Okay, I just had the most awkward interview in the history of interviews. No joke.
A few days ago there was a posting on Craigslist for a legal position. The ad was pretty short but said that a sole practitioner was looking for a legal secretary to help with typing motions, briefs, etc. and for some light research. The ad specified that either a law student or someone with legal experience was preferred and said hours would be flexible with the opportunity for either full or part time hours.
Sounds decent right?
Well, it's not exactly my dream job, but it's a legal position with a flexible schedule. Like most Craigslist ads, I sent off my resume expecting to never hear another word about the job. Well, yesterday afternoon around 3ish I got a call from the attorney's office asking if we could set up an interview. He initially wanted me to meet him right then and there, but I had plans so we scheduled the interview for this morning. Ironically enough, a few hours later I received a message from a different law firm about setting up an interview based off of a Craigslist ad I responded to.
So this morning I got up, dressed up in my suit, typed in the address to my GPS and headed off. I was a little surprised when my GPS took me to a house. Yeah, the lawyer definitely didn't tell me he worked out of his house. It's not really a big deal, but I've never met an attorney who worked from home. He had given me strict instructions to take the stairs near the door down and around to the back (maybe that should have been a clue I was heading to a house?) As I was trudging through gravel and rock in my nice heels I started feeling a little anxious. I was literally in a backyard of a strange house with absolutely no idea where I was going. There were no signs/path/door, etc. I stood in the backyard and just looked around trying to figure out where the hell I was. (I should have just left then!) So I took out my phone and called the office. Instead of a polite "hello" the person on the other line just said "I see you, I'll come get you" Click. Hmm, okay?
A young man came and got me. He shook my hand and was very friendly. He took me into the office and introduced me to the attorney. I later learned this kid just took the bar exam, like me, and was quitting his job with this attorney-hence my interview. I swear the kid gave me a look like "God help you."
The attorney barely made eye contact with me as he muttered hello. The first thing I noticed about his little room that served as an office was the MESS. Literally, files and papers EVERYWHERE. They were scattered all over the two desks in the room, the bookshelves, the FLOOR. I literally had to try and step over papers on the ground. Of course the lawyer said "Don't worry, just step on them if you need to."
The attorney then said to his assistant, "This is the 19th interview, you can't just sit in here and listen anymore, you need to accomplish something today so take this and find somewhere else to work until we're done." Wow, way to be on your best behavior in front of a possible future employee. (This would be the 1st of MANY times I contemplated just walking out.)
The attorney proceeded to just stare at me for about 45 seconds before he said a word. Umm, awkward much? He then talked for 25 minutes about god knows what. Everything from how he used to teach at my law school but was fired to how much he hated the LA courts and judges. He told me about a lawsuit he was personally involved in and how messed up the Judge was and how he almost lost his house because of it. Anytime I would try to add commentary he would put me down and tell me I was wrong (umm, I think I know that I worked in an LA Court, thankyouverymuch-next time read my resume) Seriously, he made a comment about how things worked in an LA court and I replied with "yes" and he jumped down my throat! "How do you know, it's not like you've ever been in an LA court." He told me that when he worked at my school the 1st Dean he worked with was related to the previous Dean and when that Dean retired, his sister took over. So I made a comment about it obviously being a family affair and he stopped dead in his tracks, glared at me and said "I'm just telling you how it was." What?! I was being friendly, trying to engage in the conversation!
It just got worse. At one point he asked if I was familiar with the area in which he lived and I said yes because my boyfriend attends the law school that is a few blocks away. He then proceeded to tell me he doesn't think that law school is very good and no good attorneys can come from it. Umm, okay?
He then said he wanted to test out my typing skills so he dictated a letter to me and had me type it. He then made me print it out so he could read over it. Towards the bottom he read a sentence out loud and said "I don't think I said that, maybe I did, but I don't remember saying that sentence." Okay, dude I totally just made up a random sentence to just stick in the middle of this dumb "test" you are giving me for the hell of it, right?! Then he has the audacity to say, "Yeah, I know I didn't say this, it's your mistake- you are wrong, I never said to type this." I was SOOO surprised. Seriously?! I'm sorry that you are old and obviously have memory issues and don't remember what you said less than 2 minutes ago, but please don't say that I'm wrong and I happened to make up a sentence. Ugh, I was so frustrated and ready to just get up and leave.
At the close of the interview he said he had a few more people to meet but he'd definitely contact me. With that, he immediately turned his back to me and began reading a book. No handshake, no showing me out, nothing. As I was walking out I said "Have a nice afternoon" and he replied with "It's still morning." (I walked out at 11:45-sorry 15 minutes before "noon"). I could not run out of there fast enough.
I will say, in his defense, he was at least in his early 70's so I attribute his behavior to cranky old man syndrome. He definitely lacked social skills. Given the fact that I was interview # 19 or 20 I can safely say he's not happy with anyone or no one will take a job with him. I also looked him up on the Cal Bar website and found that he had a couple disciplinary incidents. The record is private for his particular offenses so I'd have to order a copy, but given what a character he was, I may just do that for the hell of it.
Luckily I'm interviewing for the other Craigslist position on Friday. It's a much better position than this was and it's at a pretty large well-known firm.