The Bluetooth in our car seems to get all confused when my wife and I are both in the vehicle and two mobile phones are trying to sync up to it at the same time. This is particularly true when we have one of the phones plugged into the aux in order to stream our iPod playlists through the car’s speakers. I probably should have noticed that something was awry, but I had slept much too late, we were eager to hit the road for our trip down south, and it just never occurred to me that I had failed to hear the ubiquitous female voice intone “transfer complete.”
That’s why I missed the call.
I was flying down the I-5, rockin’ out to our tunes, while my wife napped. When she awoke, she asked whether I was hungry. I answered in the affirmative, suggesting that we have lunch in about an hour at our planned refueling stop in Santa Nella, down in Merced County. Checking the internet on her phone, she suggested an alternative, mentioning that there was an Olive Garden about twenty miles ahead and that we should arrive there just when they would be opening for lunch.
My wife is crazy about Olive Garden’s pasta e fagioli and salad lunch (and also about their lasagna). “Mmmm,” I said, visions of roasted garlic hummus making my mouth water. Done deal.
That’s when she glanced at my phone.
“Hey, you got a voice mail.”
“Uh-oh. From whom?”
“UTAH!” I shouted.
I had done a telephone interview with a hiring panel for a management position in a company located north of Salt Lake City. I thought the interview went well and that I had at least a halfway decent shot. They said they’d get back to me in “one to two weeks.” After two weeks went by without a word, I began to expect a two-line form rejection in my email any day now. But a phone call from them, I knew, could only mean good news.
My first thought was that they want me to come out for a second interview to meet me in person. Then it occurred to me: They might be calling to make me an offer right now! I began to entertain visions of turning right around and heading home to start packing. As for the two cattle calls to which I was headed in southern California, good riddance!
Wait, not so fast, I told myself. Their starting salary was pathetically low and you were going to negotiate money, remember? Don’t forget to ask them to contribute to moving expenses. I started doing calculations in my head and drove right past our exit.
I turned around and went back. We were not going to miss out on our lunch. Meanwhile, I began wondering whether I was going to be able to catch the HR lady before she went to her lunch, considering the one-hour time difference.
The second I put the car in park, I played the message and dialed the callback number. She answered the phone, likely just as she was about to walk out the door. She related how this was such a difficult decision as I did so well at the interview and it was between me and a guy from Washington State. Unfortunately for me, Mr. Washington just edged me out because he had once worked for the company. They wanted to let me know personally because they had been so impressed with me.
I must admit that this was a first for me. Never before has a potential employer called me to tell me that I didn’t get the job. Still, I think it’s an incredibly polite and respectful thing to do. When one considers that they could so easily send a form email and be done with me, I consider their actions nothing short of remarkable. If I see another opportunity become available with this employer, I wouldn’t hesitate to apply again.
The end result is that this employer let me down easy, I am pleased to hear that I did so well at the interview, and I don’t feel as if I have wasted my time and energy. It looks like I really did have a shot.
And next time, it will be my turn.