I used to do a lot of work through contract firms and consulting agencies when I was in my late teens and early twenties, partly to grow my skill set to house a variety of options but mostly because I was in that in-between stage where I didn’t want to work gas station and fast food jobs but didn’t have the skills for a career. This lead to a great many interesting interviews, jobs, and overall encounters with recruiters and other business people. Here’s something not to do.
The job in question was with Shop NBC filling in for a woman that would be shortly going on maternity leave. The position was with the phone ordering division of the company and while I had a lot of the skills in the bag, the fact that I was male instantly ruled me out. Not because it was some kind of sexist position, but because the position involved recording your voice for the automated phone system for things like ordering instructions and the names of items that were being ordered. This meant that some of the instructions would be in a female voice from the woman for which I was standing-in and then some in my own deeper male voice. Which would lead to:
“Press 1 for the RED PEN.“
Because that was a large part of the job position we did talk about other responsibilities that I could do with my background in film and audio, a lot of computer stuff, things of that nature but I think in the end they just gave me an interview to be courteous. Regardless, in hindsight I probably should not have said what I did.
As I was being escorted out to the door I realized that in my tie, which I had borrowed from my grandfather and had a neighbor help me tie, I was overdressed. I commented on that and the interviewer told me that everything was fine but I didn’t need to wear the tie. To which I responded with this nugget of joy: “Oh, great. I had to borrow this one from my grandpa and it smells like old people.”
Regardless of accuracy, it’s probably not something I should have said to end my interview. I’m going to cling to the whole female voice theory as to why I didn’t get the position.