The first time was not quite the interview. I was relocating and I’d arranged 2 interviews for a day. One of the local recruitment agents called me just before my first interview and asked if I could squeeze in another. Given I’d had to travel from London and did have time between interviews I agreed. I spoke briefly to the hiring manager, explaining that I could attend but that I wouldn’t be particularly clued up on what the company did or the nature of the role. When I arrived at interview, the HR rep took me aside and ushered me into a little room so I could take the pre-interview test. This wasn’t a big deal but when I opened the test paper it was something like 100 pages long. As if taking the piss, it stated on the front that it should take “no longer than 8 hours to complete”. There was also a section for a 1000 word essay on my knowledge of the company and how I thought I would complement the core values of the organisation.
I quietly closed the paper and handed it back to the HR rep. I asked, politely and trying to disguise my irritation, what on earth this test was meant to achieve. I asked why they wanted an essay about a company I knew nothing – other than they invited me there so I could find out. He got quite offended, told me this was standard practice and I could take it or leave it. So I left. I never heard from them, or the recruiter, even again. So I asked if Number 2 and I could at least swap seats so I could more easily address them. I didn’t consider this unreasonable and I certainly didn’t ask this in an aggressive way. Never-the-less, I was then treated to a withering 10 minutes where they explained they didn’t appreciate being lectured by an interviewee. I waited for them to draw breath, told them the role wasn’t for me and left the office. When I spoke to the recruiter he apologised profusely and thanked me for the feedback. That was certainly one of the weirdest interviews I’ve had.