Dear Hiring Managers,
Thank you for the job offer but I have to decline. Unfortunately, just because I’m willing to answer your questions doesn’t mean I’m willing to work for a company bent on bringing up my dark past.
I apologize if my response comes as a shock to you. I encourage you to cherish the precious innocence that keeps you shockable at all.
Since you offered me the position, I presume the interview was a success from your perspective. However, for me it was just another chance for a new beginning abruptly ended by the misplaced intentions of fecklessly naïve gatekeepers—but don’t get me started.
Regardless, in appreciation of your offer, as well as to try and spare any interviewees that may come after me, I’ve taken it upon myself to identify and explain which of your questions were the most inappropriate. I hope that this will make you think twice about the questions you ask during the hiring process.
“Tell us about yourself”
The act of asking someone about who they are or what they’ve been through when you have no idea who they are or what they’ve been through is incomprehensible to me. You will recall laughing after I cautioned that I had once confessed to a priest only to watch him go straight to hell. I do not recall laughing. Not at the priest's fiery end, not at your giggling, not ever—but that’s beside the point.
“Why did you leave your previous place of work?”
At this point in the interview, I remember shuddering violently and asking to be excused: I do not remember whatever response I invented. Answering now, let me say two things: I fled from my previous job and you need to stop digging around. I'm not here for you to take me back to that place; I have been running for so long. So, so long. That said, I admit it was inappropriate to ask what I did. To ask for you to do the work that God refused—I was wrong to ask that of any mortal. But I digress.
“What is the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make in the workplace and why?”
Yet another open-ended question about a closed topic. Never mind that my own therapist waited 15 months before going there—and I’m sorry to answer a question with another question—but have you ever had to destroy someone you love for something you believe in? What makes you think you can handle the truth? Pain is the only truth I’ve ever handled—but let’s not even talk about suffering. I've seen all I need for one lifetime.
I could go on but I’m running out of time—it's dangerous for me to stay in this city much longer. I’ll just cut to the chase and say: I understand that a certain amount of probing is par for the course in a job interview, but the transgressions that occurred in our meeting were evitable and totally unprofessional.
Had you simply been considerate and asked, “regarding the employment history outlined in your resume, are there any places to which you’ve sworn never to return, physically, emotionally or otherwise?” I would have gladly offered my prepared list of no-go topics. I’ve brought an updated copy of that list prior to every interview I’ve ever had since learning that preparedness is the only true synonym for survival—a lesson I learned the hard way, but that’s a whole other story I won’t bring up.
In sum, please trust me (TRUST NO ONE) when I say there’s a line between an interview and an interrogation, and that I cannot work for a company pre-disposed to so-flagrantly crossing that line.
That you for your consideration and best of luck finding a social media intern.