Tonight at dinner, I was entertaining some friends with tales about a strange job interview I’d had shortly after moving to Tulsa. It occurred to me later that weird interviews seem to be my specialty. For your amusement, I present a roundup of the weirdest interviews of my life:
During one interview, I was asked a series of bizarre questions that I’m pretty sure weren’t entirely legal. The weirdest: The manager asked if was “emotional.” Emotional? Emotional how? After a rather circular conversation, I figured out that he was asking whether I would be likely to sue any of my colleagues for sexual harassment. I won his respect — and the job — by assuring him that as a martial artist, I preferred to settle such matters in an alley, not a court of law.
A filly they named Wildfire
I once interviewed at a newspaper where the publisher and the managing editor spent two hours trashing an employee I would be supervising. I was, they said, her last great hope: If I couldn’t control her, she would be fired. “She’s like a wild filly that can’t be broke,” the publisher explained — to which I deadpanned: “That’s OK. I’m the boss mare.” I was hired on the spot.
During an interview with another newspaper publisher, my list of references — which included author Michael Wallis — prompted a question about a drinking game mentioned in one of Michael’s books. I think this may have been the only time in the history of journalism that a reporter was hired for her familiarity with the rules of butt darts.
Perhaps strangest of all was the interview in which I spent two hours enumerating all the reasons I shouldn’t be hired, while the interviewer spent two hours trying to convince me to come and work for him. The more I told him about my own failings, the more he liked me. It was exceedingly weird, but in the end, he knew more than I did: I took the job and turned out to be way better at it than I’d expected.
If anybody else has a weird interview story, please share it in the comments.