who see issues differently get a chance to hear one another. And since people are pretty good at cogently stating their point and their motivations, it really does offer food for thought. I don’t think I agree with everything *anybody* says, but I find this a better place than most for hearing a viewpoint that makes me rethink my own.

  86. Cruciatus*

    Obviously anonymity should be kept, but is it possible to find out if the OP was a regular or sometimes commenter here prior to this? My gut says no, though it appears he did at least read the blog occasionally–which to me means he shouldn’t have been surprised by the reactions (unless he never read the comments). But maybe it’s different when it’s you. When this many people feel the same way about how someone is coming across, it’s really worth looking into it and not trying to dismiss the majority!

      1. abc*

        I think it is worth dismissing when it is based on 1 paragraph that was written in an emotional state.

          1. abc*

            Self defense. If there are hundreds of posts attacking someone (for little more than an emotional rant that was never even posted to glassdoor), how would you suggest that the response should be? He said it was over the top 20 times. He agreed he’s not concise. He agreed he has issues with his self esteem…what do you want exactly?

            The OP came here frustrated and angry and felt belittled (not entitled or pompous) – and this hive mind ensured that he left feeling even worse….under the guise of “advice” – as if that is remotely believable when blatant insults are hurled at someone.

            1. BCW*

              The problem is how he defended himself. I feel like he very easily could have said (in 1 instance, not replying to every single person). “Now that I look back on it, it was bad. It was written quickly out of emotion. I can see how I may have come off arrogant, etc, but I don’t really think thats how I am”. And left it at that. But he does starting off admitting certain things, but then he decides to start taking things WAY too personally. I don’t think its necessarily “hive mind” just because people agree on something. Now I think once he started attacking AAM and calling this a cult and things like that, that is when things got a bit more personal (on both sides) than they needed to

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Yes — and the fact is that when OPs in the past have done exactly that (come here and acknowledged that their original letter was silly/naive/over-the-top/whatever), people very quickly back off with the criticism and are quite kind to them. We’ve all made silly mistakes. It was the digging-in-the-heels and being nasty to people that was the issue.

              2. abc*

                From what I read – he did do that – but the insults never stopped. He should have had some self control and left after he said that – but the other posters should have also had some self control and realized the points have been made & to Leave Britney Alone already. It got ridiculous after 50 posts. What are 600 supposed to accomplish?

                1. Kelly O*

                  But he didn’t stop. I’ve been reading comments this morning, and all through the thread there are instances of him lashing out at commenters because he felt their comment wasn’t appropriate.

                  Yes, he acknowledged positively some, but in that same comment there is a dig about how (to paraphrase) not everyone else is helpful.

                  (And if you notice, some of the comments have threads that go off on tangents. It’s not uncommon in this forum or others. So the comment number doesn’t reflect the number of direct responses to this individual.)

                2. Yup*

                  “the comment number doesn’t reflect the number of direct responses to this individual”

                  Exactly, KellyO. At least a third of the comments on this thread are about yelp and mobile device misspellings and the utility of particular interview questions and remembrances of interviews and coworkers past. And another one-tenth are by the OP himself.

                3. Irrelevant*

                  It sounds like abc is one of OP/Britney’s friends who is being a very good friend and lending support.

                  Sidenote – I really could not get on board with OP being a man.. all posts/comments just came across as being a woman to me. Not that it matters, but it definitely seems more fitting to me if OP’s name is Britney and she is a woman.

            2. BCW*

              Also, if you read it initially (and not after the explanations) and thought it came off frustrated and angry, thats fine. I read it as pompous and entitled myself. Now after hearing from the OP, before he started really ranting, I understood a bit more about the mindset, and sympathized a bit more.

              Thats what good about getting multiple opinions on something. As we know, email can be interpreted many different ways. So if you show an email to 5 people and 4 think it comes off sounding a certain way, then maybe its just time to think about writing it a different way.

    1. Cadie*

      The OP said he googled for advice and this site came up, so he was not familiar with the purpose of this site or its dynamics.

  87. Oxford Comma*

    Phone interviews are often awkward and/or weird. It’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes we ask candidates to repeat or clarify points because of audio problems. Sometimes it’s because we can’t see your face and it’s hard to tell if you were being ironic or earnest (not saying this happened for you, just being general here).

    The interviewer said you looked good on paper. That’s why we do phone, or Skype, or in-person interviews too. It’s not just about the data we can gather from your written application. That’s important because it does give us data and because it demonstrates your written communication skills, but that’s not enough. “Tell me about yourself” gives you a chance to demonstrate what your personality is like. It allows you to show us that you are an articulate person with good oral communication skills. We get a sense of how you would fit in with the organizational culture. It’s not a great question–there are better questions that require open-ended answers–but it’s a very common one.

  88. KC*

    This is, quite possibly, the most fascinating thing I’ve ever watched in the AAM comment thread in the 5 years I’ve been reading.

    1. Jen in RO*

      I haven’t been a reader for that long, but I agree. It’s fascinating and a bit sad.

  89. Josh S*

    Wow. Just…wow. This has been an extremely frustrating thread to read.

    OP–I wish you the best in your future endeavors. As difficult as it may be to hear it, I *do* think that most people here are trying to provide a useful mirror to you on the way you are projecting yourself into the world through your communication. It may not be your intent, but the perception you’re generating is not flattering to you.

    OP, your first post was time-stamped at 6:40pm; last post was 2:13am — that’s 7.5 hours of arguing with strangers on teh intarwebz. I’m a bit glad for your sake that Alison cut you off, because that kind of activity cannot be positive for your mental/emotional health unless you’re a troll of some sort (which I really don’t think you are trying to be–things are simply too raw and unplanned).

    I hope that you are able to find a venue through which you can find an appropriate outlet and constructive criticism from someone you trust. I think you might have found it here if you hadn’t been in such a rush to dispute what people have said.

    Again, best of luck to you.

  90. Cameron*

    I would send a thank you letter to the company and the interviewer. You basically inferred that there is no love lost because, due to the interview, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you do not want to work for this company. I’d say you are a very lucky individual. Many companies can hide their shortcomings, bad habits and poor ethics through the interview process…just as many perspective employees can. You owe this man a debt of gratitude. If he is any indication of the job itself, better that you’ve found out now than a month into “The Job From Hell”. Let it go and use that energy towards searching for your dream job.

  91. athek*

    I know that this comment thread is quite long, but I wanted to offer some thoughts on the “tell me about yourself” opening question.
    As a candidate, I used to dislike this question. But now, as a hiring manager, I actually like it. (Although I usually ask, “tell me about your education and work history”)
    I don’t hire for anything that requires above a bachelor’s degree, so I realize that this question may not apply for every type of interview. But, I’ve noticed that this question can tell me a lot of things about a person. I’ve had people tell me the (scary) reasons why they had been fired from previous positions. I’ve had people express all sorts of bitterness about job duties, managers, and other co-workers. I’ve sat and listened to someone talk for the next 40 minutes about her life and passions (she moved herself to tears at one point). Ultimately, I’ve found that a lot of people can’t answer a direct question, some can’t help but overshare and shoot themselves in the foot, and some definitely can’t answer succinctly. Also, with the recent economic downturn, I’ve had a lot of people get their resumes and applications written for them. This helps me figure out if they can actually articulate their accomplishments, and sometimes, figure out if they are actually true.
    I know that this doesn’t necessarily apply to the OP’s situation, but I did want to share some reasoning behind those opening questions that seem silly.

  92. Jill*

    Wow. Took me 45 minutes to skim through the 650+ comments. That was a crazy ride. I would think as an OP you would be exhausted. Hope you take a breather from this board. For the record Alison your advice was spot on and honest as usual. The other advice was spot on and hopefully the OP uses this as a learning opportunity. (Sorry OP but what I took away from this is that while you wrote that post in a “highly emotional state” it was your comments to others that were the most enlightening. Take a week, come back and read how defensive and misguided your responses were and learn from it.)

  93. Cadie*

    I used to be on a team with someone who the OP very strongly reminds me of. He was extremely competent and a high performer, but his interpersonal skills caused constant conflict with his team members. If anyone made any suggestions to him on what he could be doing better on Project X, he would immediately get defensive and start arguing about his years of experience and how the person making the suggestion was “just out to get [him].” When other people tried to explain that it was a legitimate suggestion, suddenly EVERYONE was out to get him, “I can’t believe Y is backstabbing me this way,” etc. etc.. For awhile we were able to deal with it, especially because outside of these occasional blowups he was very good at his job and generally a friendly guy. But eventually it reached the point where it wasn’t productive any longer, because he was incapable of seeing himself from other people’s perspectives. It’s ultimately an exhausting and pointless exercise to try and bring someone like that around – they do not want to see themselves differently, and so will argue to exhaustion to “win” against the people who are “persecuting” them.
    It’s sad. Sometimes I wonder where that guy is now, and if he’s managed to figure out a way to be happy. He was a deeply insecure, imbalanced person, who was nonetheless a good guy who didn’t know how to deal with his demons.

  94. FD (c/o SW)*

    (FD’s comment accidentally posted as a reply to another thread. I like it and I think it is very helpful to the OP, so I’m reposting it here.)

    From your original submission, and more so from the comments, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve been fairly steeped in academia for a while. I’m guessing–though I can’t say for sure–that this job was for a non-academic position (considering you had only one interviewer rather than a committee, etc.). I feel like what you’re running up against is culture shock combined with a couple of other things I’ll get to in a minute.

    First of all, you made something of a point of saying that you did well in your academics and have peer-reviewed papers published. The thing is, non-academic interviewers generally don’t care. At all. Especially because peer-reviewed papers get published in journals that are only read by academics or students are therefore that he’s probably never heard of. This is not to insult you, but merely to explain that however impressive it actually is that you have a paper on Chocolate Teapot Making in the British Empire Between 1840-1860 published in the Journal of Chocolate Cookware History, your interviewer doesn’t care. He cares about whether you have work history that shows you can do the job—i.e. do you know how to actually make chocolate teapots? This is a huge difference between the academic world and the non-academic world. Academic interviewers want to know what you KNOW and therefore what you can TEACH. Non-academic interviewers want to know what you can DO. This is not to say one or the other is better, only that if you went in expecting a non-academic interviewer to be impressed by your credentials, it’s not surprising he didn’t seem very interested.

    Second of all, many academics are very, very good at focusing on one small area that they are incredibly good at. After all, you have to publish papers on very, very specific areas, so an intense ability to focus on detail is necessary. As a result, many academics tend to easily get caught up in the details at the expense of showing the big picture, and many have a tendency to ramble a little. Again, this is not to say this is better or worse (engineers are usually like this too), but only that if you’ve been generally successful as an academic, you may have trouble stepping back and speaking concisely. Your original letter seems to indicate this as well. You might find it helps you in the future (if you wish to continue in a non-academic area) to practice interviewing with a friend, and give yourself a limited amount of time to answer questions.

    Third…your letter and your response seem to indicate an intense need for validation. Once again in the academic world, this is very common. When you’re in school, you’re given constant feedback in the form of grades; even as a professor, you get similar validation by the peer reviews you get and by your student evaluations. Because of this, many people who do well in that environment seem to have trouble in situations where validation is not readily available (bosses who rarely give feedback unless it’s negative, etc.). Being of a very similar temperament myself, I understand, truly. But in the long run, you might find you’ll be happier if you look for validation in meeting internal goals instead of external goals. When you can shift that need for external approval to internal approval (“Am I meeting *my* goals for my life” instead of “Am I meeting the goals of my supervisors/peers/etc.) you may find that you feel much more confident overall.

    1. Anon1973*

      Wow – thank you for these insights. I’m (obviously) not the OP, but I have worked in both academic and non-academic settings and while I knew they were different, I didn’t quite know why. This is a great summary. I also really appreciate:

      “When you can shift that need for external approval to internal approval (“Am I meeting *my* goals for my life” instead of “Am I meeting the goals of my supervisors/peers/etc.) you may find that you feel much more confident overall.”

      Excellent advice and something I know I need to work on. Thank you.

      1. FD*

        I’m glad that helps; I nearly went into academia myself, so I went through some culture shock myself when I transitioned over to the non-academic world.

        About the goals, it’s something that I have to work on myself…but I find it helps a lot in dealing with a sometimes frustrating entry level job. Yes, parts of this aren’t fun, but doing this will help me to meet my long-term career goals.

    2. Mark*

      Thanks for adding this – you said so many things I wanted to – glad I’m not the only person who read this and thought it had all the hallmarks of an academic.

      1. fposte*

        Well, and as an academic myself, I still wonder if the academic career is causing its own problems for the OP. From his description, he’s not a professor, at least not in the tenure-stream sense; it sounded more like an instructor/academic professional, which is more like a staff position in civilian terms. That can be kind of a nebulous existence, and some people doing that work have studied to be professors and haven’t necessarily taken this route by choice. I’m it, and it works really well for me and many that I know, but I’ve also known people who felt like second-class citizens in that setup. The OP seems like somebody who might feel that way too.

  95. Anonymous*

    As an aside from this monster thread I want to send a big thank you to the posters! I have learned several valuable things from you all – double click the space bar to make a period, Ctrl-f will find things on a webpage and how to “manipulate” e-mail. For being rather a Luddite I now appear super tech savvy!

    And on the thread, what more is there to say? It’s a hot mess of contradictions and drama. On the other hand, I can always come back to this when I find myself missing my AMC!

  96. SW*

    I’ll agree with the OP on one thing: quite a few comments were more reactionary than helpful. But that’s usually the case in any post, IMO — half advice, half reaction.

    However, OP, just because a majority of commenters disagree with you doesn’t mean we’re a “hive mind” and we’re “ripping you to shreds”. It’s actually worth thinking about: if what you wrote caused a lot of people to say you’re doing it wrong, you should probably take a step back and see what needs to be improved. And based on your comments, if you hang on to the attitude you have now, your future interviews are probably going to end up a lot like the first one. You’ll think everyone is “vile,” “horrendous,” an “asshole,” or trying to attack or discredit you.

    I understand that part of the low self-esteem issues you say you have stem from your experience in academia — you tie your self-worth to your previous accomplishments. It’s not sustainable, and I hope you seek help for that. Your self-esteem problems make you come across as pompous, entitled, and oversensitive. That will hurt your non-academic job prospects because employers have very little patience for that. Part of what employers look for in candidates is whether or not they’ll be a good fit and get along with their colleagues. I sensed a lot of “I have a Ph. D., how DARE you speak to me that way” in both your original letter and your comments, and nobody wants to put up with that if they don’t have to.

    “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown is a great resource for understanding shame and vulnerability– I think you’ll find it useful.

    To illustrate some of the problems I saw, I’ll point out how you treat others and compare it with how you perceive you’re being treated:
    – You repeatedly accused commenters of “amateur internet psychology” and calling you a sociopath when nobody used that word. But you did the same thing to your interviewer when you claimed to “[diagnose] his problem after 5 minutes.”
    – You claim the board is unfairly “jumping to conclusions” about you over something you wrote “about 15 minutes after the interview ended” in a heightened emotional state. If you want people to give you the benefit of the doubt, perhaps you could have considered that your interviewer was rude because he was having a bad day, or just had an unpleasant experience similar to the one you ended up having with him.
    – On that “jumping to conclusions” note, you also called the board a “cult” simply for disagreeing with you. What happens then if a coworker points out flaws in your proposal? Will you believe he’s out to get you? And if more people veto your ideas, will you think there’s a conspiracy going on to get you fired?

    Basically, you showed us the same treatment that got you upset in the first place. If you can understand that, and learn from this experience, your interview skills and job prospects will improve by quite a bit.

    1. Anonymous*

      This is a great response. I think the important thing to take from the experience is to try to learn something from it. While it may sometimes be of value to teach others, it is of more value to you to learn something yourself.

      (and yeah guilty, I only posted here to make an even 700 comments. So sue me.)

    2. Natalie*

      Not the OP, but that book sounds really interesting. I’ve had to do a lot of work with a therapist on some of the same issues the OP might be struggling with and it’s not easy. But it’s really rewarding.

      1. name*

        The OP does not have a Phd. She has an MBA and an unspecified masters in HR / IO Psych.

        1. Bluefish*

          Honestly curious, what is an ‘unspecified’ masters? Is it like completing the program but not focusing on a specialty? Just curious. Thanks!

          1. Loose Seal*

            I think “unspecified” refers to the fact that the OP hasn’t specified what their Master’s is. Not that they got a General Studies Master’s (if there is such a thing).

    3. FD*

      Awesome response, with a good illustration!

      I do feel some sympathy here in the sense that when a person whose self-esteem is deeply tied into external approval is criticized, it’s very painful, more so than it should be because it isn’t just a negative opinion; it’s an attack on one’s very sense of self-worth. And from that, it makes a great deal of sense to seek out others to validate your own side, and dismiss the side of the person who criticized you–hence the letter here. And then to not get that either from the original post or the board…I do understand why the OP became angry. And I say this out of compassion and experience, having been there done that quite a bit myself.

      But it’s very dangerous, because as you say, an inability to take constructive criticism will make it very hard to get hired by the kind of employers you want to work for. Employers want people who take negative feed back well.

      Something that’s worked for me well in the past is thinking two things:

      1. “They don’t dislike me. They dislike X about what I’m doing.” This phrase can help because it distances the behavior they want you to correct from your self-worth. I.E. your manager might want you to try not to ramble, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you as a person.

      2. “Even though I’m horribly embarrassed right now, no one else will probably remember it in a year or two.” (This only works for relatively minor screw-ups that still stick in your craw; obviously if you flash your coworker and run into the street screaming, the story’s going to stick around.)

      1. SW*

        Thank you! I’ve lived by those two points you mention, and they’ve been helpful to me in so many situations. I’m not in academia, but I had a similar problem with taking things personally. What got me of that mindset is what you mentioned in your first comment: validation has to come from within. It’s a simple concept, but I can understand how it can be difficult to grasp for someone who’s built their entire career around external validation.

        But I encourage him to work on it, whatever it takes — be it one self-help book, two weeks of vacation or six months of therapy.

      2. V*

        Excellent advice!!

        To add to #2… OP, NO ONE knows who you are! (With the exception of Alison, assuming you used your real name in your email). But the odds of her ever meeting you in person are very small… You are a random person behind a computer… Just like the rest of us.

        While you might be embarrassed, there is really no need to be because anonymous people called out an anonymous person on a posting. You could be my coworker, cousin, friend and I would have no clue.

        This blog doesn’t require you to register, which I love, because you can change your identity as you see fit.

        This thread reminds me of one from last month, where the college student had an internship revoked because he failed a drug test and was trying to get the HR woman fired. Alison called him out on it, as did everyone else… The OP took time to calm down and realized how vindictive and over the top his response was, responded once (look for “David” in the comments section) and he moved on. If you let yourself, you could learn a thing from this kid:

  97. Mishsmom*

    this may have been said, but OP, you even used “The_Evil_OP” – that’s a dramatic name. you could have used just “OP”. i can see why all these people (including me) felt like this was over the top in one way or another. also, i’ve been reading this for a while – not many posts get this many replies – not even open threads… that says a lot about your words and the reaction they invoked. my grandfather used to say – if one person tells you you have a tail, ignore it. if 3 people do, stop and look behind you. and Alison – wow. you are my new hero for grace under pressure. i would not have been so calm and civil after those attacks. once again, you impress me!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      my grandfather used to say – if one person tells you you have a tail, ignore it. if 3 people do, stop and look behind you.

      This is awesome. I am so using this.

  98. Anonymous*

    This is the first time outside of World of Warcraft that I’ve been proud to be part of The Horde. Also, if I was called a cult leader, I might add that to my list of accomplishments. :)

  99. Ariancita*

    Just finished reading the whole comment thread. Wow.
    Well..this is not a gold star moment for most involved. :(

    1. FD*

      I think it’s still worth pointing out that even a relatively intense post like this has a much higher percentage of people trying to be helpful and provide genuinely constructive criticism than people out-and-out attacking.

      1. Not so NewReader*

        I sort of pictured a person drowning in the middle of the ocean and many, many people were throwing life preservers at him.

        When he didn’t reach for one, panic ensued. “What do we do now?”

        I think there are parts of OPs story that resonate with all of us to some degree. We all have our own version of something that went wrong and we felt pretty raw about it all. Hence, the urgency to buoy up the OP.

        I know that help comes in ODD packages. I have received help that reduced me to tears. Took me a while to figure out that it took guts to tell me the truth. Once, the help I have received involved yelling. I learned quickly not to let things get that out of hand. Listen closer, do some research, etc.

        The key is that when we ask someone for help they may not give it to us in the exact packaging we would like. Additionally, their delivery method may leave us totally bewildered (at best).

        If the answers are actually useful answers, how much does packaging and delivery matter? People help in the ways they know how.

        (In recent years, I cannot tell you how many times I have said this to myself: “People help in the ways that they know how to help.” Having this insight has made things a lot more interesting, for sure.)

  100. Anonymous*

    I feel like 99% of the comments were appropriate. I just read the thread (behind on my blog readings) and in fact not a single post comes to mind that I thought was inappropriate (aside from the. OP’s).

    I do have to say that I’m surprised at how many people attribute the scenario as an academic applying to a non academic job. As a grad student on the job market my experience has been that academia and the peer review process knocks any sense of pompous ness out of someone. The peer review process is cut throat and I’ve cried at some of the reviews I’ve gotten, which is to say in my experience you have to have a thick skin to be successful, and many of the ‘rockstar’ faculty I know are incredibly generous and humble. It probably differs by field though…I just wanted to defend academia:)

    1. FD*

      Oh, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with academia! It’s just that it’s a very different culture, and a person trying to transition from one to the other usually need to adjust, just like an American who went to work in, say, Japan would need to adjust to different behaviors and expectations.

      It’s not so much that academics are inherently pompous as that there’s a more constant sense of feedback than you usually seem to get in the non-academic world. And that hyper-focus on detail to the point of sometimes having trouble backing away to see the big picture is often characteristic of academics, because you HAVE to be into detail in order to devote your life to a very small section of one sub-group of your field.

      I agree about how cut-throat it is though! I work in customer service, and I decided that academia was more headache than I wanted to deal with!

  101. Anonymous*

    I agree with FD. I know there have been posts in the past about receiving constructive criticism, but I’d love to see another post. Maybe one that expands on what is truly helpful, albeit hard-to-swallow, criticism versus personal attacks. Lots of what the commenters said was harsh, but I felt for the most part that they were attacking specific behaviors or writing styles or comments and not the OP himself. That doesn’t mean honest criticism doesn’t knock the wind out of you at first.
    I was told in one of my first jobs that my writing was disjointed. It hurt for way too long, but I finally realized that my *writing* was disjointed and not me as a person. That was something I could work on and fix and my manager was trying to constructively help me move on to a better writing style.

    1. FD*

      Oh, I feel you. Writing especially is hard to take criticism on, because you pour your heart and soul into something and it gets shredded. No matter how deserved, it *hurts.*

      1. FD*

        Hit post too soon–If I had a dollar for each time I’ve gone into a corner and cried over entirely constructive writing crit, I’d be independently wealthy!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          LOL I’m a writer and I’m used to it, and it still sucks. Waiting on a very important book critique right now, and chewing my nails to the bone too.

          It’s sooo hard not to be defensive when you’ve worked very hard on something (whether it’s my book or the OP’s study). But you have to learn to pull out the nuggets of advice and not take it personally. You have to.

          1. Anonymous*

            You guys are totally over estimating my abilities. :)
            I was in an admin position at the time. I think this came after a series of mass emails I had to send out to the group about random updates and whatnot. I definitely understand the importance of knowing how to communicate effectively in writing, but I’m by no means a “writer.”

          2. Rana*

            Oh, god, yes it sucks. I think one of the things that makes me a good editor is that I’ve been on the other side of things as a writer, and I know how painful the experience can be if not handled well by the reviewer/critic.

            And writing is writing, regardless whether it’s an email or a novel – it’s your brain baby, and hearing it criticized is always a bit uncomfortable.

            1. Not so NewReader*

              I have a friend who does editing work and she said that most of the time she ends up talking about “life things” with the author as opposed to talking about punctuation and grammar. She said sometimes editing is similar to counseling: How to extract the best from a person without alienating that person. As you are saying, Rana, the editor wants the writing to shine, not make the author recoil in shock and pain. To do this, sometimes the editor walks a fine line.
              I should think the better editors have done their own share of writing.

  102. Renee Nichol*

    Hi There OP,

    I’m not sure if you’re still reading these comments but in case you are, I wanted to share some of my thoughts now that everything’s settled down a bit.

    First, I wanted to say that I know how hard it is to be on the receiving end of criticism – constructive or otherwise. It’s never easy to hear people tell you what you could be doing better (at least for me its not!) I can see how the sheer volume of comments you got was probably unnerving and felt very one-sided to you. I do think that most of the comments were on the constructive side of critical, and not on the aggressive/excessively rude side. However, I know that some terms did jump out at you as rude. To me, this just seemed to trigger a circle where you reacted to these comments and then people reacted to you reacting. Overall, I want to let you know that, in my opinion, the commenters on this blog are very reasonable and helpful. I don’t post much on this forum, but I read this blog every day, and some of the best discussions happen in the comment section. I actually think that reading through the comments on a few of the other posts from this week would give you a different idea of the type of community this blog encourages.

    Second, I think that the main thing people were reacting to was the perception that you weren’t truly open to feedback on this situation. You did say that you could have been more concise in your email and you could have written it less hastily when you were more calm. However, some of the feedback you got was stuff that was definitely tough to hear, and you reacted strongly to that feedback and seemed to reject and fight it when it was brought up. I think learning to react well to feedback you don’t want to hear is one of the hardest skills to master (and I’m definitely not sitting here typing this to you as someone who’s totally mastered that – I’m very much still working on this myself). However, I also think that very often, it’s the feedback that you didn’t want and didn’t actively solicit that’s the most helpful. At the end of the day, none of the people commenting here know you or harbor any bad feelings against you. There might be one or two who feel otherwise, but I think the vast majority of people here really want to give you feedback to help you and not tear you down. The frustration you were reading in some of the posts came from the commenters feeling that you weren’t open to hearing them out.

    I think reading through some of the posts that got huge reader reaction like your post did might show you what I’m getting at here. Reading these posts could help you see what other people in your exact situation have done and how things went a little differently as a result. The post I’m thinking would be the most helpful is:

    I’m sure there are others too! Anyway, I’ll close by saying that I hope this experience hasn’t been completely unhelpful for you, and I hope that you’re able to gain something positive from this. It’s never easy being in this position, and I wish you the very best!

  103. Dan*

    Exhausting. Why does the Evil one feel the need to respond to everybody’s comments, especially when they are all saying basically the same thing?

    Why can’t people just be humble once in awhile and admit, ‘wow, maybe I’m seeing this not as clearly as I thought’ and move on?

    It’s actually very sad …

  104. Jake*

    On the off chance that the OP decides to take a peek at this section after having cooled down, I’ll throw my 2 cents in.

    1. Experience means nothing. Acting superior to the recent grads, and justifying your anger by basically saying, “you don’t understand because you don’t have my experience and my credentials” demonstrates more about you than all your experience, degrees, awards, etc. ever will. And yes, you were acting superior.

    2. 300 people were not degrading you. There were 5 people tops that might have come close to crossing the line (and unlike a lot of the commenters, I’d have to agree that Alison was one that came close). Nobody… and let me be clear… NOBODY crossed the line into being a personal attack on you. The rest gave honest, real feedback that you should digest. By constantly exaggerating and acting like the whole world was out to get you, you lost all credibility. That is why nobody stood up for you when you pointed out that some folks were taking personal swipes at you. By that point, you had already spent days accusing genuinely helpful people of attacking you.

    3. You need to find the root of why you are taking genuinely helpful comments as so personally insulting. I have a brother that gets preferential treatment from my parents. When anybody tries to correct his behavior the parents get extremely defensive. I finally broke through to my step-mother when I asked, “why do you think EVERYBODY seems to agree that you treat him differently except for you? What do we all have to gain by deceiving you?” I think you need to look at this post the same way. All of these people agree that you acted superior. We all agree that you got nasty with people in the comments. Maybe there is a reason EVERYBODY agrees except you.

    4. Defensiveness can be a great and important quality, but it is never great to be defensive of yourself. Defensiveness should only be used when defending your integrity or your team. You defend yourself by being awesome at what you do, not through words.

Comments are closed.