I think this was very unprofessional, and still a bit pissed off with it.(9 Posts)
I had a job interview last week. I'm in a regional office, and the job is based in head office, so it was a phone interview, for a job on promotion. Fine, no problems with a phone interview, it saved me travel time. The panel chairperson was working from home, and it became quite clear during the interview that she had a small child with her - there was lots of background noise, which became louder and then distinguishable as shouting and talking. I wasn't entirely sure at first what was going on - no-one explained or apologised, and I just tried to block out the noise while I answered the questions. The noise became louder and louder, and I was treated to a small child doing full on screaming into the phone (I am assuming it was a speaker phone). I completely lost track of the question and where I had got to in the answer (and indeed the entire interview), and had to have one of the panel clarify this for me, while the noisy child was removed. There were no apologies, just a comment about a two year old going through the terrible twos from the child's mother. There was clearly another adult in the house, who eventually took the child away, but my feeling was that if you are going to do a job interview, surely you should make sure that you're not going to be interrupted? Could the other adult not have taken the child to the park?
I would quite like to complain about this, although I don't think it would get me anywhere. I knew I didn't do a very good interview anyway (so unlikely to be offered the job), but I would have done a damn sight better without the screaming interruption. And it really was full on toddler temper screaming as well, and it seemed to go on for ages!
What would you do?
I think that's appalling - very unprofessional and very unfair on you. I know working from home is going to mean the odd interruption, but if you're interviewing someone on a conference call then you make damn sure your Terrible Two is being looked after. I would mention it to your HR department and ask if you can have another opportunity to be interviewed (assuming the chairperson would not be your immediate boss in which case I have no idea what you do).
DH was mortified enough the other day when the previously sleeping cat decided to randomly chirrup through a conference call - but the cat was swiftly evicted .
The Chair would be my immediate boss! Do I want to work for someone that unprofessional?
Nah, you wouldn't want to work for her, but if I were you I'd get some satisfaction over her getting reminded that her two year old might be bright but is unsuitable for an interview panel.
It's crap not getting a job, even worse knowing that you didn't do the best you could because of something that was outside your control.
OK - sit tight and do nothing until you know if you have the job. If yes - well, maybe it was just a crap day; presumably the 2 year old won't actually be in the office (although it would be brilliant in a sitcom sort of way if you had to have team meetings with a screeching toddler in the room ).
If no - then talk to HR. It would have put anyone at a huge disadvantage - it just isn't fair.
Unless of course the screeching toddler was part of a cunning plan to see how you coped under unexpected pressure.
I didn't get the job, and complained about the interruption. They turned it all around as if I was the unreasonable one: "We are sorry you felt disadvantaged by the child screaming into the phone and that you felt you had lost your train of thought when answering the questions, but Mrs J recapped where you were for you." All I wanted was for them to acknowledge the interruption - "We are sorry that the child screamed into the phone and understand that this must have been unsettling during the stress of an interview."
I don't think you would be unreasonable to complain more strongly about this. It is incredibly unprofessional behaviour - even with a strong mitigating factor (eg DC suddenly ill, didn't want to put whole panel and interviewees to the trouble of re-arranging) you make plans so that there are no interruptions, and you apologise profusely if they do happen.
How far you want to take it really depends on the culture and set-up of your company, though.
It would be worth checking on the policy at your place of employment. Where I am, if someone wants to raise a grievance about a job interview it has to be done more or less immediately and certainly before the result is known.
They sound like something off a sitcom, as someone said. Don't do business with them ;.)
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