NPD Chronicles: Interview Disaster

*Please keep in mind that these stories aren’t in chronological order cuz frankly, there’s just too many, so I’ll write them down as they come to me.

My boss is intelligent, in the sense that he knows a lot of stuff. However, I feel intelligence is null and void when there is a lack of common sense and my boss is as clueless as they come, when it comes to common sense. He has none. No sensitivity to people’s feelings, to things that shouldn’t be said, etc. Case in point, back in December of 2011, we had a position open in our department.

So…one of my co-workers, ex-co-worker actually, was lucky enough to find a new job and jet it out of here. She was the Administrative Coordinator, I’m sorry, Assistant Administrative Coordinator, because another thing to love about my boss is that he likes to show people their place via job titles. He also likes making them up, so when you try to find a new job, potential employers wonder what the hell you did at work, because of your made-up job title. Anyhoo, that’s a different story. So basically, we were looking for someone to fill an administrative position.

Enter B, one of the managers. He and my boss have bumped heads plenty of time. At about 7 ft tall, B hovers over my boss, yet my boss manages to turn B into a shriveled up, scared little person every time he speaks to him. Why, I’ll never know. So yes, B and my boss fight constantly, or rather, my boss yells at B constantly. So for reasons beyond my comprehension, B decided to submit his wife’s resume for the position in our department. At this point, I figure he must secretly hate his wife to wish my boss on her, but whatever, he must have his reasons for wanting his wife to work with this crazy old man.

So, a little background on B's. She’s from Mongolia, and my boss had met her before as we once hosted a Mongolian delegation at our office, and she had assisted us with the translation. I didn't meet her on this day, so I had no idea what she was like until she came in for her interview. Let's call her Odval.

So Odval arrives the day of her interview, punctual, which is always good. K, my old supervisor, and I are asked to sit in on the interview. So my boss asks K and I to conduct the interview, and he would join us later. It was another way of imposing himself, to show people he was the boss. Showing up in the middle of an interview, he feels it makes him feel more powerful.

So K and I start the interview and right away I notice that Odval has a very thick accent. I can admit it, it was hard to understand her. I had to lean in close to her to try to read her lips, and I still only understood about half of what she was saying. I’m not one to discriminate, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I did figure that working the position might be more difficult for her as it requires a lot of talking to outside vendors, communicating with both staff and funders, but hey, who am I to decide, right? All the candidates were taking a few screening tests, so I figured that would decide it all.

Shortly after we started, my boss walks in, introduces himself and starts asking Odval questions, monopolizing  the interview. He noticed her accent right away and proceeded to ask her questions about how long she lived here, when she came over from Mongolia, etc. K and I made eye contact a few times, knowing that this line of questioning wasn’t appropriate. We shifted around in our seats, a little embarrassed at his boldness.

Just as we thought he had maxed out on the inappropriate questions, he delivers the “pièce de résistance”: “Well, you know this isn’t going to work, right? Your accent, it’s very hard to understand and this job would be very difficult for you as it requires a lot of communication both over the phone and in person, and I’m just afraid your accent would prevent people from understanding you.” K and I looked at each other in complete shock. We couldn’t believe he was talking about this woman’s accent during a job interview. What the hell was wrong with him? I expected Odval to lose it, or say something defensive back, but before she could get a word out, my boss has to outdo himself and ask: “How do you communicate with B at home, don't you speak English to B at home?” Once again…in shock. How dare he reference her personal relationship during a job interview?

Poor Odval didn’t say much after that, and he stepped out shortly after, apologizing that it didn’t work out, but also saying she should take the screening tests anyway, as if she wasn’t humiliated enough. Poor Odval couldn’t even concentrate on the questions we awkwardly tried to ask her after that. She interjected to say that my boss was wrong and that she could communicate in English, which was great, but I wish she would’ve said something while he was in there. Unfortunately, she didn’t. And even more unfortunate, she did poorly at the screening tests, which he took as further proving his point that she wasn’t cut out for the job. We bid her good-bye, looking at her as apologetically as we could without openly admitting that our boss was an asshole.

For the rest of the day, I kept expecting B to storm into our area, demanding to speak with my boss, or just flat out punching him in the face for disrespecting his wife, but alas, that did not occur. For whatever reason, I’m not sure if Odval told him what happened, or if B is just that scared of my boss, but to my knowledge, B never questioned my boss’ disrespectful behavior towards his wife. He must have something on him for B to allow him to get away with that behavior. Oh that's right, he does. More on that later.

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