Stories of the Job Hunt: We filled the position you applied for but we called you anyway

So, usually, when you get a job you applied for, they call you back. Usually, when you don’t get a job you applied for, they don’t call you back.

…But sometimes, they do. And it’s weird…

Let me explain.

There were a few times when I applied for jobs, maybe they were long shots, maybe they weren’t, I don’t remember. What I do remember is that I went to interviews, thought they went well, only to get the most bizarre of phone calls, that told me that I didn’t get the position for which I applied, but they did have a different position available if I were interested…

This happened at least three times I can remember, but it was always so bizarre to me. I suppose I should have taken it as a compliment, because they liked me enough to offer me a different position, but somehow, it always felt too weird for that.

It just seems to me that if I didn’t get the position for which I applied, I shouldn’t be considered for other positions.

Does that seem weird to anyone else?

One position in particular was very odd. The company was located in Park City. Don’t ask me what company it was, I don’t remember at all. I vividly remembering asking to leave my shift at Old Navy early to make it up to Park City on time. The manager during my shift was so excited for me, she nearly kicked me out to go get ready as soon as I told her about it, even though I really needed to leave about an hour early, as opposed to 3 hours early.

On my way up to Park City, I thought about whether or not I would be willing/able to make that drive every single day. It didn’t seem like the most fun, especially in the winter, when the road is treacherous at times. But up the mountain I pushed, not wanting to be late for the interview.

I got to the building and immediately noticed two things: 1) the building looked brand new, but very modern and like a place that was cool to work at, and 2) there was an apartment building going up literally in the parking lot of this business park. It seemed very out of place, and made parking nearly impossible. I found a parking spot, steadied myself, and walked into the building. I checked into my interview and was taken back into a conference room. Three people walked into the room to interview me. I remember that I awkwardly stood and greeted them all with a handshake. They introduced themselves, with two of them being part of the team I was applying to join, and the third being a member of a different team that needed some help, and I might be qualified for their workload as well. The interview actually went really well. The one girl sitting in on the interview was the person they were hoping to replace. She seemed to like me, and seemed to think I was qualified. They seemed to think that I had all of the qualifications they needed and a good foundation of internet marketing. I seemed to be a shoo-in. They even showed me a rough business plan and showed me where I would fit in. I said that I would probably need to brush up on some skills, but it didn’t seem too hard at all, and that the entire marketing/business plan made sense to me. That was the truth, I made sense of every step of their outline. They went into details like pay, benefits, unlimited time off, and working remotely if there was too much snow or if I just didn’t feel like making the drive all the way up the mountain to Park City. The girl that was leaving the company to pursue a graduate degree told me she rarely came all the way up the mountain in the winter.

Like I said, I seemed like a shoo-in. Especially since they were talking in detail about benefits, time off, compensation packages, everything.

I thanked them for their time and went on my merry way. I didn’t think I would hear back from them for about a week. I was wrong. I got home, and within a few hours of getting home, I got a phone call. It was the man who was on the team that had the position I didn’t apply for. He told me that the other team was going with someone else, and that they had made their decision soon after I had left, but I had been their last interview. He told me that he was really interested in offering me a different position with his team.

I had to be honest with him. I knew nothing about his position and had no idea if I even wanted to work for the company. (don’t worry, I didn’t tell him that second part) He swiftly sent over some information about the position he had. I asked him if I could have some time to think about it. After about a day, I told him that yes I would be interested. About 5 minutes after I hung up the phone with him, I had an offer letter sitting in my inbox.

I looked at the offer letter. The one I had been dreaming of for months, the one that would allow me to begin to move on with my life and let me apply my new college knowledge. I looked at it, and felt…nothing. I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t relieved, I wasn’t happy. I just was. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I would be so happy with an offer letter, and I was wrong.

This isn’t supposed to be about this particular offer letter, so I will tie all the loose ends by saying that after a few days of tearful deliberation with everyone, my parents, my best friend, other friends, people at work, my bishop at church, I decided to turn down that job. I was just filled with so much anxiety every single time I thought about taking that job. I didn’t want that burden surrounding my job–the one thing I would spend all of my time doing. I don’t know what would have happened if I had taken that job, but I am grateful I didn’t take it. It just wasn’t right.

There were a few other times that the same sort of thing happened to me, and every time it was so…awkward.

I applied for a job at a software company. They called me and told me that they had filled the position I had applied for, but….they had a different one if I was interested? The only thing was the that the manager over that team was out of town for the next few weeks. I never heard back.

This is actually still happening to me! This past summer, I was approached on LinkedIn by a HR software company to come help with some of their digital marketing. I was actually hoping to do both my current job, and this job, maybe as a contractor. The hiring manager called me while I was still at work and we had a very odd, impromptu phone screen, during which he asked me a variety of weird questions, like a very intrusive pay question that I tried to fumble through…it didn’t work. He also asked me about the projects I was working on with my current company…while I was standing awkwardly by the elevators, with a ton of people leaving. I felt I couldn’t share too many details because of where I was, and I wasn’t smart enough to move to a more private place. Oops…

About a week later, the same man called me, with bad news. He told me that they had filled the position he had initially reached out to me with, and that they weren’t actually hiring anymore…but…if I was interested, they could leave my resume at the top of the pile and I would get priority. He left all of this in a voicemail, with instructions to call him if I were interested in being left in the pile. I never called him back. Maybe I should have. The company was a relatively young startup at the time, and maybe I should have taken the risk at the time, with the hope that the startup would blow up and it would be a very fast paced, quick growing company.

But I didn’t. I decided to stay put.

All in all, I’ve learned through these particular experiences that it may be awkward to find out you don’t have a job, but it is definitely more awkward to find out you didn’t get a job, only to be offered a different one you probably didn’t want in the first place.

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