My Worst Job Interview Experience, Part 2

man awaits airplane

The interview wasn’t until the afternoon, so I had the whole morning to myself. I slept in, drank whatever passed for coffee in my room, and did more prep for the day. All the while I was still angry and wondering if I really wanted this job at all. I was also trying to confirm my transportation from the hotel to the library with my contact, who wasn’t responding. I had absolutely no confidence in UC at this point. Eventually, I got an email back from my contact apologizing the she was at a conference that morning and would have limited availability.

Are you freaking kidding me? You made someone travel 250 miles further than necessary on their own dime and you couldn’t be bothered to be present to assist them?! I was done at this point and was seriously considering telling them to go fork themselves. I was raised to be a good boy, though, and to not burn my bridges. I was also raised to be a far-too-practical Midwesterner who couldn’t turn down an opportunity.

Eventually, it was time to pack my bags and check out. Downstairs at the desk I described my purpose and recent experience to the staff to both to establish how to get to the library, as I didn’t trust what UC was telling me, and to make sure they could hold my bags until after the interview was completed. There was a university shuttle that I was supposed to be taking, but given the previous night’s disappointment I didn’t want to count on that. I had even worked out how to walk from the hotel to the library, just in case. Being professional hotel staff, my luggage was safe there and they had their own shuttle which could take me there that I was welcome to use. Excellent.

After that contingency was in place I left my bags with them and went to the restaurant for a late breakfast. I just barely made it before the kitchen closed until dinner and still managed to have a very nice, and very large breakfast. I was intentionally calorie loading as I was all but certain this was the only meal I was going to get that day. After breakfast I sat in the lobby for what was supposed to be an hour, or so, before the hotel shuttle would shuttle me to my destination. However, sitting there, the driver came to me and asked if it was okay to go early, because he had a pickup to make. I consented and before I left made the conscious decision not to take my notebook or even a pen with me to the interview, as I normally would have, because on some deep level I’d already decided that this was not the place for me.

I got dropped off at the appropriate spot and now had more than an hour before my actual interview was to start. I took a walk around campus and through the library to kill time doing my best to be incognito. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be incognito on a college campus while wearing a suit and tie? Here’s a hint. It’s impossible. I got all the way through the building and nearly made my way out when a member of the search committee cornered me and introduced himself. I apologized for being so early and he politely mentioned that they weren’t ready for me yet. I was gracious and said that I’d occupy myself until a more appropriate time. At which point I went back outside to walk around campus some more.

The University of Cincinnati’s campus really isn’t all that big.

Sidebar: Aside from the free booze the day before, the other positive I got from this experience was seeing the Triceracopter. “Triceracopter?” You might ask. Yes, indubitably, the Triceracopter.

triceracopter
I bring you the Triceracopter.

The Triceracopter is a 1977 sculpture by Patricia A. Renick that is supposed to represent the extinction of warfare. It’s also clearly supposed to be an outdoor sculpture which is kept indoors and poorly lit. It’s also one of the most wonderfully terrible and tacky pieces of art I’ve ever seen, and I live in Las Vegas. I love it and hate it all at once. It also makes me want to write a 1980’s era animated fantasy serial in which the Triceracopter is both the hero’s best friend and primary mode of transportation. WHY DOES THIS NOT EXIST ALREADY?!

But, I digress.

Triceracopter.

I’m sorry. Moving on.

The interview happened. It was unremarkable. I did my best (at least, under the circumstances) and gave an unremarkable and unrealistic presentation. I’m good in front of a crowd, but my content wasn’t very good. Afterward, I finally met my contact who had been unavailable prior to that moment who assured me that my cab fare from the previous night would be reimbursed, as well as the hotel, and otherwise apologized for the confusion. I met with a few different groups, an HR Rep, and the Dean of the Libraries. At the end I was shuttled (by the university, even!) back to the hotel where I collected my bags and took another shuttle back to the airport. Turns out that one of the two shuttle companies I saw the night before was whom I was supposed to get a ride from, but I had no way of knowing that based on my information and their behavior.

So, I was back at CVG with enough time to buy a souvenir coffee mug (something Wifey and I like to do when traveling) and even dinner, something I didn’t think I was going to get, earlier. I got my flights without incident and got home after midnight, physically and emotionally exhausted.

Epilogue

Yes, this story has an epilogue. When I first applied to the UC job I was automatically enrolled in a weekly bulletin about open positions at the university that went out every Friday. The interview was in early December. I was told that I wouldn’t here anything about the position until mid-January. This is not at all unreasonable. About two weeks after the interview I’m having a birthday dinner at a restaurant with Wifey, my parents, my nephew (also near his birthday), and my niece. I had just finished telling this whole story when I casually look at my phone and check my email. It was a Friday. I received the UC HR Newsletter with the list of open positions and the job I had just interviewed for sitting at number one, with a bullet. To be sure, I checked the posting date to see if this was an old listing or not. Nope. It was fresh since I’d been there. It took them a full month more — when they said I’d hear initially — for them to send me the thanks-but-no-thanks notice. For a full month I knew they had reopened the search. This was the last indignity I was going to take from them, so I took it upon myself to write the dean and in the most professional way I could I detailed every issue and hardship I had with my trip. No one should ever be treated the way I was treated an University of Cincinnati as a prospective employee. I told the dean that I would create circumstances in which to tell anyone I met how the University of Cincinnati abandoned me at the airport. And I have made it so. I will tell anyone who will listen about my experience. Usually, in the short version, opposed to what this has been.

You may be thinking that I’m whining, and that I shouldn’t have expected the treatment that UCCS gave me prior to my experience with UC. To illustrate, the experience I had at UCCS was duplicated just a few weeks after the UC trip by Georgia Southern University, in which I was allowed a second night in a hotel room, treated to a shared meal, and generally treated wonderfully. The same several months later when the University of Texas, San Antonio brought me in to interview for their ILL Librarian position. In fact, UC is an outlier to any reasonably funded university. Just before accepting my current position I was offered an interview with tiny Randolph College in Lynchberg, VA. Even they had it together enough to buy my plane tickets and put me up in a dorm room. But this Division 1 research university in southern Ohio couldn’t get their shit together to even pick me up from the airport.

Do not apply for a job at the University of Cincinnati.

 

 

 

 

PS: Triceracopter

steg-2

One Comment on “My Worst Job Interview Experience, Part 2

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