In my extended continuation of the second request for "8 Things," (this one issued by Tenured Radical), I give you:
8 MORE Things about Meme!, Part 4: The Interview in the Ladies' Restroom:
My last job interview took place in the Ladies' Restroom. Some of you may recall that, about two and a half months ago I was scheduled for an interview in another state on the same day that HR scheduled an interview for a candidate for a position here. Since I was on the search committee for the position here, and since I would also be working with the person hired in this position, my presence was rather required at this interview. Panic ensued, followed by a blog post, which elicited some great advice from commenters to reschedule my interview in the other state.
The committee at the out-of-state school obligingly agreed to reschedule my interview. Since they found the task of coordinating five people's schedules troublesome to say the least, the committee chair proposed a phone interview at the same time as the in-person interview would have taken place, which worked on my end because our candidate would be meeting with our dean. Everyone was happy, or at least satisfied.
The appointed day arrived. Our candidate arrived. We did all of the interview things, went to lunch, then took her over to the administration building where, in the hour before her meeting with, HR would host a "cookies and punch" reception to allow her to meet with whomever on the staff showed up.
That's when my phone rang. "Oh crap!" I thought, recognizing the number. "They are an hour early!" At which point, I realized that I had entirely forgotten about the time zone difference.
"Hello? Oh, hi, yes, I can speak. How are you?" I said, oh so calmly and professionally. I thought, "Shitshitshitshitshit! Where can I go! Shit! Not this conference room, the boss will hear me. Not outside, too loud and hot. Not across the sidewalk, too loud and obvious." Then, salvation appeared: The ladies' room.
Mercifully, I was spared the complete indignity of sitting on the edge of a toilet by the presence of a chair. I was not spared what seemed like an endless stream of people suffering from OCD, who needed to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. "Are you doing surgery!" I wanted to yell. "A little bacteria won't kill you!"
Actually, the number was closer to two, and only one person had to actually pee and flush; and I wasn't upset. I was mostly trying not to laugh. Otherwise, I think that the interview went fairly well, if for no other reason than that I wasn't desperate for the job and could take note of the questions that they asked so that I would know what sort of questions might be asked on other interviews. Then, I returned to the reception, which had been attended by my boss, a committee member, and the interview candidate (who, incidentally, we ended up hiring and is a pretty cool person).
About a week later, I got a call from the committee chair. "Bad news," he said.
"Ah! Rejection," I thought. "And damn fast, too. Good for them!"
"HR is not happy about us giving a phone interview, so we need you to fly in," he said. "It will be all of the same questions and people, but HR insists we do this."
Well, naturally, it would seem a bit odd if they rejected me and I only got a phone interview. I might sue! Or if they hired me, and someone else complained that I didn't have to undergo the scrutiny of a face-to-face interview, they might sue. Of course, the possibility also existed that, if they hired me after two interviews that included the same questions with the same people (well, minus one on the second round), a rejected candidate might complain because I had, in essence, had a rehearsal.
"I completely understand," I said, and we made plans for me to fly out in mid-June. The trip went well, if very quickly (I'm not sure that I was in town for a full 24 hours, and I did get the Stupidest Injury Ever during this jaunt). They would make their decision in "a week to ten days." After the interview was over, the thought occurred to me that they had already made their choice, it wasn't me, but they had to maintain the appearance of fairness. Still, no bitterness here because I am not desperate for another job, they fully compensated me for the trip, they were all very nice, and they gave me some interviewing practice for the next opportunity.
A week to ten days passed. I had other things going on, two online classes to teach, a research trip to take, a workload at my day job that picked up. Time passed. People would ask about the job, and I fully expected a "thank you but no" letter in the mail or e-mail any day. AFter another week or two, I decided that they weren't the sort of place who did that, especially given that we are in the middle of the summer.
Then, last week, I received a call.