Virginia based agency O’Keefe & Co was mildly interesting last week when they invited Buzz Aldrin to their eleventh anniversary celebration, but they got really interesting when a reader e-mailed me to tell me about her interview from hell there.
I love hearing about people’s experiences interviewing at agencies because, while there is a standard for how they go, there are huge extremes out there.
Anything, it seems, can happen.
In the case of the reader in question, she was contacted by a recruiter to work at O’Keefe and was told that it was a fun, creative shop with great people and that, with her qualifications the interview would be more of a chemistry check than anything else.
So she was confident, and felt good walking down the old cobblestone street and into O’Keefe’s offices in a narrow, traditional rowhouse.
Then all hell broke loose.
The interview began with an intern which, if it was not bad enough that the intern was interviewing her, the intern opened by…denigrating her (excellent) college, saying that he hadn’t even bothered to apply there. After fifteen minutes of the intern talking about how great the college he did go to was – as if that mattered to her because she was, you know, actually employed – the intern asked a bunch of inane questions before leaving.
A disastrous start.
The HR woman was supposed to speak with our dear reader next, but hadn’t bothered to come into the office. So our dear reader just sat around for an hour…which might have been a good thing so she could get her composure.
The next interviewer looked at her resume, saw that she had said that she had lived abroad and said “right, so I don’t mean that you got off a plane and touched down in [the foreign country], did you actually stay there for an extended amount of time?” Yes, she said, over five years. It’s written on the resume. “Oh, he said, well do you even know who Donald Rumsfeld is?” She replied that she did and began looking for an emergency exit.
Then they made her take two writing tests…despite relatively senior credentials and the assurance that it was a chemistry check.
She passed the writing tests, which was nice.
Then she got blown off my Mr O’Keefe even though she flew from New York on this day specifically so he could spend some time with her.
The she got another quiz by a “fat douchebag” who, after reviewing her answers, chided her for not getting them all right. At this point, she was ready to massacre everyone there (and would have taken out Buzz Aldrin if he were there) when the guy said that they didn’t think of themselves as a creative shop, but one that was all about results.
I guess that is what happens when you are a PR firm for government lobbyists, you care only about getting vanilla-bland apparatchiks to do what you want them to…creativity isn’t a consideration.
They finally let her go.
She really let them have it by not sending a thank you note…which wasn’t revenge enough until now, when she e-mailed this blog about her bad experience there and let everyone see that they are all douchebags.
Small consolation, but hopefully worth it.