Friday, 5 days left
We are finally on for 3PM for the interview. The time and day changed four times, and location twice. In a classic territorial move, the final location happens to be in my building. This means I have to do the corporate version of the walk of shame; walking through your building dressed better than you normally would for your real job. I get to the door of the conference room 10 minutes early and nobody is there yet. I have a key but since we're playing old school rules, I decide to let her win her little turf war. She rounds the corner and she is wearing jeans, telegraphing her casual attitude. She unlocks the door, and I am instantly hit with a blast of hot air. It is literally 85 degrees in the room. I look at her with a knowing, but not sarcastic glance as she lets me in. "Whoo it's hot in here!" she says as she brushes past me. She forgets that I see the facilities calendar and I know she was just in this room with another interview just two hours before. Only she would have turned the thermostat up.
For the uninitiated, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Unfortunately, it's a very old and outdated book. Someone back in the 80's decided that you could/should judge people by the most inane criteria and then predict their success in your company. A classic used to be to take a prospective employee out to dinner and watch if they salted their food before ever taking a bite. This was supposed to signal that they were set in their ways, and not open to new experiences. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes salt is just salt. The thermostat trick is supposed to make the interviewee sweat so they will remove their suit jacket (and reveal their sweat stains), or remain uncomfortable (yet suffer professionally). I know this is her goal as she sets out bottles of water for the other committee members. However, I'm cool as a cucumber.
The interview goes well. Nay, it goes really well. The other members seem impressed even though she doesn't. After the obligatory 30 question round robin, they ask the one question I've been waiting for and the only answer I have rehearsed. "Why should we hire you?"
I close my portfolio, fold my hands on top of it and smile. "I would be willing to bet that everyone else that prepared for this interview spent hours, if not days doing your assignment. You don't always get that kind of prep time on the job. I spent about 20 minutes. I know what I'm doing and I'm good at it. That's why you should hire me."
The other two members looked up from their scripts. One smiled and made some notes. The other looked a little dumbfounded, although that may have been the dehydration setting in. He was drenched in flop sweat.