Sunday, April 11, 2004

I gave up religion when I became a corporate lawyer, but Jesus rising from the dead reminds me of an interview story where a student I'd already written off somehow turned the interview around and miraculously got an offer. In celebration of Easter, the story:

The gutsiest hire I ever made. The girl was from a top school, and had sailed through fine in the on-campus interview, and we gave her the callback. I was her first interview of the day, and she comes in -- and almost immediately her cell phone rings. She takes the phone out of her pocket and looks at who's calling. "I need to take this call," she says. I look at her funny. She ignores me, and answers her phone. I can only assume it was her boyfriend on the other end:

"The test came back positive. I'm pregnant," she said. I heard nothing on the other end. "Yes, I'm absolutely certain." I heard screaming coming through the phone. "It's your fault too, jackass." More screaming. "I can't talk now. I'm in the middle of an interview." More screaming. "Go to hell." Calmly she folds up her phone and puts it back in her pocket. "I'm sorry about that," she says.

I had no idea what to say. So I just conducted the interview like nothing happened, knowing there was absolutely no way she was getting an offer, but not knowing what else to do at that point. And, frankly, she blew me away. She knew exactly why she wanted to work here, she had taken all the right classes, had all the right experience, great grades, articulate, funny... and by the end of the interview, she was actually winning me over, although I couldn't believe it.

Finally, as the time was almost up, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "I want to apologize for what happened before. Obviously I have a personal issue I'm dealing with, and it's all just happened, and I know that taking the call, and my language on the call, was completely inappropriate. And I'm sure I've completely blown my chances here, but I do want you to know that's not like me, and I know that if you gave me the chance I'd absolutely demonstrate why I belong here, and you wouldn't regret it." And she said it with such conviction, and her interview had gone so well... that I said nothing to anyone else. And the other interview reports were glowing. And so, despite what happened, I gave her an offer.

She's been here ever since, and is one of my best associates.

So I set up this Yahoo e-mail address (see the sidebar), but no one sends me any e-mail. Entertain me. Tell me your war stories. They'll stay as anonymous as I am.

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