I have been on many interviews in my time. Most I have even cared about. Typically, I will receive a phone call from some mystery person whose name I didn’t quite catch because I didn’t recognize the number and therefore was bracing for a telemarketer.
Mystery Voice: Hello, may I please speak with MOV?
Me (as a question): This is she?
Mystery Voice: Hi, MOV! My name is Kara/ Karen/ Caroline Something-or-other Johanson/ Cranson/ Shmansonson. I work for Perfect Job Company and I am calling about your résumé?
Me: Hi! Yes! Great! Oh, hi! Uh, what is your name again, I’m sorry?
Perfect Job HR Guru (ignoring what I just said): I see here that you used to work in the airline industry?
Perfect Job HR Guru: Great! Can you tell me a little bit about that experience?
Me (choking, now realizing that this is in fact, going to be an impromptu phone interview): I loved flying! I loved people! I loved flying people! I flew with flying people for 10 years! Best. Job. Ever.
Do I need to mention that Perfect Job Company had absolutely nothing to do with flying/ travel and that I possessed no discernible transferable skills? You just eavesdropped on the “best” part of the interview.
Fast forward to today. The eight-year-old walks into the study where I am pretending to “work” (read: blog) but am actually surfing the J.Crew website and their spectacular after-Christmas sale. He taps me on the shoulder and says, “Are you ready for your interview?”
My mind catapults to the aforementioned hideous phone interview and I suppress an involuntary shudder. Next, I panic. Does my older son know something I don’t? Is there an interviewer currently at the front door and as usual I am still in my pajamas (the flannel ones with the snow globes)?
“Is something wrong, Mom?” he inquires, as if we were not just bound by DNA but bound by impressive ESP skills as well. “Because you said I could interview you.”
“Of course, Tall, you can interview me. Fire away!” (I make a quick mental note to not use phrases with the words “fire,” “firing,” “got fired,” or “should have been fired” for real job interviews in the near future.)
He sits down, opens his notebook, and clicks his pen.
“What is your name?”
Easy enough. I should be able to get this one right. I give my answer.
“Have you ever had a nickname and why?”
I smile to think of the sweet but boring nickname my doting grandmother gave me: Blondie. Because I was blond. I confide this interesting tidbit about myself, to which my son laughs.
“That’s a dumb nickname. Besides, you’re not really even that blond. Are you sure she didn’t mean to call you Gray-Gray or Klutzy or something more apropos?”
This is the way Tall speaks. Like a second year law student instead of a second-grader. He uses words like “discerning” and “blasphemous” and “irrelevant.”
I struggle to come up with something better, something that will make him happy. Was there a different nickname that I am perhaps blocking out? A funny nickname, a sporty nickname, a silly nickname that reveals important information about me?
“That Super Smart Girl Who Knows Everything.”
He scribbles something down, then crosses it out.
“We’ll stick with ‘Blondie.’ Okay, next question: What is your hidden talent?”
I pause. I am very, very good at handicapping horses at the track. I have been known to win several hundred dollars in a day.
“I can pick winning race horses.” I smile, proud of my answer.
“Huh.” He scrunches his little face. “Anything else you can think of?”
“I’m good at drawing?”
More scribbling. Some flipping of pages.
“What present do you want for your next birthday?”
Queen Good Mommy arrives on cue. “Absolutely nothing. I have everything I need. You and your brother are—”
“What about that trip to Hawaii you are always talking about with Pop?”
“Oh, yeah, put that.”
“Last question: Which movie star are you most like?”
“Gwyneth Paltrow,” I answer without hesitation. “We could be twins.”
“Excuse me, Mom, Gwyneth Paltrow?” He shakes his head. “How do you spell that name?”
I spell it out for him. He has no idea who she is.
“This concludes our interview for today. Thank you for your participation.”
I would like to tell you he is reading from a script at this point. He is very much not.
I wonder when I’ll find out if I got the job?