Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Take a load off your mind

but just be careful where you dump it.

Interview Rule No 1: Don't mention .....

I know you were nervous and that you had three strangers intently hanging on your every word on the other side of the board room table,

BUT
at what point in the proceedings did you think you were going to do yourself any favours by telling us that a smidgen of Viagra (no less) in the water of your cut flowers (roses in particular, I believe) makes them last for a good two weeks longer than they would have otherwise, because it "keeps the stems sort of stiff",

BECAUSE
in case you had lost your mind for a brief moment, this was a formal job interview and no, it was not with a Florist, an Advertising Agency or the local pub,

AND
while I accept that in these competitive times you have to differentiate yourself and make yourself memorable,

THIS
was neither the time or place to share this little gem nor dig yourself into an even deeper hole by following this up with such a questionable joke.


Note: I really wanted to say this to the person who I (amongst others) interviewed for a job recently. He kept going off on the most inappropriate tangents. Perhaps it was nerves....
Nonetheless, I thought I would share his flower tip with you even though I found it hard to keep a straight face at the time he was telling us. Who knew? Apparently Viagra does wonders for your garden and your cut flowers (seriously, I looked it up just to see if he was serious or not). And unfortunately, while the joke he told was incredibly funny, I didn't think it would be very PC of me to be taking notes at the time of its telling, so I cannot recall the punchline.

Perhaps, it's a reminder for those seeking a job that you need to stand out for the right reasons as opposed the wrong reasons. Otherwise, you may face some stiff consequences. In this case, REJECTION.


Have you ever had a job interview where things have completely gone off the rails? Either through your doing or that of the person(s) interviewing you.

86 comments:

  1. Poor man. I would have laughed. Shema I dont know anyone who take little blue pills otherwise I woudl use them on my cut flowers if they work. Do they work on gardens as well do you know, lol?The same thing happens to me when I get nervous I just go off on tangents until the point I am totally inappropriate.Even when I sense on people's faces that they they are in shock I keep on going.I am sure I have done this in many interviews but no-one has the heart to tell me to my face. Except there was that one time I got asked a question and I didnt have a clue. So instead of making something up, I just said, I cannot answer that question and given how I have blown the interview can I leave now. They continued on and strangely I got the job. Sometimes you just can never tell.

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  2. Talk about screwing up at the most important time of a job application process. You got through the cover letter/resume process, but failed during the interview, which is normal because people sometimes don't fit. However failing like that guy is a dark joke. At the very least, there are some "interesting" people out there.

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  3. That is quite hilarious actually. I'm not sure whether I would have laughed or blushed. Hmmm... That's rather an expensive way to keep your roses potent, isn't it?

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  4. @ Kay - "a rather expensive way to keep your roses potent", he he he he. Maybe someone else can enlighten us on the costs of the little blue pill but I like my roses all natural Kay to be honest no matter how much they wilt. But that poor bloke had obviously been experimenting.....and it was just a bad, bad moment to talk about that stuff. Lets say that I kept a stiff upper lip, being the hardened consultant that I am, throughout the entire interview! lol

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  5. @ Quackster - on paper he looked good but when it came time for the interview I think he was just so incredibly nervous he babbled on and had no emotional intelligence to speak of. It was funny and sad and a waste of time all in one. I wonder what his conversation would be like in a casual setting with friends? Thanks for dropping by.

    @ Sarah - oh dear you poor thing. I am sure that even you would not have said something like this though. Surely???? I hate interviews and tend to rabbit on if I am not careful too. I tended to avoid interviews where possible and wait until someoen would offer me things instead. Gutless, I know.

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  6. Blue pills for plants? Isn't that like major waste?

    Ah, interviews! Hate them,.... Haven't done those in years,... but what I hated most was that dreaded 5 Year and 10 Year question,... really now! I could barely contain myself at times, just wanted to tell them... well in five years, I am going to have your job and in ten years I would own this joint, and y'all would work for me! How is that for a plan?

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  7. Hilarious!

    I did go for an interview where my knicker elastic went and I spent most of the time keeping my knickers up with one hand while trying to look completely normal...

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  8. @ WhiteSock Girl - he he it's a great plan. I don't think they ask thse questions anymore as no company really knows it if has a future past five years these days no mater what their strategic plan might say. Yes, they are dead boring - interviews. Personally I like doing personality tests instead. Its way more accurate. I am a little unsure what this canidates profile might have turned up though, bless him.

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  9. @ Lady Fi, oh my now that would have been hard to concentrate and even harder to stand up and shake their hands at the end of the interview! I was wearing a petticoat once and the elastic went in it and it fell to the ground while I was standing in the reception of our office. I was taking delivery of something from a courier at the time. I just stepped out of it and never looked down. He never said a word and left. But I am sure he laughed about it all day! It was humiliating and I couldn't tell anyone about it for months. I have never worn anything that has required a petticoat since.

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  10. I read somewhere that the decision to hire or not hire someone is usually made within the first five minutes of an interview. The article did not say whether the decision would be a good one.

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  11. Superb! Working in HR I've interviewed more times than I care to remember. One of the best was when the introductions were made at the beginning and an interviewee said 'Hello Mr Smith - I've heard a lot of things about you but I'm sure none of them are true'

    She didn't get the job...

    I've also had the 'funny handshake' on numerous occasions...

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  12. @ Butler and Bagman - you know it's so, so hard to employ the right person sometimes. I have made some bad decisions in the past that come back to haunt you. People can write well, bulls**t well at interview and seem like the PERFECT person for the job only to end up to be duds on the job. The first five minutes - interesting, I will have to watch out for that. I know male and female interviewers look at different qualities lets say.

    @ Mike - well I was about to say the same thing to you. Heard a lot of things about you Mike but I am sure none of them are true. Oh my, she got off on the wrong foot then. HR is one of THE hardest and most unappeciated jobs around as well you would know. No-one thanks you and you always get to deal with the problems that managers or the staff create. My hat is off to you!

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  13. Um that's sum spensive flower food Lucy!

    NO WAY! I laughed so hard at that! The things people say!!! Stopping by from SITS to say "hey"

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  14. Hi there, I'm stopping by from SITS to say hello! Your post is too funny....all I can think is what man would waste a viagra on flowers??? ;-) Have a great day!

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  15. Hilarious.

    I have not had that exact experience but once ...when I asked an interviewee ....what are you thinking? He actually said I was thinking about sleeping with you.

    I simply nodded and carried on but it did make me laugh later ..and NO he didn't get the job OR me.

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  16. Some people have poor judgement no matter where they are. He was probably nervous and misread the situtation. No, on second thoughts he was a tosser. I was interviewing someone once and got the giggles and could not stop. It was very unprofessional and embarassing all around. Sometimes when you start giggling you cannot stop and then everything becomes hilarious. Tragic.

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  17. Oh My LOL that would have cause me to slap my knee and laugh out loud right to him..bawhahaha

    (humm I wonder where I could get some for my flowers)

    I personally like to lead with a soft shoe number and dazzled them to the point of blindness with a big osmond smile!

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  18. the interview process must have evolved over the years... it used to seem so formal before. That viagra remark was way out of line, but you have to laugh...must've been a kid.

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  19. @ DiPaola Momma - thank for dropping by - that is some expensive flower food! Strangely he was only 30 as well - he must have been pinching it from his Dad maybe.

    @ Kathie - yes, something I can imagine women doing but not exactly men. Perhaps he had a bit of a flair for flower decorating...

    @ Sarah LuLu - OMG I thought my experience was bad but THAT TAKES THE CAKE. Bwaaahhhh! Now that would have put me off my interview questions permanently. I would have been tongue tied all interview. That is hilarious!!! And horrible at the same time. Unless he looked like George of course and yes, I am that shallow....unfortunately.... but honest with it.

    @ Darsden - mmm well I wouldnt have a clue either BUT what I would like to know is who is the first person that even thinks of using it for their plants. I hope no-one is putting it on our vegetables though!!!

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  20. @ Christine - oh no this interview was pretty formal - the kid in question was 30. He probably did not have any need for Viagra other than to nourish his flora I daresay.

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  21. Of course you should have hired him you know. What kind of selfless act is that? He put the longevity of the flowers before his own satisfaction. That's what he was trying to tell you in a round a bout way at interview lol. Selfless (or stupid, ok you win)

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  22. Every day I learn something, and now I know about Viagra in flowers!
    I once spent an interview desparately trying not to pass gas. Normally, I am good at interviews but on that day all I could think of was getting out of there. I didn't get the job, and I don't blame them for not hiring me as I'm sure it looked like I was not paying attention.
    Pearl

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  23. poor guy...I dont know what I would have said or done..but if its a fact, I might considered hiring him, it means he knows alot of shit AND my guess is, nerves got the best of him. with so few jobs people are probably not interviewing as well.

    for me personally, I've always interviewed very well, most times been hired,,BUT I always thought I did bad, i'm never nervous, I think I lack confidence because I tend to apply for jobs that require degrees and I dont have one. I go on my experience which has always gotten me great jobs.

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  24. Too bad the Viagra thing wasn't the only odd thing the person said. It could have been...oh, who am I kidding. You can't share that stuff in an interview. Must turn on internal mediator. Must. Otherwise...too bad, though. Still, great material for you.

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  25. I wish I had something to share. But I don't. However, I am laughing my ass off at your post! That is priceless! Thank you for always sharing your wisdom with us.

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  26. I used to work for a showbiz publication and interviewed a parade of wanna-be starlets for secretarial jobs. For some reason, they always thought Steven Speilberg and Frances Ford Coppola would be hanging around my office to "discover" them. (They were not.) They'd attach their 8X10 glossy head shots to the "resume" so I could "pass them on" to directors and producers. I always hired the first middle -aged woman who came in making a joke about all the little black dresses lined up in the lobby for an interview :-)

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  27. Wow. How inappropriate... content and timing. WTH? I don't know that I could have helped from laughing.

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  28. Luckily I haven´t had any bad experiences! :) But then again I have not held that many jobs.
    If I ever get a hold of Viagra, I´m going to try that out on my flowers though!

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  29. Although I hate to laugh at him I must. How totally inappropriate, but indeed funny.

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  30. Wait..you didn't employ him???

    :)

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  31. I know someone that called before an interview to ask what type of starbucks coffee the interviewer liked. He then, came in the next morning with donuts and coffee for everyone. I was a bit embarrassed for him because to me that smells "kiss a**".

    Viagra huh? Too funny!

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  32. Oh, there is no way I could have kept a straight face!

    I read somewhere that it's beneficial to employ people who are bit left of centre because they are the most creative and innovative. Makes sense I guess.

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  33. hmmm....where do I get Viagra now?!

    That man has to have been hyper-nervous to make a comment like that...I'm assuming he got hired?! ;)

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  34. I once interviewed for a job where the interviewer/potential boss said, "Tell me everything about yourself. I want to know about your parents, the dog you had a child, everything."

    So, (and this pisses me off every time I think of it), I did. It wasn't until the next day, when he called me to set up a follow up interview, that I had the brains to say, "No, thanks, this isn't a good fit."

    So, it's not only interviewees who don't know what is and isn't appropriate.

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  35. @ Banoffi - no in this case given the job description it was stupid.

    @ Pearl - yes Pearl, just come here for your education. It also works on any plants apparently. I just dont want viagra on my veges if they wouldnt mind.

    @ Dawnie - I can imagine you being the relaxed kind at interview too. Gald that experience has worked for you - sound slike you have had good employers.

    @ Stacy - yes internal mediator or just using your emotional intelligence. The comedic timing was all wrong..

    @ Sandi - your welcome!

    @ Joanna- oh I would like to hear your stories I tell you. You must write a book! It would be fascinating.

    @ Summer - well I did smirk I am sure but I was more shocked I think I have to say as it came out of left field.

    @ Betty - we just need people to start reclycling their unused pills - oh dear.

    @ Tabitha - yes you must, he probably saw the funny side himself I guess.

    @ Braj a- in the right environment he would have been great and I might have but it was not my call and the employment market is too risky as it is to take big chances, lol

    @ Chocolate Covered Daydreams - oh you are so right, that would have put me off altogether!! Oh that really is trying too hard!! Then again I know someone who took a chocolate cake to an interview too - and didnt get the job..

    @ Sami - yes it does make sense in the right fields but in this particular one discretion is important as you are mixing with lots of 'important' people that you need to keep onside.
    I guess they decided if he couldnt keep it together for an interview he maybe a little loose lipped in the normal working environment.

    @ The Blonde Duck - yeah I am sure he thought that too.

    @ Roshni - its alwasy funny after the event but we all so embarassing things at times. No, strangely he missed out.

    @ Jeanne - oh gosh is that not an invasion of privacy? Imagine working for them. Glad you opted out. Its hard to make a decision quickly about employment when you only have a short time together in the interview process. An you are so right it is a two way process. Its just a shame that given the economy most employers have the upper hand.

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  36. He definitely cut his own throat. I'd wonder why he wans't able to be more appropriate, nervous or not. Common sense should apply - and he wasn't using it, or hadn't brushed up on how to interview, which in itself says something.

    I had 8 interviews at my last job before they hired me. It was nerve wracking, but I eventually got offered the job - and loved it.

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  37. @ Peggy - lucky you. I have had some bad interviews in my time when nerves strike me.

    @ Loving Annie - Eight interviews? Wow, they really made you work for it. Glad after all that it worked out well for both parties.

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  38. Aspirin in flowers works equally well and is a LOT cheaper!

    I was on an interview panel once and the interviewee said he wouldn't do a particular task if requested because it was something the "reception girl" should do. Arrogant, much? Plus, our receptionist was male. He didn't get the job...

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  39. How on EARTH did you keep from laughing??? You are a stronger (read: more professional) woman than I...

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  40. I'm back to compliment you on your excellent painting...oh you are so talented Lilly. You take up a challenge like a duck takes to water.
    Cheers
    Peggy

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  41. Wow...you cetainley will remember him....maybe he was a Viagra rep? :)

    Ugh..the worst interview? The one where I did not do my research and know that the CEO shared my same last name.

    When quizzed about it I said, Really? I had no idea... it was an innocent remark but it killed any chance...

    Always do your homework...the deal (or the devil) is in the details.

    Peace - Rene

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  42. I have had some crazy interviews. In fact, my last one went totally where I had not planned. I walked away thinking I had just thrown the entire thing down the tube....1 week later...I got the job!

    **hugs** Think of you alot!

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  43. I told someone that is some situations "I turn beat red, hyperventilate and cry. But it doesn't happen often. And it's genetic. I blame my mother."

    Not my proudest moment, and I didn't get the job, but I did get a laugh out of everyone!! lol

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  44. wait. how does a thirty year old guy get viagra?

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  45. i suppose it was his way of telling you he had a prescription for Viagra??? ;) At least it wasn't potsivac.

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  46. One time I was interviewing someone for a job and I asked if she had kids. I later found out from HR that it's illegal to ask that. Oopsie!

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  47. Ah yes, just slightly off track there.... funny though!!!

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  48. @ Femina - aspirin works? I have never heard that one and it should is more accessible for me....

    @ Lilu - err no I get employed to be hard nosed, to keep a stiff upper lip and all that, lol - I couldnt laugh.

    @ Not the Rockerfellers - he he, good one a Viagra rep - these sales people will do aything to get a plug in for their products. Oh I am with you, I learnt the hard way about research too..ah well life is a lesson.

    @ Paris - it is like exams really, sometimes you never can tell how you have gone and it can be a surprise, either way. Thanks glad you stopped by and I think about whats happening to you too.

    @ Rhonda - you make me laugh out loud and you now that if I was interviewing you you would always get the job - you are honest, authentic, a great team player and a delight. Thats what you tell them the next time they ask you about yourself.

    @ Gran - he steals it form his fathr or grandfather, he has problems he didnt feel like sharing or as Rene said, he is a Viagra Rep, lol!

    @ EmmaP - mmm I dont quite know what he was telling us to be honest but it was all shades of wrong.....

    @ Debra - oh I know there are so many rules and regulations now you can barely ask anyone anything for fear of discimination. HR is a horrible job I think. You can never win, the management dislike you and so do the staff. People in those jobs must burn out quickly.

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  49. @ Annette - yes just a bit, lol!!! And the shame of it is he couldnt save it after that he just kept getting further and further off track. Not sure what roses, Viagra and IT systems have in common but I am sure someone will think of a connection!

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  50. this clown MAY have thought he was applying for a comedian job? :O lol

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  51. @ laughingwolf - well he was certainly confused....

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  52. HAHAHAHAHAHA...Im sorry but I had to stop and start again....LOL LOL, as soon as I read the Viagra line, I almost died...
    I cannot even watch those commercials without cracking up!

    So let me see...if the company is lucky, his awesome IT skills will last MORE THAN 4 HOURS...then after the IT finesse has faded...he can offer roses to all those he could not debug (as a sweet company apology)?
    LOL LOL

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  53. @ The Muse - you are brilliant, what a twist on that story. You had me laughing out loud, he he. Thanks Muse for dropping by perhaps this will inspire some poetry?

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  54. You can't get any more inappropriate than that. What a loser. Period. End of discussion.

    You do not allow nerves to supercede what should be your BRAIN when you're in an interview.

    Just as the possible bosses are not legally permitted to ask questions about marriage, sexual orientation, and childred, the interviewee should not allow him/herself to make inane, idiotic comments. Asshatery.

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  55. I am always amazed at what people will say in an interview or how they dress or act, however I am rarely surprised after doing thousands of interviews.
    I have had people come in with horrible body odor, people dressed inappropriatly, etc.
    I did have one female applicant make a point of telling me that she had her tubes tied. I had another offer me whatever I wanted to give her the job.

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  56. Can't say that I've had any really crazy interviews, but I have certainly worked for some horrific bosses (must have had their best feet forward during the interview), and likewise for certain ridiculous employees.

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  57. @ buddhagirl - yes its a two way street, thans for dropping by.

    @ Mark - oh dear, promises, promse - that might have been a little uncomfortable and I bet she wondered why she didnt get the job.

    @ Fragrant Liar - I know its so hard to tell from interviews and paper alone. I have made many mistakes on this front not matter how hard I research a person.

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  58. Helena (Scotland)21 May 2009 at 11:24

    i've had people cry in the interviews they were so nervous. It really is a horrible process for so many people. This guy though clearly needs an intervention. There is a time and place.I hope someone gives him some feedback.Do you remember you interviewed me once in the UK, you were very lovely and professional and I got the job.

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  59. I wonder what his thoughts were as he exited the interview room? Was the poor bugger at all embarrassed, or did he just cast it aside? I would hate to have been on the interview panel watching him!

    BTW I have given you an award to mention your 5 least favourite things. Is this a start: interviewee's who think they can win the panel over with an inappropriate joke?

    www.thewritinginstinct.blogspot.com

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  60. Whoops. Hey, he gave you a great blog post.
    I've heard about aspirin extending the life of flowers.
    I flubbed one interview for a temporary job by answering one question inappropriately actually by flubbing on a question and getting it terribly wrong (I'd had a really bad morning and expected to go over my notes before the interview but when I got there 20 minutes early, they brought me right in). Everything went down hill from there. Mostly, I've been more skillful than my interviewers and had to give them information that their questions didn't solicit.

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  61. @ Helena - sure you dont want to live in the sun and not the snow?

    @ Mervat, eh no, dont think he had any self awareness which is a shame as not sure that is learned but inherent moreso. Only five things?

    @ Can-Can - only no, here you were thinking you had 20 minutes for review and they do that - lesson for us all. I always avoided interviews as I get too chatty when nervous and appear an idiot - I know you would never think that reading my blog either. Clearly I am permanently nervous....

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  62. i have the balls of a breeding bull...i go into job interviews with the attitude that if these people are really smart, they'll hire me..

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  63. @ Jackie - yep, I always knew I like your style!

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  64. How on earth do you get 65 comments on a post? I only get a dozen when winding folk up, not that I do of course.....

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  65. @ Adullamite - simply because no-one knows about you yet putside Scotland maybe, but I am going to link to you soon to let people know here that you are a maniac who is absolutely hilarious and a brilliant writer. Mike Smith is the same.

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  66. Hilarious. I bet that dude walked out and banged his head repeatedly on his dashboard.

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  67. Well, it's obvious why he's looking for a job. But good tips . . . since my cut flowers regularly suffer from erectile dysfunction.

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  68. @ Anne - nah, I dont think he would have got it at all somehow.

    @ Elaine - my you are funny, that was good, glad you know the trick now for your wilting plants....

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  69. Hi dear Lilly. I'm still laughing. I would not have been able to keep a straight face. Not at all. Nor would I have been able to keep my mouth shut. I would've probably said something like. "Next time you have a job interview I suggest that your plants be the ONLY ones who get their viagra fix. Or at best, apply for a job with a construction company where you can 'erect'....um...'things'...you know, like...uh...buildings and uh...other stuff. Or possibly apply as a breakfast cook at the local diner, where you have 'get up' early. Or possibly a hot air ballon rider, where you can be filled with hot air and 'rise' all at the same time. Just a thought. Things you might want to consider."

    Okay, okay, I know. I'm totally warped, but you love me anyway. :D

    And I love you dear one. I have to admit that you live the MOST unusual and intriguing life of anyone I know. OR it may just be the WAY that you see the world that makes you so absolutely delightful. I can only imagine a delight it would be to go on a trip with you. I would be in agony from constantly laughing. When my sweetheart and I travel we are like that. We laugh our guts out. sending a great big huge hug. Know that you are in my thoughts and heart. You leave an indelible impression. Love, Robin

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  70. I wonder if he even realized how much he blew it! :)

    You were the comment below me on Roll Call over @ SITS this morning...just wanted to swing by your blog and say hi!

    Lins @ goodbyemartha.blogspot.com

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  71. Oh wow. You've got to be kidding. I would've busted up laughing. You have remarkable self-control. :)

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  72. Oh hire him! Sounds like he's UP for the challenge. ;)

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  73. When I was more heavily into shooting weddings years ago, a potential bride was interviewing me to shoot her upcoming event. This girl didn't realize that I also was doing a little interviewing of her to see if I even cared to shoot this thing. Early in our conversation, she quite blatantly tells me that she would be a getting a package that included proofs so that she could scan them and make prints somewhere else cheaper. Hello? Have you heard of copyright infringement and the $$$ penalties that go along with that????? I politely informed her of the illegality of this. She insisted that she had a guy in town who does it for her all the time.

    Needless to say, I did not shoot her wedding. Aw, the pain of passing that one up.

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  74. Lilly you're hiring! First you don't tell me about the best job in the world contest (Great Barrier Reef) and then this. Of course it would be a long way to go for an interview. Do you think the guy knows of your blog?

    I mostly have enjoyed interviewing people. I find it better giving the interview than getting it.

    One time (long ago) the candidate mentioned that he lived with a WOLF. Now this was Chicagoland not Montana. He was hired too but turned out to be a terrible worker and fired some months later. He got along better with wolves than people.

    One other memorable one - I got to interview a guy that had been my boss at one time. That was fun - he didn't know I was on the interview team and was shocked to see me.

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  75. Hilarious as always! Viagra works for blossoms? Hmmm.


    I do recall one interview I was conducting where when we came to the harder type predictable questins you know you are going to be asked, the guy just dropped his mouth and his eyes got all big as he slowly scanned the room with them. I felt like we had been plunged into water and he was some big gaping fish. It was sooo bizarre. He must have gone on for a well over a minute like that with nothing to say until we butted in to end his agony. I was cringing so bad for him. For a moment there I thoguht pehaps he has a seizure.

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  76. Poor man was obviously so nervous that he made an almost Freudian faux-pas. When I interview my students for the annual college project, the atmosphere is not really as tense, but they do manage to come up with a lot of bloopers!

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  77. @ Robin Easton - oh you always make me laugh and then I go to your blog and you make me cry. You are multi dimensional and a great woman. And so funny!!! Thanks for stopping by. Yes I would love to go on a trip with you, but not sure I could keep up with your pace unless you piggyback me....

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  78. I gave you an award on my blog. You and Des. :)

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  79. @ Summer - oh wow you know he will never let up about his one now!!! Thanks!!

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  80. Not a negative experience, but could have gone either way: I had a job interview in the summer and carried along a change of clothes because I had to do some running around right after and a two-piece suit in high heels was not going to cut it! Too hot! So, I quickly changed into my Supergirl t-shirt (Bright blue with a giant S on the front), jeans and sneakers in the restaurant downstairs from the building where the interview took place. As I was leaving, I saw the girl who interviewed me and she was all giggling about my outfit and brought me BACK into the building to introduce me to some people. I am now known as Supergirl at work! (got the job...thank goodness!!)

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  81. @ Simplicity - aw hello there - what a cute story and I am so glad you got the job

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  82. Lilly (hopefully you read comments on older posts)
    I remember this viagra flower story you posted but had a little trouble finding it again. Have you given any thought to including a search gadget on your blog.

    So the reason for finding this post -
    I just watched a funny youtube clip about viagra and a lady.
    here's the link info
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp2nKMUyT3k

    enjoy

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