Should Have Lawyered Up

, , , | Working | June 17, 2017

(I turn up to a job interview and I’m waiting in the reception. I get disturbed by a familiar voice.)

Ex-Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]! How are you doing?”

Me: “Hey, it’s great to see you! I didn’t know you worked here.”

Ex-Coworker: “Not just working here; I’m giving you an interview!”

(The interview goes great! We are laughing and joking, and swapping stories more than answering questions. I meet some of the team and get on well. The job, the people, the company, all seem great. I’m told the job is mine if I want it. A week later I arrange a second interview with the director, knowing that my ex-coworker would have put a good word in for me. I’m quietly confident).

Director: “Good to meet you. Take a seat. [Ex-Coworker] has told me a great deal about you and your experience. I’m impressed.”

Me: “Thank you. I’m feeling very positive about this role as well.”

Director: “Great, great. Let me ask you something. How would you feel about working with copyright law?”

Me: “Er, I’m confused. Would that be a part of the role?”

Director: “Well, we have a legal team, but we want to bring it in house.”

Me: “I will be honest with you; I’ve never studied or practised law. This would be a totally new field for me.”

(The interview goes on in this fashion for another half an hour. We never refer back to the job description, just more and more roles that are totally alien to the job. Each one is not on my CV or hinted at previously. I leave the interview feeling very let down, with an ideal opportunity on my doorstep turned into a total waste. The director shows me out, but not before telling me:)

Director: “I hope we haven’t put you off. I don’t want you to think that we don’t know what we want in a candidate.”

(That was exactly the case; I never bothered to ask for feedback!)

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  • Katrin Schirmer

    you applied for this job, but we would like you to do every other job instead. yeah, that’s a nope.

  • Leah

    I have a friend who actually worked in a job for several months with a boss who didn’t know what he wanted her to be doing. She applied for, and got, a PA position. This was meant to entail things like maintaining office stock, organising meetings & communication, maintaining her boss’s calendar, sorting mail, etc etc. Instead the boss was always asking her to do far more technical things – it was an IT start-up and he was essentially wanting her to do the role of a Business Analyst (look it up if you don’t know what a BA is – it is NOT a PA). She, not having any training or experience in those things, continually had to tell him she couldn’t do those things. He got increasingly irritated with her and ended up having her do really menial things like making tea and keeping up the food stock in the communal tea room. Eventually he acknowledged he had advertised for, and filled, the wrong position and didn’t actually need a PA and they mutually parted ways. So you probably dodged a bullet.

    • Jennifer Johnson

      My ex had a similar situation. He got hired as back-end support in a start-up IT company, but ended up within a few months as back-end lead, front-end, and designer. Turned out the boss knew very little about what it takes to build and maintain a website, and just about as much about running a business.

  • Amy Susan Fisher

    “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

  • Sim

    I would call the friend back. It’s entirely possible the miscommunication occurred in the friend-boss link. I’m thinking the boss heard “I have a good friend that would be perfect to work here”, and nothing else transferred, including the resume/CV, so he was actively looking for someplace to put you. This would be a mark of confidence, not disappointment; they were willing to hire you without actually having a position for you.

    • Jelaza

      Except that the OP was there for an interview for a specific job before they even knew that the friend worked there.

      • Kumajiro

        It could be that they had already internally filled that position and the second interviewer wasn’t told all the details? Idk, I don’t think O’d want to work for a place with such poor communications though.

    • RallyLock

      OP never said that the first interviewer was a friend – just that they
      were “ex-coworkers”. Sure, they might have been friendly toward each
      other, but they might not know each other well enough to pull those
      kinds of strings for each other.

      And, on top of that – if the boss was “actively looking for someplace to put (OP)” – why jump straight to a position that OP clearly isn’t qualified for? You don’t put an entry-level employee into a highly specialized position just to get them in the door – you put them into an entry-level position, and allow them to work their way up into the position they originally applied for. That factor alone shows that this boss wouldn’t be good to work for – he’s showing that he holds unrealistic (if not impossible) expectations for his employees.

  • Lord Circe

    Yeah, that always sucks. “Sure, we advertised for this position, but that’s because we couldn’t find people for these other positions. You can do them, right?”

  • termt

    Oh I believe you. I believe that you know EXACTLY what you want in a candidate. I also believe that you have NO idea how to actually find people like that.

    • KissKissBang

      They’re not advertising in the Magical Unicorn Fairy Land newspapers.

      • Katrin Schirmer

        they need to hire Mary Poppins. because clearly they need someone who is practically perfect in every way. 😛

  • Mechwarrior

    I think they knew what they were looking for, they just weren’t advertising for that position because it pays better and they’re trying to find someone desperate enough that they’ll do the higher paying job’s work for the lower paying job’s wages.

    • Abigail Hermione Irwin

      That sounds possible, but it wasn’t just one “new” position the Director mentioned; the OP says the Director kept talking about “more and more roles that are totally alien to the job.” It sounds as if they either didn’t know WTF they wanted, or as others have said, they wanted a low-pay employee who could do a ton of wide-ranging and unrelated other jobs as well.

      • Mechwarrior

        The latter was what I was insinuating. They wanted an employee who’d do highly technical roles while working for an entry-level salary.

  • I don’t know how it is in UK, but in the US “I’ve never studied or practised law” usually implies you’re not legally allowed to “practise law”. It specifically requires a law degree.

    • Katrin Schirmer

      if its the same in UK, that would be part of the reason why i would nope my way out of that interview. that and everything else he was saying that was outside of the job description i had applied for.

  • Lorraine ER

    So he thought you might have a secret law degree up your sleeve? Just happen to specialize in Copyright law even though there was no mention of it on your resume?? I’m curious what other completely unrelated positions he asked about. That is too weird! I’m sorry though, that really sucks to be disappointed like that through no fault of your own.