update: a company I want to work for blocked me on social media

Remember the letter-writer who got blocked on social media by a company she wanted to work for (after blogging about them and tagging them on Twitter)? Here’s the update.

For those who wondered, I applied and did land an interview. I was pretty excited, as it was a job posting from this company that originally brought the desired industry to my attention in the first place.

Unfortunately, the experience once I got there was quite disappointing. I felt out of place from the minute I walked in the door (the building was very artsy, and mostly occupied by techy hipsters). It took several minutes to track down the interviewer (there was no one at the front desk), and once the interview started, I felt even more out of place. The team interviewing me asked very generic, basic questions, and their body language screamed “uninterested!” I just got the feeling that they were looking down their noses at me, despite selecting me for an interview. It was like being a nerd sitting with the popular kids: there may be some pleasantries exchanged, but it’s just awkward.

As it turns out, I didn’t really have to worry about if the social media issue would come up–the entire interview was only 10 minutes long (I know this because I checked my watch when I left). I left with a bad taste in my mouth, but I still wrote a “thank you” email, to which I got a response a few days later saying that the position had already been filled.

Even though I wasted a whole day off for what ended up being a very short interview, I am glad it happened because I would have always wondered what working there would be like. That day, any illusions I had came crashing to reality, and now, whenever I see a posting for that company, I steer clear. I am still searching for a new job, and hoping a great opportunity will come my way soon.

{ 35 comments… read them below }

    1. Artemesia

      so often there is no information like that given and applicants are left hanging that I think this is actually a good thing to do; it is best if done graciously — but some news is better than being left hanging.

      1. Sherm

        Oh, I definitely think it’s good for interviewers to let applicants know of their status (so few do this), but I feel that a “thank you” isn’t very graciously received if the “thank you” is interpreted as “so do I have the job?” Or maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today :)

      2. SystemsLady

        Nothing tacky about “the position has been filled”, but I do think it was kind of tacky that it was sent as a reply to the thank you email (assuming it happened as the OP worded it).

    2. Not So NewReader

      It’s consistent with everything else OP experienced with this company. Not saying that makes it right, no-no, but it did help OP to solidify her own plans to proceed in a different direction.
      OP, you have done well here, in seeing the big picture and keeping a balanced perspective.
      I am sure you will find a great place to work for.

  1. Mathnet

    These people are @ssholes. You don’t want to work here anyway… most likely what you experienced in the interview was a mere preview of headaches, dysfunction, and tons of crap you’d have had to deal with on a day to day basis had you gotten the job.

    Think of it like dating. If anyone treats you disrespectfully on a first date, why would you want any further interaction with them, even if you see yourself as a geek and them as a “cool kid?” I’d personally always rather hang around with the geeks who pay me well and treat me respectfully than any cool kid who’s harassing me.

    1. MK

      I think that’s a bit unfair. The OP mentions that they and the company didn’t seem to click and that the interviewers gave the impression of being snooty. But that’s a long way from them treating the OP with disrespect, much less harrassing them. It was just a bad fit for both of them.

      1. Mathnet

        They blocked her on social media, which is unprofessional, and then doubled down on that by being unprofessional in the interview and the followup. That is the very definition of disrespect.

        1. Koko

          They very likely blocked her on social media because her tweet had the structure/syntax of spam (a link to her blog and then tagging large accounts in a related subject area), not because they were unprofessional.

    2. M-C

      I’m with mathnet here.. And congratulations to OP on avoiding what would clearly be a job from hell.. Better luck next time!

    3. Ed

      It reminds me of the quote often made regarding people (paraphrasing): people will usually show you who they are if you’re willing to look. We tend to ignore the signs and see what we want to see, then we’re surprised when we get burned. I’ve worked for a number of companies where the interview experience was lacking. Each time the interview ended up being a mirror of what is was like to work there. I’m not suggesting it is always that way but I think it is often the case. On the other hand, I try to keep in mind that everyone has bad days.

    1. hayling

      Yep, that was my experience. I had an internship at a company run by someone I admired (a somewhat-celebrity). He was nice but most of the people were stuck-up jerks.

      1. Kai

        Yeah, I am in an internship right now with a large, respected company and everyone is SOO “How did you get in? I want to work for that company!” … No. You don’t. I have become disillusioned.

  2. Preston

    I think one needs to be real careful with social media and their employment, both current and possible options. I have to use social media sometimes and am amazed at things I find. I personally don’t use Twitter or Facebook or any others… If it is on the web it is out for all to see. I imagine many hiring managers Google folks before interviews. Also if you are applying for jobs have a simple email, not something crude or weird.

    I imagine the inteview was short because they already had a candidate they wanted to extend an offer to. I have had that happen a couple of times. It would be polite of folks would just come out and say it and save my time and theirs.

    1. T

      I wondered the same thing. If they could respond to your thank-you email so soon after the interview by saying that the position had been filled, my guess is that they already had someone for the job by the time they interviewed you. If that’s the case, then I would agree with those who say that the company behaved unprofessionally and disrespectfully. They should have treated the interviewee as a legitimate candidate and shown actual interest or they should have called the interview off because they had found someone. It sounds to me like they just (barely) went through the motions of an interview.

  3. hayling

    A 10-minute interview shows how out-of-whack their hiring practices are. Clearly they didn’t like you for whatever reason, or think you were the right fit. They could have saved everyone a lot of time by weeding you out during the phone screen stage.

    1. MK

      I think this sounds more like a “we know who we want to hire, but we have to go through X number od interviews” kind of thing.

      1. Jennifer

        Yeah, it sounds like they literally did the most token interview EVER in this case. Ouch. I’m sorry, OP.

  4. OP

    Thanks for the support and advice, Alison and everyone (both here and in the original post).

    I don’t think the blocking and the bad interview were connected–I don’t think the panel would have researched me enough to notice–but, as others have noted, it is consistent with the mindset of the blocking. Very image-conscious. The panel also wasn’t blatantly rude, but they made a point of emphasizing the skills they felt I was lacking. (“You need customer service skills, but we’re also looking for X ability. X ability is REALLY IMPORTANT.”) So, I’m not sure they even thought I could carry out the job at all, despite asking me to interview. The e-mail reply to my “thank you” basically said, “Thank you for taking the time to interview, but the position has been filled.” Again, not inherently rude, but very consistent with the vibe I got of the company.

    I agree with what some of you have mentioned, that they may have legally had to carry out a certain number of interviews before offering the position to the candidate they really wanted. Still, it would have been nice to know that going in, instead of thinking I was realistically being considered. I actually had an interview booked with them before, years ago, but the day before, they wrote to tell me the candidate they had just met was amazing, and was a cinch for the job, so I shouldn’t bother coming because they were cancelling the interview.

    I know I’ll never be considered one of the “cool kids,” but I’d much rather be genuinely valued for who I am than have smoke blown up my ass for being someone I’m not. :)

    1. voluptuousfire

      I’m sorry you experienced that. I had a similar experience myself at a company back in August. The interview lasted 10 minutes and they ended it really abruptly and left me to find my way out. I just checked their Glassdoor and they apparently laid off a bunch of staff recently in one foul swoop for really no discernible reason. (I don’t think it was the office I interviewed at.)

      In situations like that, it shows their true colors. Working for them is probably not what it’s cracked up to be.

    2. Maggie

      “I’d much rather be genuinely valued for who I am than have smoke blown up my ass for being someone I’m not. :)”

      Here here!

    3. rdb

      Occasionally, companies post jobs that they have no intention of filling with anyone but an internal candidate. But there’s still an obligation to post the job, and even interview an external candidate or two. I’m wondering if they put you on that merry-go-round – in other words, perhaps you never had a chance to begin with. Sometimes knowing one is going through the motions will affect how one handles the activity at hand (they knew they weren’t hiring you, and did little to disguise that fact when you interviewed).

  5. No Name

    Sometimes you have to wonder what is going through people’s minds when we interview and apply for things.

    I just turned down a position in an academic program that required me to have a letter of recommendation from a ‘science professor,’ in order to validate my ‘reliability and consistency’ in academic coursework. Ok, well it was not a requirement to apply to the program and so I guess they made a special exception just for me. When I asked about the requirement there was no answer to my polite email and one phone message.

    Here’s the thing, I have three degrees with the last being a doctorate in a science field. I finished my coursework 10+ years ago and am currently teaching college level Biology. I guess that my being myself a ‘science professor’ (instructor) is not good enough and I need someone else to validate my ability to be ‘reliable and consistent’ in coursework. Ok, so just reject me! but don’t tell me I am not qualified. I don’t want to go somewhere I am not respected or welcome at and was really surprised at their request. I felt offended. Also, because many former professors of mine are retired or would not remember me, I don’t even know who I would ask. This was for a simple undergraduate program, for what that is worth, where most applicants are first time undergraduates.

  6. SJP

    Sorry OP but the way I read your update makes you sounds very snobbish…
    Just because you didn’t click with them vice or versa doesn’t mean thats hipsters are a bad thing or that they’re even hipsters at all but just have a different taste in stuff to you.
    Yes all offices and companies have different cultures to you but the way you made it sounds like kind of ‘ew’ if you get me.. Yes they didn’t employ you, or maybe they didn’t think you interviewed well, or they had someone already in mind.. Just your tone here could have been much more graceful..

    1. AW

      “doesn’t mean thats hipsters are a bad thing”

      OP doesn’t say that, only that they felt out of place. I don’t see why the OP needs to have a grateful tone when the interviewers were rude to them.

    2. disconnect

      Are you wearing a fedora right now? I’d wager that OP doesn’t dislike these people because they were hipsters but because they were jerks. Lots of office cultures out there, yeah, but jerkishness overrules a lot of other things.

  7. AW

    I’ve ended up in these types of interviews before: there’s maybe one person who’s trying to be polite and professional but the other people in the room are visibly bored, not paying attention, or seemingly irritated. I remember one interview I had where one of the guys in the room kept making faces at the other interviewers, rolling his eyes, smirking, etc. even though I was giving very normal answers to their questions. It made me very flustered because I kept wondering if I was doing something wrong but I didn’t feel like I could call him out on this during an interview.

    “That day, any illusions I had came crashing to reality, and now, whenever I see a posting for that company, I steer clear.”

    Yep. As awful as these experiences are at least you find out that you actually don’t want to work at that company.

    1. Sharon

      Yep, I’ve been in interviews with a single interviewer who seemed bored or irritated and just didn’t want to be there. In one, the interviewer wasn’t even the guy who wanted to interview me but the original person was too busy so he got “drafted” into doing it at the last minute, and was understandably not happy about it. He was busy too, and kept checking his watch. Next time I need to job-search, I think I will just politely bow out the instant I get that vibe from the interviewer, rather than wasting both of our time.

      I also got a “you’re not good enough for us” vibe from one place, that wanted me to answer a bunch of questions via email before they would deign to do a phone interview. They said they were looking for people with passion and innovation, so I tried to describe my past work (which I was passionate about and I felt were fairly innovative). They replied by email that I just wasn’t a good fit. I let it go but couldn’t help thinking of Steve Martin’s “well, excuuuuuuuseeee me!” LOL!

  8. Nyxalinth

    I had a similar situationa couple of times, but in each case it was less snobby and more “We really want someone younger and male, but we’re interviewing women so we don’t get in trouble” kind of thing. You could just feel a sense of ‘nice but going through the motions because they already had who they wanted”.

    I’m sorry that you had to experience that. If X skill was so damn important, they should have put it in the ad. and there was no need for them to be so snooty! You dodged a bullet. Imagine dealing with that attitude day in and day out.

  9. Hermoine Granger

    It sucks but some people / organizations seem to just be like this. The silver lining would be that you found this out during the interview rather than after you were hired. I find this sort of attitude occurs most often at companies with a “cool” public image (or those that believe they’re cool) and/or cliquish departments. I’ve personally had this experience on a few separate occasions and realized during the interview that it would be terrible to work on these teams.

    #1 was for an unpaid internship at a company that organized and executed fashion photoshoots. We had a short phone interview and I was invited to the office for an in-person interview. I showed up and introduced myself to the lady at the front desk. She gave me a puzzled look so I explained that I was there to interview for the internship. Her smile dropped and she told me that she didn’t have any interview questions for me. She didn’t offer me a seat, ask to see my resume, etc. It took me about 2-3 hours to travel roundtrip for a five minute non-interview.

    #2 was at a commercial construction company. They asked a few questions about my experience and then explained that a large part of being successful in the role was being able to get along with co-workers. They then spent the rest of the interview asking questions my hobbies, favorite movies, etc. and responding to my answers with snide remarks or implying I should have given a different answer. It went on forever and was a waste of time.

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