professional work

The most ridiculous job interview I ever had.

A hot (45 degrees Celsious), September, Thursday afternoon somewhere in Nicosia, Cyprus.

I’m at the offices of a huge commercial organisation to have an interview for their digital sales executive position, a job I didn’t apply for. But I’m here so I can get some experience in job interviews in Cyprus, speaking in Greek. I never had a job interview in Greek for a professional role and I’m feeling a bit nervous.

How did I end up here?

I had applied for a simple office admin job at a radio station which is part of the same organisation but that position had been filled and the woman I sent my application to gave me a call to inform me that though they had already hired someone for that job, she forwarded my CV to another department for a position they had available. A day later I received a call from another lady to set up an interview. She just told me the title of the job I’d be interviewing for, Digital Sales Executive, and we arranged date and time.

I knew nothing else. She didn’t give me any details and there was no job description on their website, only a couple of lines and by looking at those, I wasn’t sure why I was invited for an interview. Here’s the translated ad (and the original ad underneath it):

The x organisation are looking for a full-time digital sales executive, someone with a pleasant personality and a degree in Marketing, Communication, Mass Media, PR or other relevant fields (I do have a pleasant personality, if I say so myself, no idea how they would know that though, but I have no degree in any of those fields, only a Google digital marketing certificate anyone could obtain online).

Experience required in:

Back Office (organisation)

Digital Marketing

Sales

(I have no experience in any. I worked in an office in the UK but I’m not quite sure what back office entails.)

After a 20 minute wait (I had a chat about anything and everything with the receptionist, she was really sweet), I met my interviewer, a 34 year old man, who by the end of the interview I’m not sure if I was angry with or felt sorry for.

So why was the most ridiculous interview ever? Well, maybe it wouldn’t be if you lived in Cyprus I guess, but for someone who only had interviews in the UK, I’ve never experienced anything like it.

  1. Too many and too personal questions. Not only I was asked how I old I was, whether I was married/single/had children but also WHY I was single. Why would an employer should know why I’m not seeing anyone? I politely explained to him that I had no need to be with someone to be happy, I was happy on my own. I wish I had told him that it was none of his business instead.
  2. He clearly had not read my CV. He wasn’t aware of most of the information that was on my resume. He had no idea I spent last year in Italy teaching English or that I worked as a data analyst for years, or that I had a range of different qualifications, or even that I had a digital marketing certificate, the only relevant diploma to that job. These are just some examples of his ignorance.
  3. ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ Emm, hopefully not dead from Coronavirus, I should have said. I think this question is pointless anyway, but it’s usually ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ not 10 years. After he saw the shock on my face and me explicitly expressing it as the first words I managed to utter was ’10 years??? I honestly have no idea’, he followed up with ‘What about 5 years?’. I couldn’t but just be honest. ‘I’m honestly not sure, I just came back to Cyprus and I’m exploring my options, who knows where I’ll be in 5 years’. I couldn’t lie and pretend I imagined myself as a Digital Sales Executive, a job I only knew very few things about I found out myself through Google and during the interview.
  4. Arrogance. I’m all up for being confident and loving myself, I’m a huge advocate of that but I detest arrogance and boasting. Any opportunity he had, he demonstrated how amazing he was at his job, how he interviewed over 300 candidates just to find the right one (how on earth he found time to interview 300 people I have no idea, I suspect he might have exaggerated). He also claimed after I told him I’d be honest with him and was not really sure what I’d like to do next that he’d knew if I lied. He is THAT good, he can detect lies (ironically it seems I spotted his lies instead). When I asked him what the benefits of the job was, he just narrated his work history and of course how he was so talented at everything, that’s where he ended up where he is now.
  5. Pointless questions. ‘What salary would you be happy with ?’ I replied with asking the average salary for a digital sales executive, but apparently there isn’t one, maybe I should have asked for 2 grand a month. ‘Persuade me, do some sales, sell yourself, why should I hire you?’ How can I sell something I know little about, how can I try to convince someone who came across so arrogant and unprofessional to hire me for a job I didn’t apply for? I can’t really remember what I answered, I was just thinking how ridiculous the whole interview was and I couldn’t wait for it to end.

From what I understood he was going to ask me for a second interview but he wasn’t sure I really wanted to be a Digital Sales Executive and I’d stay in that job for long. The truth is I didn’t know whether I wanted to be one, but I knew if I worked for this man, we would argue all the time. I have 11 year long work experience. I’m a responsible professional adult. I wasn’t treated like one at the interview and I doubt I would have been if I had been hired.

I received no follow up phone call. It seems that they don’t let you know if you were successful after an interview in Cyprus. It happened on one more occasion since this interview. I personally find it incredibly rude, as in any other job I went for an interview I was notified either by phone or email of the outcome.

So here it is. That’s the most ridiculous job interview I ever had. I had a couple of interviews since and they were OK, with no awkwardness and silly questions, which reassured me that interviews like that won’t happen that often (I hope).

Did you have any similar experience? Any inappropriate or irrelevant questions you were asked, you’d like to share? I’d love to hear.

Eleni

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