I went into an interview for a local "high tech" company based on a recruiter saying it was rapidly growing and opening into new markets. Sounded good in principle. Waiting for the interview to start, I had a chance to read through their recruiting packet and noted it was hard as hell to find a reference to their product line, and their "benefits" weren't all that different from what you might get working for Safeway. The first interview was with HR and the questions ranged from "on this list of 30 things, pick the three you're best at" to "define 'competition.'" I quickly figured out that she was more interested in getting back to her coffee than assessing me as a worthy candidate, so I upped my chances to be hired by answering all questions in the shortest time with the "best" answers. Sheloved me.
The next interview was with a potential peer. He was a "shooter," emphasizing important points like an hour for lunch with a cock of the thumb on his gun hand. He told me he was there to explain the intricacies of the job and make me more comfortable, but him sitting so far forward on the edge of the chair made me anything but comfortable. He was clearly scared I might rock the boat, so I again upped my chances for being hired by presenting myself as one who was more than willing to listen to the status quo in the first few weeks and do what I could to integrate into what was clearly becoming a rather boring cubicle existence. I also decided I was never going to take the job.
The third interview was with the hiring manager. He was cool. I liked him immediately and we chatted as humans. He asked me what I thought of the hiring brochure and I said, "screen doors, chickens, or high tech, I have no idea what you actually do." When asked about benefits I said I might get better at Toys R Us. He wasn't offended — he thought it was funny. I liked him more. He asked for a single adjective to describe the environment, and offered, "conservative." With nothing to lose, I said, "stultifying". He laughed again. Then I launched into my brief soliloquy: "I get the sense that you really want to fix this company, but to do so, you need to be relieved of your day to day responsibilities of managing the group you have. So you're out looking for someone that can run circles around the team members you have and get them to rise to the occasion while you spend time on grander improvements. If the previous interviewer is an example of the standards of this group, I am your guy as I bet a week in I can be many times more productive than they are and get them scared. If this is true, I am interested in this job."
"But," I continued, "if you aren't totally committed to sticking it out and really making changes in this company when you bail I won't last 10 minutes as they will eat me alive as soon as you are gone, and I don't want this job. So my question to you: are you truly committed to change and do you believe it's possible in this company or are you just bullsh–tting me and yourself?" He said that was the end of the interview and he'd call me the next day for a follow up.
And he did call the following day. At 6:30AM. The message was short.
"Thanks, man. I've been up all night and driving into work today, the answer to your last question came to me. I just quit. Thanks for the interview."