my interviewer berated me and called me a liar

A reader writes:

I royally screwed up today in the middle of an interview process and got weird reaction from the recruiter in the process. Where do I go from here?

I’ve been underemployed as freelancer for the past few months due to COVID-19 and have been actively job searching and networking to not much success. I’ve had a few interviews here and there but nothing substantive while I kept up freelance work.

Last week I applied for a role that seemed to be well suited to my experience and even in the niche industry I’ve spent most of my career in. I received a message back from the recruiter, Amy, asking for a phone interview. We spoke Friday afternoon and it went well, though she didn’t seem understand much about the skills and proficiencies the role needed. She also wouldn’t disclose the name or exact location of the the business, though I was able to research and confirm it independently given the wording of the job ad.

It felt a little weird but I haven’t interviewed much with external recruiters, so I chalked it up to that. The call ended a positive note and Amy told me she was forwarding my resume to her boss, Beth.

Beth called later that night to let me know that she didn’t want to talk long on the phone as it was quite late for her and she had been working all day. She asked for an in-person interview and suggested several different times, but kept interrupting me to contradict herself and say actually that time didn’t work for her. I could barely get a word in but scribbled down the times she gave me until we landed on Tuesday at noon and she asked me to text her the confirmation of the meeting and the office’s address. As we were hanging up, she also told me to bring references with me. This was Friday so I reached out to some of my freelance clients and a former manager to act as references over the weekend and they all got back to me quickly with a yes.

Then Tuesday rolls around and at 12:15 I get a call from Beth asking me where I am. I immediately realize that I copied one of the other times she had suggested, 2 pm, over the phone into my calendar. I confess my mistake and and apologize profusely for the error and her time wasted. She is upset and tells me to explain myself. I tell her that she had initially suggested a few different times for the interview which I had written down and then I copied the incorrect one over to my calendar and it was an honest mistake.

At this point if she had told me that she wasn’t interested in meeting me anymore, I would have been disappointed but understood. Instead she tells me I am lying to her. She says my story doesn’t add up and that she is a straight shooter and won’t tolerate liars. I try to convince her that I’m not lying and it was an honest mistake, trying to keep my composure. Eventually, she tells me to show up the next day at 12:30, doing the same thing where she suggests multiple times out loud to herself, which I agreed to. Beth asks again me why I didn’t show up, and I repeat that it was a mistake.

To make the whole thing worse, after I set my phone down my partner, who was in the room for this phone call, asks me what was wrong and I replied “It was at fucking noon. I’m an idiot,” not realizing my phone had not disconnected from Beth’s. I hung up directly after that and just hoped that she had either set her phone down or mine was far enough away not to pick up that audio.

An hour later, Beth calls to ask me to send her my references. She tells me she overheard me and berates me for swearing, then tells me that my references won’t be sufficient as they aren’t all managers. She tells me to get more references and we’ll talk tomorrow.

I … don’t want to go through with this anymore. I understand I made several critical mistakes that I’m reflecting on, but I also feel like Beth acted strangely and out of line in calling me a liar. Before Beth’s second call, my partner told me I should still go through with the interview since the end job wouldn’t be with her and I had already spoken to my references, but now I am just feeling like this well is poisoned.

Would you recommend going to the interview in light of this or am I right to cancel? For the record, if wasn’t planning on interviewing I would always cancel ahead of time. I’ve been on the opposite side of job search ghosting often enough to not do that to anyone else.

Cancel the interview.

Beth appears to be deeply confused about the nature of the interviewing process. You are not a child and she is not your parent. She has no standing to repeatedly chastise you or demand explanations for things you’ve already explained. If she objects to your behavior, she should either clearly state what she does need from you or cancel the interview. She doesn’t get to order you to explain yourself (!), berate you, or treat you as if you’re a supplicant or a naughty child, and it’s gross that she’s using a twisted and inaccurate understanding of interviewing power dynamics to try to do that.

For what it’s worth, I think you might be buying into that paradigm a bit too (although not as much as Beth is). It of course made sense to apologize for getting the time of the interview wrong, but once she started accusing you of lying and saying your story didn’t add up and she wouldn’t tolerate liars — in other words, once she flipped out on you — you didn’t need to try to placate her. At that point it would have been fine to say, “You’re reading a surprising amount into a simple mistake. I’m certainly sorry I got the time wrong, but there’s not more to it than that. Clearly this isn’t the right match for either of us, so let’s leave this here” … and then ended the call.

Interviewing often puts people in a weird head space where they feel they’re supposed to defer to the interviewer, but it’s okay to set boundaries on how you will and won’t be treated. It’s also true that it can be hard to respond perfectly when anyone behaves so oddly because we’re caught off guard, so it’s not just interviewing. But the perceived power dynamics in interviewing really exacerbate it.

Realistically, there’s also the question of whether you can afford to walk away from a prospective job. But was hostile Beth really going to give your candidacy a fair hearing after all this? It seems unlikely.

I do take your partner’s point that it could still be worth interviewing because the job wouldn’t be with Beth herself — and if her behavior had been less egregious, I’d agree with him. But again, it’s unlikely she was going to assess you positively after all this, and I doubt it would have been a great use of your time. (You’d also probably be signing up for more berating in the next conversation.)

Cancel the interview and have no qualms about it.

{ 269 comments… read them below }

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          But LW wouldn’t be working for or even at the same company as Beth, right? Isn’t she just a recruiter?
          Honestly if possible I’d try to give the company a heads up that the recruiting company they use is staffed by lunatics because it sucks for them (and for the candidates) if Beth is driving them away with her lunaticery.

      1. Tangerina Warbleworth*

        Lunatic or no, I don’t think Beth’s behavior has anything to do with the OP at all. I think Beth is having a hard time right now, and is using this hiring process and its applicants as stand-ins for the people she actually wants to yell at. I just can’t help thinking that shouting, “You’re a LIAR!” is what she wants to scream at an ex, or a dead parent, or an old grad school advisor.

        Nonetheless, the point is valid: she was unbelievably unprofessional.

        1. Xenia*

          To me, this would be even worse. I would understand frustration aimed at me for my own mistake, even if I didn’t like how it came out. But someone taking out their misplaced aggression on me is not someone I would ever want to associate with.

          1. Alternative Person*

            Yeah, a colleague of mine is displacing all their various stressors onto me rather than the just the ones between us, and it sucks. I’ll be professional till the bitter end, but I resent it and I look forward to the day I no longer have to deal with them.

            (Management hasn’t exactly covered themselves with glory here, but that’s another story)

          2. Tangerina Warbleworth*

            @Xenia: I agree with you that I would never want to associate with a person like this. Beth is clearly awful, and you’re right, it is absolutely unfair for her to take out personal problems on OP (if that’s what’s going on). But there is a small amount of comfort, I’ve found, in privately recognizing that, in OP’s shoes, I am not the problem. I am a sane, hard-working, reasonable person, Beth is a train wreck, and no matter what Beth thinks, I’m not responsible for her actions. That recognition allows some mental distance, which can help the OP cope until it’s no longer a problem.

    1. A Poster Has No Name*

      No kidding. Even if you won’t be working with Beth, you’ll still be working at a company that employs Beth, so…

    2. Tamer of dragonflies*

      Yay to dodging that bullet OP! Even if Beth wouldnt be your direct supervisor,it reflects badly on the company that someone so seemingly frazzled and…I dunno the right word…Maybe butthole like?…Is interviewing folks for a job.Interviews go both ways,and I think Beth made a bad firsr impresion for the company.As my dear spouse would say,”Beth needs to go fart up a sideways rope with herself.”

    3. Snickerdoodle*

      I think we know why there was a vacancy.

      If this is how she behaved during the interview, imagine dealing with that all day every day!

  1. BadWolf*

    Beth called later that night to let me know that she didn’t want to talk long on the phone as it was quite late for her and she had been working all day.

    This is the first red flag for me. I really don’t like people when people turn the thing they did onto you somehow (gaslighty-y). She decided to call you after a long day. You didn’t call her. You didn’t even ask her to call at any particular time.

    I may be particularly grumpy on this front as I just had a coworker who wanted to review my work (which was fine) then act like it was huge burden. Hey buddy, you wanted to do this work.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I agree with you. Beth started this entire situation on an adversarial note, so no, OP, I don’t think she would evaluate you fairly at all. This opportunity is dead in the water, I’m sorry.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I think the only reason she wants the OP to interview again is so she can berate the OP again.

    2. The Original K.*

      Yes, I was going to say exactly this. Beth being tired at the end of a long day has nothing to do with you, OP. There was no plan in place to call you – she could have thought to herself “you know what, I’m tired and I’m logging off. I’ll call that candidate tomorrow.” Instead she made a choice and then acted like it was your fault. That’s shady, and I’d bet that she has a hard time taking responsibility for mistakes.

    3. Willis*

      This. I get that the OP was the one to miss the time, but Beth sounds like a pretty bad communicator, especially for someone who’s supposed to be coordinating interviews and courting job candidates. Why call someone to tell them you can’t talk to them!?! Email or call the next day, be clear about what time slots are available, and then send a confirmation email/calendar invite with the office address. Why did Beth need the OP to text a confirmation? My guess would be that Beth has a lot of situations like this and is somehow never the one at fault.

    4. Kella*

      Yes, anytime someone blames you for the choice that they made, when there was no consequence to them to make a different choice, that’s a red flag.

      I once worked with a terrible office manager of a venue I rented. There was a mixup on his end that resulted in me having to cancel my event at the last second. I asked, very nicely, if I could get a partial rent credit as a gesture of good will around the mixup. He agreed to give it to me and then proceeded to chew me out for asking for it, especially since my rent was so low. Dude, just say no. And if you’re so pissed about my rent being low THEN RAISE MY RENT. He had the power to do both those things and for some reason it was my fault that he didn’t use it.

    5. Delta Delta*

      I read that slightly differently, and I’ve done that before, too. I’ve called people at the end of the day to let them know I’ve received their call/message/whatever, and that although I didn’t have a lot of time just then, I wanted to a) acknowledge their contact and b) set up a time to meet/talk/call/zoom/interpretive dance. I will say I don’t have a lot of time so as not to invite a lengthy conversation just then if we’re going to meet at a future time. I always thought I was being polite to acknowledge people and set boundaries for a return call, but maybe that’s not the case.

      1. Bernice Clifton*

        This is the way I interpreted it as well. She was letting you know that she didn’t plan to take up a lot of your time for the call, albeit in an awkward way.

      2. Well Then*

        It’s fine to say “I’m about to leave for the day, but I wanted to check in first and schedule a time for us to meet.” It’s weird to say, “I’ve been working all day, it’s late, and I don’t really want to talk right now.” Oversharing, and kind of rude. It makes the OP feel like they are burdening Beth, when 1) this is her job, and 2) she’s the one who initiated the call.

        1. Mongrel*

          And the 5 minutes of pre-planning to jot down 3 or 4 times when they’re free rather than going the process ‘live’, which is probably the most confusing way to do something like this.

        2. micklethwaite*

          Yes, this entirely. Beth is a horrible communicator and honestly seems to find a way to pin any negative emotion she’s feeling squarely onto whoever she’s interacting with. She’s tired, so she’ll make LW feel guilty for…being phoned? She’s annoyed that LW missed the interview time, so LW must have done it on purpose, must be lying. She didn’t like overhearing LW swear even though it was clearly another accident and not meant for Beth to hear – so she’ll tell her off for that too. Beth sounds like an absolute nightmare and I would not want to be in the same company as her.

      3. WellRed*

        Depends on the circumstance and how you phrase it, which I’m sure you do politely and it’s fine. I know when someone tells me that and it’s not someone I know (plus how tired how they are, how long their day was, blah blah, yeah me too, Beth) it immediately makes ME feel like I am wasting the caller’s time.

      4. Ally McBeal*

        Makes sense, but are you doing this with colleagues you already know? or a virtual stranger, as is the case here? Because I’d totally accept this kind of behaviour from a coworker, but it could be unprofessional if this is your first contact with someone.

      5. Spencer Hastings*

        I often use email in this case…if only to protect *myself* from an “ok, let’s talk about it right now!” from the other person when I’m not prepared to do that on the fly. ^^;

      6. tamarack and fireweed*

        Well, while it is certainly possible to have an interaction as described which is perfectly professional, I still think there is a lot of potential here for it to not have been. This isn’t just a business call at the end of day, it’s a recruitment call. A recruiter who understands their role will also understand that it’s not just the candidate who needs to be on their toes, but the recruiter as well: They’re representing the employer (whether they’re in-house or a recruitment contractor) and need to make a suitably professional impression on the candidate as well.

        If there what even a whiff of the suggestion that calling at the end-of-day is an imposition (and frankly, the way this interaction went there might have been) then I would file it under red flags as well.

      7. Yorick*

        That’s what I thought at first. But then when you put it together with the whole “suggesting a time then snapping about how that time won’t work” vibe she seemed to have, I’d agree with BadWolf.

      8. Birdie*

        I think it’s all about the way you present it! If she’d said, “I just have a moment, but I wanted to quickly touch base and get our meeting on the calendar,” or “I know it’s late so I’ll only keep you a minute…” I think that would’ve been completely fine. Unfortunately, that’s not the approach she went with.

      9. Malarkey01*

        I have one specific time vampire where I have to set a boundary because otherwise she’ll try to stretch a 30 second yes/no into a 20 minute call. However otherwise I wouldn’t preemptively set a boundary with a call. If something starts to take more time I would say “this seems a little more detailed or involved for the time I have now. Let’s set a time tomorrow to touch base and talk through it”. Otherwise it can really make the caller feel like an imposition when they weren’t going to take extra time anyway.

        1. mgguy*

          I’m someone who loves to chat/socialize and have been known to do so on work calls. It’s a Southern thing partially, and also I deal with a lot of vendors/sales reps who know I(or rather my department) may only make a purchase once every couple of years but still keep a personal relationship so we think of them when we need something.

          It cuts both ways, though. I deal with someone as a parts vendor for my MG who I’ve come to know very well socially and we can easily spend an hour chatting. Just the other day, he emailed me with a “Hey, haven’t heard from you a while, everything alright?” and I returned with a call.

          In all of those cases, though, it’s not uncommon for one of us to state up front as something like “Just have a minute-can you put this quote together for me as soon as possible?” or “Just have a minute-do you have a quick order or can I call you back when I can talk longer?” Both of those sort of situations are totally fine with me.

          Of course, if you know how someone operates, you also stick to that norm. Again with my MG, which is a hobby, if I need carburetor parts I deal with the SU carburetor master in NYC. He’s fantastic but deals with typical NYC efficiency-if I spend 3 minutes on the phone it’s a long call. He’s never unkind or rude-it’s just get to the point. His son-in-law now is usually the one who takes the orders now, and I was amazed when I “stumped” them one day on a particular carb application/configuration(Austin Marina), and got a call back a few minutes later from the master saying he hadn’t handled one in years and asking me specifics as well as the back story on where the car came from, etc. It was the longest conversation I’ve ever had with him at about 10 minutes.

    6. JSPA*

      Beth could have emailed a list of times. And cross-checked before sending, so as not to waste anyone’s time but her own.

      She’s repeatedly set up a situation designed to get on her last nerve, then used that, to pseudo-excuse her attitude.

      Side eye both to Beth, and to anyone who hires Beth for their recruitment.

      If this is an outside recruiter, however, I would perhaps let the company know that their recruiter is not onluy making the process into a three ring circus, but is going so far as to lob accusations sufficient to drive off most qualified applicants.

      To forestall the appearance that you’re trying to do the recruiter out of finder fees, tell them you’d be glad to re-apply if and when they decide to work with a different recruiter.

      If Beth is in-house, they’re knowingly and willingly letting her do this, and it’s a hard “no” from beginning to end.

      1. Six Feet Under Par: A Chip Driver Mystery*

        When I am hiring, our recruiter creates a calendar invite for the time of the meeting and sends it to the candidate. You know, like anyone with an ounce of sense would. Beth is a fool to herself and a burden to others.

    7. Kara S*

      I wouldn’t really call this gaslighting as that is a pretty serious term that doesn’t seem like it applies here. It just seems more like Beth is self-centred and doesn’t realize how rude this action was, not that she is trying to make the LW doubt themselves or their reality.

        1. JSPA*

          Gaslighting and overt false declarations both involve conflicting realities, but the similarity ends there.

        2. Tiny Kong*

          It’s not gaslighting, it’s Beth lying.
          Gaslighting would be if Beth was trying to convince OP that they were lying. Beth was accusing OP of lying, not manipulating OP to make them doubt themselves.

    8. Dust Bunny*


      I once called a locksmith because I’d locked myself out of the house. The website said they had multiple employees and were available 24-7. The woman who answered went on a long whine about how she’d just gotten to the park with her daughter and they’d have to leave and her husband was sick and it was just really hard to do this on her own and . . .

      . . . okay, sorry? How was I supposed to know that from your website?

      If she had said, “Sorry, everyone is out on calls, can you wait until X:00?” or “I can’t send anyone soon but Company Y is also good–try them,” I’d have been fine with it, because life happens. Instead I felt really uncomfortable and completely like I’d break a window into my own house before I’d call this place again.

    9. I Need That Pen*

      Exactly. I read this and flashed back on a guy who walked in, took a slug of his soda, burped, and said he, “didn’t have a lot of time for this interview,” so I immediately stood up, said, “neither do I,” and walked out. Company called me to ask what happened and why I left, and I told them exactly what happened and that in less than 8 seconds I knew everything I needed to know about their company. The hiring manager was apologetic, and comfortably so…

  2. Just J.*

    Remember interviews are there for you to interview your employer too. This isn’t a one sided venture. Do you really want to work for a firm who works with a recruiter as unprofessional as Beth?

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I would be so tempted to reach out to the company myself and let them know about Beth’s terrible behavior (assuming OP gleaned the correct info about what company this actually is). There’s no telling how many good candidates Beth has run off.

      1. GreenDoor*

        But there, too, this is a red flag. They wouldn’t tell her the name of the company during the preliminary phone interview. Why not?? Methinks it’s because they’ve had too many other candidates called the hiring company to complain about the recruiter.

        1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

          Eh, outside recruiters often conceal the name of the company from candidates. Those that do often also remove candidates name and contact information from their application materials before turning them over to their clients. Why? To prevent either party from going around the recruiters and cutting them out after they did the work to connect them.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yeah, that’s pretty typical. Recruiters deserve to get paid for the work they do in marketing the job and finding candidates; that’s the business model.

            1. Zelda*

              Normally, I would consider it unethical to do an end-run around that process. Is this case, of the external recruiter being ridiculously unprofessional and running off good candidates, an exception?

              1. Nancie*

                I don’t think it would be ok to do an end run, even in this case, to get an interview. But to warn the company that their recruiter is an asshat? Absolutely.

        2. Zephy*

          I think it’s more likely that Amy or the recruiting company made the decision to obfuscate that information, not the company Amy is recruiting for.

  3. Ellie May*

    You don’t want to work for this person. She’s already told you quite a bit about herself and how she operates. Be glad she shared this insight and move on.

      1. Don*

        That’s true, but the company hiring chooses to employ this operation. Maybe that’s completely free of reflection on them – this is a new contract or Beth is new in this role or who knows – but it’s also possible she is a perfect reflection of the kind of place they are.

        1. SomebodyElse*

          The company does choose to employ a particular recruiter, but if they don’t know how the recruiter acts with candidates they don’t know. It’s also true that outside of a handful of people the choice for the recruiting company is totally outside the realm of their control or even knowledge.

          Eventually a company might realize that they aren’t getting good candidates from Beth, but it’s likely to take a little while to figure out why.

          1. CupcakeCounter*

            They also might not employ a particular recruiter either but the company has a contract with a particular agency. My employer has a contract with X agency but since we have dozens of offices around the country there are quite a few different recruiters involved. When one recruiter leaves the company, we simply get assigned a new rep. Parent company won’t let us try a new agency because we have a national contract so until we get information from candidates or have a negative interaction with the new recruiter we have no idea if they are great or a shit-show.

      2. Yorick*

        If this is a contracting position, you may have to deal with the contracting company often, and that might include Beth.

  4. CatCat*

    Text her that you’re withdrawing from consideration for the position and then block her number. You don’t need to hear any more from this hostile loon.

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      YES!!! No more communication with this nut job. Let people who are on the payroll deal with this asshat.

    2. Littorally*


      And if you were able to find the company based on the ad, see if you can apply with them directly.

    3. OP*

      That is exactly what I ended up doing. For her part, Beth responded with a thumbs-up emoji and nothing else was said.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        A thumbs-down emoji!!!! This is the professional (well, unprofessional) version of when my best friend went on a second or third date with a guy and he fist-bumped her at the end.

      2. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        Good for you!
        I know it was hard to turn down a job opportunity, but you did the best thing.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        She lost a candidate for a job…. and she is giving the thumbs up???

        That’s pretty twisted. I bet the employer would looove to know that she thinks success looks like people fleeing from the available opening.

        I have worked with people like this. They see failure as success. It supports their martyr image or whatever they have going on.

        Yeah, you would have interviewed with this person and your application would have hit the circular file right after you left. Bullet dodged.

        1. TechWorker*

          Um… to me, the way thumbs up gets used at work (and for us it does, it’s an option on our IM system) is basically to acknowledge you’ve read/understand the message. It’s the laziest form of response, but has absolutely no connotation of being happy about the message. Beth has done many odd things, but I don’t think this one counts particularly!

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yes, I think it is a bad response and a pretty unprofessional way to end this whole interaction from someone who has communicated terribly through the whole process… but I agree that a “thumbs up” often now just means “I acknowledge that I’ve seen this.” I use it that way in our work instant message system sometimes. I don’t think she was trying to indicate any particular feeling about the situation, I suspect she just decided not to invest any more effort into the conversation.

            Two thumbs up is a rave review, but a single thumb now just basically means “okay.”

        2. TootsNYC*

          I use the thumbs-up emoji to mean “I’m acknowledging your message, and no further communication is needed.” or “thank you” (in this case, “for letting me know”)

      4. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Okay, I have a mental illness that occasionally causes me to lose track of reality and even I can’t see what on earth Beth was trying to accomplish here.

        1. JSPA*

          Working out frustrations, without reference to legit end goal, I’d assume. Unless she had a pal in the running (or someone giving her a kickback on the salary) and wanted to be able to tell the company that the other candidates had bowed out.

    4. Momma Bear*

      I would not proceed with this recruiter. You now know the company is hiring, so I would go straight to their listings and see if anything is pertinent to you. There may even be other positions you like better, OP. Mistakes happen. If you are no longer comfortable with Beth, then you can end this. She has the carrot of contact with the company, but I wouldn’t trust her representation of me at this point. If nothing else, she seems to be unprofessional in dealing with others and I would not want that to be a reflection of me.

  5. PJH*

    Well if this is how the company is treating you even before an interview, I’d rather take some time to think about how you’ll be treated if you ever get a job there…

    1. Hazel*

      I once went for an interview when I already had a job, but I was looking around to see what else was available. I had a “portfolio” of sorts that contained copies of documentation that I had written and copies of excellent course evaluations with lovely comments (I was doing technical training then). It was easy to add new material to the portfolio any time I had an interview. During the interview, it came up in the conversation that I was employed and not actively looking, but their job opening sounded interesting. When I showed the hiring manager the portfolio, she accused me of lying about not actively interviewing (because I had the example materials to show her). She got really argumentative, and I left as quickly as I could. What a strange thing to do! Why not express surprise and ask about it instead of assuming really odd behavior on my part and making accusations? When people behave this way, you do NOT want to work with them!

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        You’ve made me remember an interview from 5 years ago where the guy giving the interview accused me of lying about my disability and wanted me to admit my cane ‘was to look cool’. First time I ever terminated an interview, I was nearly ill in the car park after from nerves.

  6. Mayor of Llamatown*

    If someone put down their phone without hanging up and said what you said, and I was on the other end, I would think, “She sounds like she felt horrible about missing the interview”, not “HOW OFFENSIVE.”

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Unless it was perceived as a doubling down on the “lie”, like OP pretended she thought she’d hung up and was out of earshot but it was really a ‘performance’ for Beth’s benefit!
      I know it wasn’t, of course. But I can see Beth thinking that!

      1. BubbleTea*

        It sounds like Beth is under the impression that everything everyone does is always specifically to annoy Beth, so she almost certainly assumed this.

      2. Birdie*

        This makes no sense to me, but NOTHING about it being a lie makes sense to me, so it’s entirely possible that is indeed what she was thinking.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          NOTHING about it being a lie makes sense to me

          It doesn’t make sense to me in a rational way either, but that’s part of the reason I landed on the possibility (in another comment) that perhaps this is atypical of Beth.

          In-universe, if Beth is already convinced OP is lying (or that’s the story she’s settled on) then it is consistent that OP subsequently tried to ‘make the lie more convincing’ after being ‘called out on it’ by ‘pretending’ to blow off steam to the partner. Hell, in this situation Beth as likely as not would think “OP is alone in their location and just pretended to talk to someone to make it more convincing”.

          There’s also a “market forces” argument here. If Beth acts like this all the time, and people cancel their interviews as a result (all the other comments here apart from mine seem to be echoing to cancel the interview, for example) then Beth won’t be supplying any candidates to the company, and ipso facto wouldn’t she/her company be dropped as a vendor?

          1. Lance*

            Beth won’t be supplying any candidates to the company, and ipso facto wouldn’t she/her company be dropped as a vendor?

            That really depends. She could talk a good game to the company itself, ultimately say whatever she wants shielded by the fact that candidates won’t be going to them.

            1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

              I guess it’s possible! I suppose I assumed that ultimately someone, who has entered into this contract with the recruiter, would be looking to assess “how good is this recruiter” in terms of (whatever the relevant metrics are) when it comes time to negotiate contracts, or perhaps not? And I’d expect “number of people actually recruited who worked out beyond [e.g.] 6 months” to be a driver of that.

              1. Six Feet Under Par: A Chip Driver Mystery*

                Giving we are working on Bethaverse logic, there’s always a chance that she’s not even the official recruiter. She probably thinks she’s showing “hustle” by reading ads, finding candidates and the ringing the company to pitch.

          2. SW*

            I very briefly worked for a recruiter who sounds like Beth. As far as my co-workers and I could figure out, we think that the very large companies she worked with have such large hr departments and a lack of good record keeping that new HR people kept seeing that she’d worked with them before, but not she was terrible. They’d just keep rehiring her every 5 years or so & so she just kept rotating through all of these companies with no accountability at all.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      She is a person who will take anything she can find and turn it into an issue. If OP hadn’t dropped the f word, then it would be, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know how to hang up when you are done with a call yet?” But the f word was handy so she latched on to that.

      People like this can take a perfectly healthy person and turn them into a nervous wreck.

        1. Dr.OO7*

          was awful. Literally everything I said or did was taken as an insult. I walked on eggshells because I never knew what I might say or do that would send her into a rage. Frankly, Beth sounds so similar that I’m wondering if they’re the same person.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree, I’d probably be privately amused to be honest. It’s not like you said anything bad about *her,* you were cursing out yourself. It’s certainly not an *ideal* ending to a professional phone call but I don’t think it’s something you should spend even one more second feeling bad about.

  7. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    I’ve had bosses that behave like Beth, ex: call you and then blame you for keeping them on the phone so late, list a whole bunch of contradictory, rapid-fire details designed to confuse you, change their mind, and then blame you for being confused.

    You do not want to work with Beth. Trust me.

    1. Snarkus Aurelius*

      I’ve posted about my first internship many times on here, and my old boss was just like this.

      When she was away from the office, she’d leave 90 minutes VMs (no exaggeration) that delegated work to everyone. About 20-30 minutes of that was her complaining about how it was so late and she didn’t want to leave this message. Oh but she always did.

      On a related note, our staff meetings would run up to four hours at a time. She loved her meetings and being the center of attention.

      1. Zephy*

        Most voicemail systems cut off the message recording after a minute or two, how was she able to leave an hour and a half-long message?

        1. Lady Heather*

          Ooh, good to know. “Voicemail cuts off after 3 minutes” is a good reason not to listen to 90! minute voicemails.

          1. tamarack and fireweed*

            “Hey, boss, I received your message. It sounded like you were still talking at the end of the 3 min when the voicemail system cuts out, so is there anything important in what you said afterwards?” ;-)

          1. SaffyTaffy*

            @Snarkus, this brought back memories of when one of my dad’s clients would call, get voicemail, not hang up his phone correctly (he was Amish) and the cassette tape would run out recording silence punctuated by incidental background noise like his kids singing or a teakettle going off.

              1. Not Australian*

                I used to transcribe reports from tapes dictated during the course of post mortems. Pathologist operated the recorder with her foot. On one occasion she clearly got distracted half-way through and started talking to the other people in the room about her weekend plans – “I think I’m going to go and play golf on Saturday and then something something… ” I forget what it was. Trouble was, you didn’t know when the actual report would cut in again so I had to sit and listen to the whole thing, although she ran out of tape before she ran out of weekend plans…

      2. The Starsong Princess*

        You worked for my former boss, Chaos Woman! Her other favourite activity was three hour shouting sessions with the group that supported our IT tools.

        She would take documents I wrote, completely change them so they were wrong without telling me, then distribute them at meetings and say “now Starsong is going to speak to the document”. I would not be able to that because the document would have nothing in common with what I wrote. Endless chaos and attention seeking.

  8. Hey Karma, Over Here*

    Contact your references. Thank them and tell them that during the preliminary phone screen you realized that this is not a place you’d like to work, or at least not now and through this process. If they get a call, don’t have a conversation. If they get voicemail, let it go.
    Save their energy for a job situation that is not bat crap crazy.
    Your partner has a valid point, based on their own experiences, not yours. Your partner did not hear how this woman spoke to you, what words and tone she used. Trust your gut. Trust Alison. Walk away.
    Oh, and when she calls back to ask why you canceled, you do NOT have to take that call.
    You don’t even have to listen to the voicemail.
    In fact, don’t listen to the voicemail.

    1. Momma Bear*

      Or simply say that you decided not to proceed with this recruiter but thank them for their availability and tell them you are continuing to look for a FT job.

      1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        I feel what you are saying. OP doesn’t want to open a conversation that devolves into “can you believe this happened?” Call them, but be as brief/straightforward as possible.

  9. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

    I feel like there could be something more going on with Beth here (rather than just that she’s confused about the interview process and abuses the power dynamic etc), something going on in her own life or whatever, which doesn’t excuse this behaviour of course but could perhaps explain it.

    If I’m right in thinking that Beth isn’t the actual hiring manager of the job but is a HR or 3rd party recruiter that the actual hiring manager is using… I wouldn’t cancel the interview just based on this, especially if there isn’t a significant commitment/loss in still attending (e.g. losing a day’s wages as a contractor, as it sounds like OP maybe doesn’t have consistent work at the moment).

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      Except OP has spoken with Beth two times and has not been “interviewed” yet. OP has been berated, insulted, reprimanded…
      There is no reason to think that the next phone call will be anything more than a rehashing of all the ways OP failed Beth.
      And since OP is only pretty sure she won’t be working with Beth, it’s not worth it.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        Point taken… I will have to agree to disagree though as I think given the circumstances I would rather seek out more information (e.g. would OP be working with Beth directly? I presume no, as it sounds like she is a 3rd part recruiter; did she just catch Beth on a (very!) bad day? Does it mean anything that Beth still wanted to go on with the interview at the new time, rather than just say “you’ve blown it, you are out of the running” etc) … rather than pre-emptively rule out the opportunity with incomplete information.

        1. WellRed*

          But she caught Beth on more than one bad day. Also, Beth berated her for swearing when she overhead her? Beth should have not said anything.

        2. Not Me*

          ” Does it mean anything that Beth still wanted to go on with the interview at the new time, rather than just say “you’ve blown it, you are out of the running” etc) ”

          Yes, it means Beth is a jerk in addition to being unprofessional.

        3. Hey Karma, Over Here*

          I like the agree to disagree point. It’s totally a personal opinion. I could not deal with another phone call with someone who is that obnoxious. I don’t have the “disinterested” gene. My mom does. She would talk to the person like the situation is not through the looking glass and get on with her day. I would be reconstructing it for hours.
          “But I didn’t lie.”
          I don’t want that kind of BS in my life if I don’t have to have it.

          1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

            the “disinterested” gene

            That’s a great way to characterise it!

            I’m already thinking in terms of people I interact with who have this (hypothetical of course) ‘gene’, and those who don’t, and how I can better interact with them in future!

            Thank you for a (unintended) new way of structuring my interactions with people :-)

            1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

              You are welcome. It is something I practice, or at least make an effort to call upon many, many times.
              because 9 times out of 10 it REALLY isn’t about me!

      2. Not Me*

        And, any organization that feels Beth is a good representative to future employees clearly is not somewhere you want to work. Even if you aren’t working directly with her.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          Yeah, I totally get that.

          Most of my positions have been through ‘external recruiters’ and although I’ve had mixed experiences I can’t say I’ve come across anyone as abrasive as Beth, although there was one who came close! I’ve never really thought of them as a representative of the company, as such, although I suppose they are. It’s more like engaging any other 3rd party vendor in some ways – a bit of a crap shoot!. A lot of companies seem to have a “preferred supplier list” in relation to recruitment agencies/consultants, and I guess there are contracts and so on behind that.

          I suppose there are 3 possibilities and no real way (other than perhaps talking to the company directly) to find out which it is — either the company knows what Beth is like and feels like she is a good representative (or doesn’t care), or they don’t know that Beth is like this because no-one has given this feedback (is that likely?), or that it’s an unusual occurrence.

        2. Diahann Carroll*

          The company could have no idea she’s like this though since she’s an external recruiter – they’re not based at the client site.

          1. Not Me*

            Obviously, but if they don’t care enough to vet out this kind of bad behavior it’s most likely indicative of the atmosphere. It doesn’t sound like Beth had one bad moment, it sounds like a pattern of very unprofessional and rude behavior (or some strange animosity toward a random candidate).

            1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

              Maybe not literally ‘one’ bad moment, but I was thinking more perhaps that Beth isn’t normally like this but something has caused her to suddenly be like this… even if this is on multiple occasions (which I think were less than a week apart).

              Not defending her in any way, but just giving a hypothetical reason: ~8 years ago, I experienced a traumatic and life-changing situation that in any normal company would have resulted in a “take some time to deal with it”, even if it was unpaid, but the reality was that we had targets and deadlines and things would fall apart without me due to a lack of investment in cross-training rather than any spectacular skills on my part, so I kept coming in anyway even as I was unravelling, and I know I gave jerkish and short-tempered responses to people on all sorts of things (and was officially reprimanded on one occasion, trying to explain the circumstances didn’t cut it so I ended up with a permanent reprimand on my record which I now need to relay to potential employers in future..) but I kept my job until we were all laid off later… so maybe it was worth it, or maybe not.

              The point is you never know, especially right now, what’s going on in someone’s life.

              It doesn’t sound like Beth had one bad moment, it sounds like a pattern

              A pattern that took place over a max of a week, as I inferred it.

              1. Not Me*

                I understand that, I just don’t think this type of aggressive behavior is something people need to deal with at work. “Life is harder than normal right now” is not an excuse to berate someone and expect them to simply deal with it.

                If Beth had come back to LW and said “Wow, I’m sorry, I had a really bad day the other day. I’d still like you to interview for the role”. Or even, “we got off to a rough start, let’s start fresh if you don’t mind”. I’d feel differently, but that’s not what happened here.

            2. Diahann Carroll*

              How would they vet out this behavior if Beth isn’t giving job candidates the name of the company? Many people aren’t going to do the deep-dive OP did to try to suss out the company’s identity (and even if they did, they might guess wrong just like the OP may be wrong about what company this is). If they don’t know the company name, they can’t complain to someone in HR about the external recruiter’s behavior. The recruiter can tell HR anything about why they’ve failed to place someone in a position (e.g., the pay was too low, the candidate accepted another job offer, etc.) and the company would be none the wiser.

              1. Not Me*

                By interviewing who is doing the interviewing for them? Seriously, it’s not that difficult for a company to care enough about who is representing them to weed out this kind of behavior.

                My entire point was that if a company is hiring someone like this to represent them, they most likely aren’t a great company to work for. The hoops you guys are jumping through to insist the company can’t possibly be at fault is really odd.

        3. Momma Bear*

          I worked for an org that basically had to fire one recruiter due to continued botched recruiting/interviewing. Not that this is OP’s problem, but bad recruiting happens.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        The company would almost certainly have rules preventing them from hiring OP directly after contact with the recruiters.

  10. KWu*

    I initially read this as Amy and Beth were both external recruiters, with Amy reporting to Beth, hence why the end job would not be with Beth as Beth is not the hiring manager. Is that right?

    I feel like this has come up in the archives before but I can’t remember the advice–if Beth is in fact an external recruiter, does her behavior justify trying to go around her to the company that has the actual job? Provide feedback to them on how their hired recruiters are behaving? I was wondering if it might be more worthwhile since this is a niche industry, but perhaps wouldn’t benefit OP at all regardless.

    1. Bob*

      I was wondering this as well. If Beth is an external recruiter and the letter writer has identified the actual employer, why not reach out directly?

    2. LCH*

      ah, i misread the part about forwarding the resume. yeah, try to get around Beth since she is not a good recruiter at all.

    3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I think you’re right. It was heavily implied that they are external recruiters (OP said that she didn’t have much experience working with external recruiters, which suggests that this is who she is dealing with now, or that’s how I read it) … as I understand it, external recruiters are something like a 3rd party agency that a company engages in order to hire for their open position, whereas an internal recruiter is part of the company (usually part of HR) and only works on behalf of that company to fill their own vacancies.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        You understand it correctly. In my field (technical writing) and probably other tech fields, outside recruiters are a big part of the ecosphere. (In fact, recruiters who direct people to other recruiters are also part of the ecosphere. Everyone gets their nickel on the back of my labor.) Any job I hear about from one recruiter, I will usually hear about 4-5 times from a variety of recruiters, and it’s interesting to see how they handle the boilerplate job description from the client. Some copy/paste without reading, some delete parts, almost all don’t list the client and very few list the rate. (I always ask client and rate up-front and I don’t deal with recruiters who won’t give me this information. The range of rates offered is also interesting.)

    4. voluptuousfire*

      Chances are if the OP went around the external recruiter to apply, they’d likely be rejected since they would be considered the property of the agency. If they hired her without the agency’s help after she went around them, the agency could still get their fee since they technically introduced them. It would be part of the contract, I think.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Yes. But I do think in this case, going around the recruiter not to apply but to report the recruiter’s behavior would be justified.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          Only if they were sure they didn’t want the job, or weren’t bothered if they got the job or not.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          I think you have a point, assuming this job is as good as gone for OP. The company is probably paying Beth’s agency good money to find people to work for them, and is probably not understanding why there are no people to be found (since I cannot imagine how anyone can survive an interview with Beth).

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      That’s how I read it, but I’m now wondering, is Beth the head of that company or does she report to someone else? If Beth reports to someone else is it worth looping that person in to how their staff member acted?

  11. Richard Hershberger*

    There are various interactions that many people–often on both sides–treat as supplicants begging favors, when they really are business discussions seeking mutually beneficial relationships. I have a book project I have been shopping around to small publishers. I found one that was interested, but the contract they sent me was not one I am willing to sign. It was amateur hour legal draftsmanship, with a couple of substantive issues probably resulting from the amateurism, but upon reflection I’m not sure. It turned out the guy was unwilling to even discuss it. So that is that. And that is fine. This is a bullet dodged, and better sooner rather than later. I don’t think he was actually trying to pull a fast one on me about royalties, but I’m not sure. It seems more likely that his vision of the publisher-author relationship was one of gracious patron and deferential subordinate, and I wasn’t following the script. Either way, I’m not willing to go along with it.

  12. iceberry*

    If you think you might know what company this job would be for, does it hurt to reach out directly to inquire if they would be looking for someone with your skills in the near future?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You could, but at this point Beth “owns” the candidacy if there’s a typical recruitment contract in place, meaning that she still needs to be involved/get the commission. It’s *possible* the OP could argue against that based on how Beth handled this, but it would be something of a mess that you don’t have great standing to navigate when you’re an unknown candidate.

      1. periwinkle*

        Does Beth really own the candidate at this point? At this point her agency has not revealed the client name to the OP. All that’s happened is a screening interview and the Red Flag Parade of Doom. There’s no way the agency has presented the OP to the client as a candidate yet.

        Speaking as someone who used to work for an external recruiter, I would say the OP is free to apply directly to the client.

      2. fashionable_HR*

        Ownership of candidates by agencies only go into effect once the agency has submitted the candidate to the company. This does not appear to be the case- OP needed to speak with Amy’s boss Beth prior to submittal to said company. Since Amy never revealed the company name, nor was OP submitted to the company… I would say that the OP is perfectly within her rights to seek out the company she believes it is, and apply directly!

        1. Ally McBeal*

          I agree – it seems unlikely that Beth has forwarded OP’s resume to the company yet, so if OP thinks they know what company it is, then they should apply as if they’ve never heard of Beth.

        2. Yorick*

          Yeah, the consulting company typically has you sign an acknowledgement that you’re only applying through this company.

      3. Kevin Sours*

        Wouldn’t that largely be between the company and the recruiter? I mean would you turn down a decently looking candidate who bypassed a recruiter they had a bad experience with to contact you directly even if it meant you ultimately would need to pay off the recruiter on hire (presumably you would anyway for candidates they actually sent you)? Would the recruiter ultimately care about involvement in the process beyond getting a check?

    2. Threeve*

      I might set an alert to be notified if they post any jobs that they recruit directly for, but I wouldn’t reach out.

  13. samwys*

    I have had interviewers/bosses like this before. The job never winds up being worth it. Someone that scatterbrained + power-hungry + unwilling to admit their own mistakes BECAUSE they are scatterbrained and power-hungry? Bad combo.

    You deserve better. I know it’s hard to turn something down when you’ve been looking for a long time and finally get a bite, but you can expect this same attitude from her over every single little project.

  14. Still Here*

    If you are actually still interested in the job, and know who the actual employer is you might consider sending them an email. Explain that you are interested in the position, but that you refuse to work with their recruiter because of her rude demeanor.

  15. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    Just block her number. No need to give her an opportunity to berate you when you withdraw from consideration; consider this a justified ghosting.

  16. Archaeopteryx*

    It’s a red flag for a truly deranged person that she would even bring the idea of lying into this. It’s crazy enough to repeatedly ask for explanations of a simple error (and not acknowledge that her scattered conversation could’ve contributed to how easy it is to make that error) but that she would even think to accuse you of lying (about what part?) shows that she is truly paranoid. Flee.

    1. Miss Muffet*

      agree – lies are a pretty strong accusation. Typically in business relationships, you give people the benefit of the doubt to know they probably got mixed up or something — I can’t think of a time in my entire career where I thought someone was “lying” – let alone about something this innocuous. Such a strange thing to accuse an unknown person of doing.

    2. Marthooh*

      Yes! It’s bizarre that Beth would accuse the OP of lying here–what was she meant to be lying about? That she missed the appointment on purpose? What on earth?

      1. boo bot*

        Yes! It makes *no* sense, there’s not actually room for a lie to logically exist in this interaction. People who assume that mistakes are all secretly on purpose and explanations are all lies and excuses are not good people to work for. The OP is fortunate that Beth showed who she was so quickly, it’s a time-saver.

  17. learnedthehardway*

    Beth would be a NIGHTMARE to work for – do NOT do the interview. She’s scattered and disorganized, and then she blamed you for her inability to clearly communicate. Not only that, but she then refused to accept an apology for the mix up (even though it was at least half her fault). She also berated you for your – understandable frustration – even when you blamed yourself.

    Can you imagine what she would be like to work for? She’ll be straight up abusive.

    Tell the recruiter that you’re refusing the interview, and what your experience was like with the hiring manager. Tell the recruiter you’d love to hear about other opportunities, but that you wouldn’t touch this one with a ten foot pole.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Sorry – I thought Beth was the hiring manager. If she’s not, it might be worth calling the hiring company and letting them know about your experience.

  18. sofar*

    I’m also stuck on the idea that your references aren’t good enough. I’ve been a reference for a number of our freelancers. And I’ve hired multiple people who put freelance clients down as references. Freelance clients (assuming you worked with them for a decent amount of time) make GREAT references, b/c they can speak to your reliability and ability to meet deadlines. In fact, I always see rave reviews from a freelance client as a good thing, because freelancers have to do a lot to manage those relationships.

    In short, Beth is an idiot. But we all knew that.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      Right! Beth is saying your references aren’t good enough because they’re not from managers…but if you’re a freelancer, you are your own manager…and your best references would be your clients. Beth sounds out of touch with reality.

    2. WS*

      Freelance clients are particularly good references also because if they had a bad experience, they’ve got nothing to lose by saying so. They’re not hoping LW will move on from their company, they’re not trying to cover up their own bad hire, they’re not making room to promote their friend into LW’s position.

  19. animaniactoo*

    She also wouldn’t disclose the name or exact location of the the business, though I was able to research and confirm it independently given the wording of the job ad.

    Worth doing: Contact the company directly, let them know that was your experience with their recruiter and that while you are interested in the job, you have no interest in continuing through the recruiter based on that behavior. You understand if they don’t want to interview you directly, but you still want them to be aware that this is how their recruiter is acting.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        I’m not sure how effective that would be – unless a future job-seeker is looking to work at the recruiting agency itself (in which case Beth is more likely to be an irritating coworker rather than the hiring manager), it’s sort of irrelevant to GlassDoor that a recruiter sucks at her job… at least from my perspective.

        1. Not a Glassdoor fan*

          Exactly. This kind of “reviewer with an axe to grind punishing the wrong people” is why I don’t lend Glassdoor much credence.

    1. Ray Gillette*

      This is good advice. A friend of mine dropped out of the running for a position she was otherwise interested in after a similar experience with a recruiter. The company dropped the recruiter immediately and she ended up taking the job. Even if OP doesn’t end up pursuing the job further for whatever reason, it will still be valuable feedback for the company who likely has no idea how Beth is treating their candidates.

    2. BonzaSonza*

      I also agree.

      OP this is excellent advice and I would do this myself if I were in your situation.

      The suggested script removes any expectations or pressure from the employer who may be totally unaware that this has been your experience.

  20. AguyinVA*

    ” She also wouldn’t disclose the name or exact location of the business, though I was able to research and confirm it independently given the wording of the job ad.” I have a problem with this. These people sound fishy to start with. Block the numbers and forget about it, although I would remember the name of the company the recruiters worked for so you can avoid them in the future.

    1. EPLawyer*

      I wonder if there really is a job, given Beth’s bizarre behavior. Like its an external recruiter trying to get resumes “on file” so they can present themselves to companies as having tons of qualified people on tap.

      1. voluptuousfire*

        There likely is. Usually the agencies get you by saying they have x jobs available and when you end up talking to them, they’re either filled or they just don’t mention them. That’s been my experience anyway.

    2. 2 Cents*

      I think it can be typical with external recruiters not to disclose because they don’t want you independently finding the job and applying because then they don’t make a commission.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, but this is a really shady practice. How can you interview well if you don’t know anything about the company that’s hiring? I’ve never seen a job ad, not even one posted on a recruiter’s website, that wouldn’t say who the actual employer is. For all I know, this practice might even be illegal here.

        1. londonedit*

          In my industry there are a couple of well-known recruitment agencies, and they never give the name of the company in their job adverts. They’ll just say ‘Our client is a leading independent producer of chocolate teapots and is looking for an experienced Senior Teapot Painter to join a small team based in central London’ or whatever. When you contact the agency about the job, they ask you to send in your CV and any other details about your experience, and if they think you might be a good candidate, then they give you more info about which company it is and the role itself, and you say whether you’d like them to send your details to the hiring company (at that point the recruiter will probably ask you to write up a full cover letter or other application materials to go along with your CV). A lot of the time, because there aren’t all that many companies out there, you can work out which one it is, but the recruiter doesn’t want people bypassing them and applying directly (because they’re on commission) and the company doesn’t want people bypassing the recruiter and applying directly (because they’ve hired a recruiter for a reason).

          1. allathian*

            Sounds reasonable. I may have been mistaken in my earlier post, it’s just that for the last 20 years I’ve worked for the public sector and the rules there are somewhat different. The qualifications for many jobs are stringent enough that it’s exceptional indeed for a position to get more than 15-50 applications. Sometimes HR does the first screening, but it’s mandatory to post the hiring manager’s name and contact information on the ad. First phone screens are often initiated by the candidates, sometimes even before they’ve sent in their application.

  21. Daria Morgendorffer*

    Cancel the interview and don’t look back (other than to use it is funny/bizarre job hunting stories for friends etc). I agree with the point further up as well. Interviews are an opportunity to work whether you want the job and want to work for the company. If you are treated badly during the interview/on boarding process, it rarely gets better when you actually work there.

  22. Lady Heather*

    Call your references and tell them they won’t be necessary (at this time) as you wouldn’t like to work there.

    Beth sounds sufficiently misguided/lacking in judgement to call your references and complain about you.
    She may not – but you don’t want to risk that being the only thing your references hear.

  23. EPLawyer*

    Dodged a HUGE bullet.

    there are so many red flags it’s a freaking May Day Parade going right past your eyes.

    1. Recruiter doesn’t tell you the name of the company? WHY? You are supposed to research so you can ask intelligent questions.
    2. Beth calls you and then acts like it is an imposition at the end of the day. Hey, don’t call then.
    3. Beth gives several times because she is apparently incapable of looking at a calendar and seeing when she is available, or doesn’t keep her calendar up to date.
    4. When you mess up the time (it happens don’t beat yourself up over it), she calls you a liar to cover her own disorganization.
    5. She then proceeds to lecture YOU on how to behave and how to fix it.
    6. She is disorganized AGAIN about setting a time. This is a person who will always be disorganized to deal with, then blame you for not keeping her orders straight.
    7. She calls you back to yell at you for cursing. If cursing was a deal breaker, you just … don’t continue with the candidate. Also, I would have said exactly the same thing you did in the circumstances.
    8. The company allows this person to act like this with job candidates when everyone is on the best behavior. What do they allow after you no longer working there.

    Move on. Keep applying for jobs. Check around this site for info on applying and cover letters. So many many many people follow Alison’s advice aand are able to find good jobs — even in a pandemic.

    1. Me*

      8. The company allows this person to act like this with job candidates when everyone is on the best behavior. What do they allow after you no longer working there.

      This is not necessarily true. The company may very well have no idea how their external recruiter is behaving.

    2. Ally McBeal*

      1 is pretty normal for first-round screenings. In my experience, you find out what company you’ll be interviewing with after you pass muster with the recruiter.

  24. sigh*

    OP I’m sorry you are going through this. All I can think throughout your letter…. if things did go smoothly, if you did get the job offer, would you really want to work for a company/ boss like Beth? You’re not even working there and she is giving you a hard time over a simple misunderstanding. Imagine what would happen if there was a miscommunication in the course of business! Honestly, I think you dodged a bullet.

  25. AnonNurse*

    There are just not enough words for how WRONG Beth was in this situation. She was rude on so many levels and you did not deserve any of that. Humans make simple mistakes. Yes it sucks when you’re looking for a job but things happen! Lift your head high and walk away from this recruiter knowing that you were not the one that was rude or wrong here.

  26. 2 Cents*

    I didn’t realize Beth was ALSO a part of the external recruitment team. If anything, I’d shoot Amy an email detailing what you have here. Also, OP, this is not your fault. This person sounds ill suited for interactions with humans.

  27. Ali*

    Beth has major, major issues and you were the punching bag with a big target on it. Yikes. I’d be inclined to inform the employer of their recruiter but I’m petty like that …

  28. kittymommy*

    Beth sounds like a …. unpleasant person. Let’s go with that instead of another word I was thinking. If she is truly the external recruiter I’d try to get in contact with the company directly.

  29. Portabella*

    OP, please cancel and don’t feel bad about it. Beth was incredibly rude and disrespectful. It’s one thing to be annoyed that a candidate got the wrong time, but it’s another to accuse them of lying! Let this one go.

    I had a similar experience when I was younger – I was about 20 and looking for my first full-time job. I was invited to an interview for an admin assistant position at a local college. I arrived early to make sure I got there right on time. The hiring manager was almost a half hour late, and while I was waiting on her, I kept getting a horrible feeling in my stomach that I should just walk away right then, but I thought that would be way too rude. So I get into the interview, and she starts it by saying that if I feel at any point this job is not for me, let her know – so we don’t waste each other’s time. Then she spends most of the time telling me how she’s “no nonsense”, “straight shooter”, etc. (all the things Beth said!), and then tells me what the job would entail. I had already decided I didn’t want the job, so I said, “After discussing the job, I don’t think I”m suited for it, but thank you for your time.” Then she FLIPPED OUT on me for saying that – even after she told me not to waste her time! She told me I should NEVER tell an interviewer I didn’t want the job (???) and that I should beg for the job even if I wasn’t going to ultimately accept it. She called me stupid and young and then insulted me about some other stuff. Finally she “let me go” and told me she wasn’t being mean, she was just “coaching” me on how to interview well. I dashed out of there and cried in my car. I wish I had been told back then that it was okay to walk out of “interviews” like that.

    1. irene adler*

      Jumping Jack Flash!
      Sounds like they were hurting for candidates. It no wonder as to why.

      If there is one thing I would impart to others, it is that politeness, professional demeanor is a two-way street. Sure you are polite and professional. The other party must be as well. If not, it is okay to walk away. Don’t take abuse from others.

    2. EvilQueenRegina*

      Especially in this case where Beth had given so many different times that it’s no wonder OP got confused about the time!

    1. Garnet, Crystal Gem*

      THIS. And honestly bad at the research and outreach part as well.

      I spoke with a recruiter today who contacted me via LinkedIn and it quickly became pretty evident during our call that he didn’t closely review my profile…at all. It made things pretty awkward, well, for him anyway.

  30. What's in a name?*

    I sure hope LW got the advice in time to not do the next interview. If not, I am curious for an update.

  31. Former Staffing Agency Worker Bee*

    I worked for a former staffing firm, and most operate on low base salary plus commission, and the recruiters do have quotas that are set by management. It is at their discretion what they believe your quota should be based on tenure, level of experience, etc.

    That being said, my best guess is 1. she’s desperate to make her quota and taking it out on you, or 2. she’s got a bad attitude/work performance, and they’ve given her impossible quotas to attain in order to justify pushing her out.

    It may be neither, but I’ve seen this scenario often. In any case, I agree with the other posters here and cut your losses with the recruiter, and try to get an interview with the actual client if you can suss out who it may be.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      That would explain why, despite chaotic scheduling, berating the OP, calling her a liar, and rejecting her references Beth still set up an interview. I mean, if this woman truly believes that OP was a liar and unqualified, it wouldn’t make any sense to set up an interview…unless it’s just to fill a quota. Glassdoor this recruiter if you have any info about the company. The company may not take note, but other applicants should.

  32. CupcakeCounter*

    Do Beth and Amy work for the company or are they an external recruiting firm?
    If they are external, I know there is a rule about not applying directly to the company if you started working through an external recruiter but would that be a moot point in this scenario based on Beth’s behavior and the fact that it is possible the hiring company have never heard of OP at this point?

  33. staceyizme*

    She sounds unhinged, frankly. She can’t get her own story straight before offering you a time? But you’re lying about the impact of that chaos? She doesn’t sound like she knows what she wants or how to interview. Her behavior is deeply offensive, deeply dysfunctional and would be intolerable in the office. I’d pass on her offer to interview any more and keep job hunting.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      When people make an accusation, and you know you are NOT doing that, OP, it’s safe to assume the accuser is probably doing that very thing.

  34. SomebodyElse*

    For me my decision to go to the interview would hinge on a couple of things. First, do I feel like putting in time and effort. Second, do I feel snarky.

    If the answer was yes to either of those questions, I probably would go the interview. I would not, however, prostrate myself to Beth over a mistake. I would most likely be pretty blunt in the fact that she probably needs me more than I need her. Sure she might be the gate keeper to the interview with the company, but I probably would have already written off that possibility in my own head. (hence the two questions above). She needs candidates to get paid, and she needs quality candidates to keep her job.

    At this point OP you have nothing to lose but a few hours of your time. But if you do go to the interview, don’t go into thinking that she has all the cards, she may have a few more than you do, but if you view it as a long shot that you have already written off she doesn’t even have that.

  35. SaffyTaffy*

    I once went on a date with a man who said, at one point, “when did you break your nose?” (I never did) and “you have a c***y smile, you should work on that.” He also said “I’m so impressed with you, you’re one in a million- brilliant and cute and sexy.”
    The night after the date, he emailed me to say “you obviously don’t understand dating or how to present yourself well. You were rude, dismissive, challenging, and a boor. You need to GET A GRIP! TODAY!”
    Then he told me our 2nd date would be the next night. (We didn’t have a 2nd date)

    Now, does this sound familiar to you? Does it sound like I did anything wrong? Even if I did something wrong, does it sound like I deserved those insults? If I wanted to get involved in a partnership with that person, would it seem like a good decision?

        1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          or cocaine. yikes. I wonder what he remembered of the first date when he finally crashed… “GET A GRIP! TODAY!”

          1. SaffyTaffy*

            ooo, I hadn’t even thought of that! Is that how cocaine makes people behave? Yucko. Does it FEEL good to be like that?

    1. nonegiven*

      >Does it sound like I did anything wrong?

      You didn’t excuse yourself to go to the restroom and sneak out the back way.

  36. Elizabeth West*

    Nope, nope, nope-ity nope nope. I would not waste my time interviewing for this company, which fortunately you managed to ascertain the name of so you can avoid it in future.
    You don’t want to work for this person. I guarantee you every day would be like her phone call.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      She wouldn’t be working ‘for’ Beth, though, as I understand it. Beth is a recruiter who works on behalf of that company and presumably numerous other companies to find candidates for their vacancies, and does the preliminary interview.

      I’d completely agree with your comment if Beth were the hiring manager though!

  37. annoyed*

    I had a video interview where in the middle of the interview I said I did not think the role was a good fit for me. It was a technical interview that was a bit over my head, but more so the interviewer was being rude and condescending. I did not want to work with man in any situation. He kinda spoke over me and I kind of finished the video interview, and I did not get the job. How do you respond when you do try to end the interview, and they want to continue?

    It was kind of like:
    Me: I don’t think this position is a good fit for me, let’s end the interview.
    Him: No its going fine, let’s continue.

    Should I have just said “no, we are done with this call” at that point? That seemed rude, but I also just didn’t want to continue interviewing at that point.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      If you were sure you wanted to end the interview, in your position I would have replied to him saying “no it’s fine, let’s continue” with something like “sorry, I should have been clearer [face saving move] – this position definitely isn’t a fit for me based on what we’ve talked about so far, so it doesn’t make sense for us to continue with the interview” etc.

    2. Nea*

      “I am not the candidate you are looking for. Thank you for your time.” And then hang up.

      Yes, I’ve ended interviews that way.

    3. Lisa Babs*

      Hi Annoyed. If you didn’t want to continue with the interview you could have said “thanks BUT this job is not a good fit for ME. So I’m going to end the interview to not waste either of our time” and then close the interview screen. It’s a little more polite than just saying we are done.. but it is in fact saying we are done and mentioning the fact that interviewing is a two way street.

    4. CatCat*

      “How do you respond when you do try to end the interview, and they want to continue?”

      “No thank you, I’ve determined it will be a bad fit for me. I appreciate your time though and best of luck with the recruitment.” If they persist, *they’re the one being rude.* And at that point, it is certainly appropriate to hang up if it’s remote or get up and leave if it’s in person.

    5. SomebodyElse*

      Me: I don’t think this position is a good fit for me, let’s end the interview.
      Him: No its going fine, let’s continue.
      Me: Gosh, I’m sure you must have more important things to do than continue. I appreciate you taking the time to speak to me about the position and wish you the best of luck finding the right candidate for the position.

      Now most people will get the hint at this point… but if they don’t.
      Me: Once again, I will not be putting myself forward in this process. It has been interesting to speak with you today and I’m sure you will find the right candidate. Thank you for your time and have a great day.

      Then hang up.

    6. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Unless you think that you might be interested in other postings by this company in the future, you could just say, “Thank you for your time. This was an insightful conversation but I’ve realized that I’m not interested in the job. Have a good afternoon.” end call. You don’t need his permission to decide it’s not a good fit for you.

    7. Jennifer Thneed*

      How do you get off the phone with someone who isn’t a recruiter? Same thing. Don’t let them override you.

      In this case, I would have said, “I really want to save both of us the time, so I’ll be going. Thank you for your time.” *And then you hang up.* You don’t need to wait for their permission.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      My motto is the less words the better.

      “I am withdrawing my application. Thank you for your time. Have a good rest of your day.”

      Flow is good to watch here, you want to move from sentence to sentence so that he does not have room to fit one word in edgewise. You land on saying “have a good rest of your day” and he has to backtrack to get to the part about withdrawing. So you can just repeat, “thanks for your time, have a good day.”

      See, when the other person is ignoring what you are saying, it’s fine to take control back over the conversation such as ending the conversation, i.e. you ignore what he is saying, just as he ignored you. Think of it this way, his response is NO WAY a logical response to what you just said about not being a good fit. Grab the conversation back by repeating your last words, “Thanks for your time, have a good day.”

      When logic has left the conversation, it’s fine to bow out.

    9. Not Australian*

      “I’m sorry, but at this point we’re just wasting each other’s time; I’ve got better things to do, and I’m sure you have, too.” Nasty, I know, but it worked for 19-year-old me.

  38. Properlike*

    It’s good you’re young, OP. Learn now to set those boundaries – especially if you’re female. It took me until my 40s and working in too many abusive environments to learn that it was never okay to be addressed like that in a professional setting. I’ve also found that, in matter-of-factly standing up for myself, I tend to get a lot less pushback from people used to running roughshod over other people. Not always, but enough.

  39. OP*

    Hey, this is the OP.

    I did cancel the interview in the end because of a few qualms with the job that the phone call incident cemented. I think I was so thrown and feeling already apologetic that I let Beth get in my head more than she should have and was quite rattled at first. Adding into the unstable financial and employment stress brain I have going on I think I gave in too much to her unreasonable behaviour. I’ve continued to apply and interview elsewhere and this has been the only significant blip on the radar. Also thanks to everyone for the assurance that freelance clients are OK to use as references. This has been the first time that someone has raised that as an issue to me so I wondered if I was missing a professional norm there.

    By the way, Beth’s response to me cancelling my interview was the thumbs-up emoji so no further blow up there.

    1. SomebodyElse*

      She sounds bat shit crazy… good riddance. Good luck in your job search!

      At least you got a funny story out of it when comparing job search horror stories :)

    2. tiny cactus*

      Beth sounds like a couple of people I’ve worked with before, who are just kind of prickly and aggressive by default and tend to assume the other person is always wrong about everything. She was probably going to act like this no matter what you did, so cutting your losses seems like the right move. Beths are exhausting to deal with, particularly if you’re a bit of a people-pleaser by nature.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Sometimes allowing ourselves to go through this type of stuff can be the actual thing that eats at us the most. Yes, the person’s words echo in our heads but that is not the real problem. The real problem is learning to have the presence of mind pull ourselves out of these situations.

    4. Van Wilder*

      Since you identified the company, can you apply directly? I would usually say it’s unethical to cut out the recruiter who alerted you to the job but, in this case, Beth has forfeited her right to professional norms and courtesy.

  40. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Oh she seems fun. I want someone to try to chastise me for swearing. I’d laugh at them and hang up at that point.

    Don’t put yourself through more of this crap. Your partner shouldn’t be encouraging you to continue to be abused by some random stranger with a “maybe” job for you in the wings. She’s just one of those miserable people who likes to treat others poorly for whatever reason that may be. Walk away, friend. Walk away.

  41. Delta Delta*

    This sounds like OP made an honest mistake and Beth is unhinged. If someone told me they missed an appointment at 12 because they thought it was at 2, I’d think, “hm, that seems like a mistake, especially since there are 2 2’s involved.” And then I’d move on because I’m a normal human. Sorry about your experience, OP. Hopefully something better appears!

  42. Persephone Mulberry*

    Beth sounds like a real winner on a lot of levels, but the thing that got me the most is that she tasked the LW with texting *her* a meeting confirmation with the time and place. There’s managing up and there’s disorganized recruiters but that one really takes the cake.

  43. Georgina Fredrika*

    I thrice had weird interview interactions that this reminded me of (both abroad so maybe it was cultural).

    One time, the interviewer told me she was disappointed with my answers and wanted me to reflect on them and call back with better answers later. It felt really uncomfy and just like… why would I feel comfortable working with someone who takes my interview answers so personally?? If that’s your screening process, just screen me out!

    Another time, I was interviewing for a nanny position and the lady called me up after to personally berate me for not being fit to take care of kids (which was not accurate, as that had been my current job) and went on for several minutes before I just said thanks for your feedback, bye. the interview had been awkward b/c she hadn’t told me I would be meeting the child and having to interact in front of her (obvious in hindsight but I was young!) and there was a general language barrier between her and I.

    And then finally I had an interview where the guy didn’t hire me because there was no position available for someone with my background (which, ok, but why did you interview me, that was all on my resume?). So then I got a job offer – and he calls back a couple weeks later saying “oh there’s an opening” and I say sorry, I accepted another offer. He asks the job and I tell him, and he starts berating it and telling me what I should be doing if I want to accomplish X in my career! Ok, goodbye sir, thanks tons

    1. voluptuousfire*

      The latter interview sounds like one I had years ago. Long story short, I went to the guy’s office for an interview but he observed me through a window (his office was split up and had a large window like that in a recording studio)for about 20 minutes. He then decided I wasn’t worth his time and let me leave. I remember being so pissed that there really wasn’t a job. Looking back at it, he was probably some lecherous old dude who wanted to try to meet some cute chickies, and thankfully I wasn’t one of them!

  44. crejitad*

    Both Amy & Beth are with the same external recruiting firm? I wonder if Beth has experience with unreliable candidates & just unloaded on you for that reason — assuming you were another unreliable candidate.

    If it were me, I would cancel. If pressed for an explanation, offer that you had time to reflect on your last discussion & will not be working with someone who has given themselves license to berate candidates.

    That’s what I’d do if I didn’t desperately need a job.

  45. bluephone*

    “Beth asks again me why I didn’t show up, and I repeat that it was a mistake.”

    Oh god, I hate when people do that. You’d already explained that it was an honest mistake (and you had enough class and discretion to not point out that she partly caused the mistake by constantly changing the proposed times), she doesn’t need to keep harping on it. But she does because she’s a psycho*

    *Maybe she’s not but I used to work for someone who was like this–demanding, over and over, supplication disguised as explanations for mistakes. Ugh, no thank you.

  46. Momma Bear*

    Women in particular are often raised to be polite and nice and taught that being assertive is being rude. It takes time to unlearn that and to give yourself permission to say firmly, “No, this is not good for me” regardless of the other person’s desires or reaction. If you ever hear from Beth again, be direct and firm that you no longer want to work with her. She needs you for her job. You do not *need* her to find a job.

  47. Nanani*

    OP, you do not want to work for Beth. That behaviour will only get worse when she is your actual boss!

    Plus, not understanding that someone who mostly works freelance doesn’t HAVE managers and insisting that you somehow produce them is …not encouraging. If she’s never encountered a freelancer before, it’s on her to learn how that works, not on you to magically create managers.

    Have a laugh about that weirdness with your partner and your clients, who are probably relieved you still have time for them since you aren’t working for Beth.

  48. CollieO'Brien*

    I’ve got full on PTSD from reading your submission, OP.
    This is one to run away from, and FAST.

  49. Laura*

    I’m assuming this is a company the hiring company has hired. A lot of them like to play odd power games in my experience. I’ve made it clear I was on my lunch hour and been kept waiting for 20-40 minutes past the time. I had one that was a former classmate that claimed he couldn’t remember me but kept calling me by my nickname.
    Two words of advice
    1. Ask the recruiter to email the details to you. Nice to have everything in one place and can help if the time mix up isn’t in your end.
    2. Protect your references and data as long as possible. I saw one while casually looking and gave them a coworker’s name. They called him before lunch the same day, used my name and tried to bring him in for an interview. Another wanted my banking information so that there would be no hold ups processing my check before I went on an interview. Well known respected company. No, when id theft is so common I don’t want to expose my data or my references’ data before needed.

    1. The Polar Opposite*

      >Another wanted my banking information so that there would be no
      >hold ups processing my check before I went on an interview.

      What? Did you send a check to a headhunting firm? That is a major red flag; no reputable recruiter charges candidates for using her services. A recruiter’s client is the hiring company, and that’s how she gets compensated.

      1. Laura*

        They also have a side that is a temp agency. Of course the role I applied was a temporary job. Or how those organizations post jobs descriptions to gather resumes.

  50. AdAgencyChick*

    Evil me would not only cancel the interview, but also see if I could apply to the job through the company’s internal channels, since you figured out who it was.

  51. Why isn't it Friday?*

    “She tells me she overheard me and berates me for swearing, then tells me that my references won’t be sufficient as they aren’t all managers.”

    I agree with Alison and all the other commenters that OP should cancel the interview. But I also wanted to point out how DEEPLY weird this line was. What are you, a child? OP can swear all they want, in their own home, while talking to their partner. This was a huge red flag as to how off Beth’s boundaries are and her misunderstanding of her own role.

  52. Epsilon Delta*

    What the actual what? That is a strangely hostile reaction on the interviewer’s part and this sounds like a dumpster fire. Run far, run fast.

  53. Dread Pirate*

    I would also submit this “interview” experience to Beth’s employer’s Glassdoor to warn future job-seekers and potential clients of what they could be dealing with.

  54. Esmeralda*

    Yep, it’s an INTERview. INTER = between, reciprocal, mutally. You’re getting a look at each other. (That was advice I got decades ago from my dissertation director, bless him.)

    She didn’t like your behavior? You got a chance to evaluate hers. And lemme tell you, yours was fine (you made a mistake, you apologized, you rescheduled) and hers was not.

  55. hayling*

    Is it also a red flag that even on the initial call that Amy wouldn’t tell you the name of the company? That seems weird to me.

  56. Jean*

    WHYYYY is corporate recruiting such a minefield of weirdness? Literally everyone I know who works in a corporate type job has at least one “insane recruiter” encounter story.

    1. pretzelgirl*

      Yes, I spent a number of my younger years applying thru recruiting companies. It was either a waste of time or TERRIBLE experience. I even worked for one for a week. I was hired right out of college and worked there for a week. I was screamed at (yes literally) on my 2nd day for not picking up the duties of the job correctly. I was told to wear a suit, when the men in the office got to wear polos and fired for asking to leave 10 min early for a doc appt. It was horrendous.

  57. The Other Victoria*

    The part where she immediately launched into not wanting to talk to you for very long because of decisions she made brought back painful memories of being maliciously mis-evaluated* at research contest in grad school because the judge was tired of listening to presentations. RUN!

    *As in she disqualified me saying I was not at my poster (I never left my poster) after snapping at me not to talk to her because she’d listened to many presentations.

  58. Stormy Weather*

    “After much consideration, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy. Thank you for your time.”

    You don’t need to say anything else to Beth. She is waving red flags from each hand.

  59. Arvolin*

    One detail caught my attention – Beth asking OP to text interview confirmation. If OP had texted what was on her calendar, then Beth paid no attention to it. In any case, it’s weird. I would have expected Beth to send out any confirmation message.

  60. MissDisplaced*

    Don’t go to this interview. Think: If she’s THIS level of gaslighting crazy now, imagine what it would be like to work with her?

    And don’t beat yourself up over the mistake on the interview time. Sure, it wasn’t great, and you should’ve confirmed the day and time by email or text, but it was an honest mistake. Lordy, but this lady sounds like a high strung nightmare!

  61. Cats and dogs*

    I’m not familiar with the recruiting world but shouldn’t OP contact the company directly to try to get an interview there? Or is it always the case they will require an applicant to go through the recruiter? Or can OP contact HR at the company and say Beth seemed to be having a bad day and you’d like to submit your resume to the company directly?

  62. RJ*

    I’ve dealt with a lot of recruiters in the last nine months that I’ve been unemployed. Cancel the interview and thank your lucky stars that you were able to see what a nightmare the agency was before you dealt with them further. Beth is unprofessional AF.

  63. CoveredInBees*

    I’m sorry. That sounds awful. I got yelled at during an interview because the interviewer misread my resume. It can be so unexpected and even disorienting. I really needed a job and was, quite frankly, confused by the yelling so I just tried to be diplomatic and offered her a “correct” copy of my resume which was the same one she had. When she realized that she’d misread it, she just got more mad and was hostile for the rest of the interview.

    Perhaps OP’s interviewer made the mistake and reacted similarly?

  64. Beatrice*

    I had an experience like this when I interviewed at a company near me that has hired several of my former coworkers. I thought the one experience was just a fluke or I caught their recruiter on a bad day, so I applied and interviewed for another job there two years later. I had another bad experience. I’ve written them off now.

  65. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    I once screwed up an interview by arriving spot on time, the day BEFORE it was scheduled. The interviewer was incredibly gracious and saw me anyway. I felt stupid as hell, gave a crummy interview, and of course I never heard from them again. (As a mitigating factor, I’d been rear-ended a few days earlier and was still shaken up and in total denial about being injured). Lesson learned: I was very careful about confirming interview appointments after that. Mix-ups happen. They’re no cause for someone to sharpen their fangs on you.

    Some people are just jerks when they are in the interviewer role. Once a hiring manager offered me several days and times that she said she had available , and when I selected one, she demanded unpleasantly, “Why did you pick that time?” as if I were inconveniencing her to the max. Well, duh, lady, it’s one of the times you said you had open and it’s the best time for me. Isn’t that how it works? I went ahead with the interview and she was as unpleasant in person as she had been over the phone.

    It’s a tough time right now, but leave this one in your dust.

  66. pretzelgirl*

    Personally if it were me, I would contact the company you were going to work for and tell tem about Beth’s erratic behavior.

    Also sometimes companies both employ a recruiting company but still have the job posted on their own website. Apply thru that company. I know external recruiting companies can be helpful to some, but I have only ever had TERRIBLE experiences with them.

  67. Kat in VA*

    I had an internal recruiter screw up and then try to blame me, then flake out a few more times like that was normal business behavior. It didn’t get much better after that.

    Applied for a job, got an email with some suggested dates/times for a phone call…I offered a few of my available dates and times and then…well, silence.

    Being as I was already employed at the time, I didn’t give it any thought.

    Until I got a rather tart email from the recruiter asking why I’d missed our initial call on This Date And Time. I politely wrote back that I hadn’t received a response to my selections and figured that she was very busy (honestly, I’d forgotten by that point). She insisted in her reply that she’d sent me a calendar invite and clearly I’d missed it.

    Uh, no. I’m an EA. I LIVE AND DIE by calendar management. I know to check Junk and Other folders when dealing with an external email source. Also, it’s good practice to make sure someone has accepted your invite in the first place? All righty then.

    So we set up another date and time. She misses that call and lets me know by emailing less than ten minutes before we’re supposed to actually get on the phone, citing a last minute meeting she had to attend.

    We set a third date/time, which happens to coincide with my commute home. I drove the entire 70+ minute drive with my earbuds in, expecting her to call. No call, no email that day either. I mentally wash my hands of the whole thing.

    Two or three days afterward, I get another “I was in a meeting and missed our call, let’s set up another date and time…” email. Not even the mildest of apologies – at which point I politely withdrew from consideration. The org was a startup, and I get that folks wear many hats in startups and balls can get dropped…but the best part was they were literally a few floors down from my current company and I could have just popped in on my lunchtime (which was a fact I made know to the recruiter).

    I do hope they found an EA because clearly they were in need of organization.

  68. I Love Llamas*

    LW#2 – Cleaning out the predecessor’s junk — do you have a Facilities person or office admin who coordinates the reassignment of work areas? If so, that person needs to be notified that there is an issue with your new work space. Typically it is that person’s job to have your work area cleaned up and ready to go for you. They would be the right person to push your predecessor out or be the one to pack up the remaining items. If you are working for a larger organization, that person should be experienced in dislodging pack rats and can be a great resource for you. Good luck in your new role!

  69. Hank Stevens*

    I have to say, this recruiter is so bizarre that if the OP is in a good place with Alison’s suggestions and it’s not a major inconvenience, I would go to the in-person interview just to see how it plays out! I wouldn’t hesitate to cut the interview short if the weirdness continues, but maybe the person was having a bad day also.

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