Where’s the interviewer?

Position: Property Exec
Company: Local
Field: Real estate, sales, admin
Industry: Real estate
Location: In a hotelroom!

Going up

I had an interview at a property management company and the office was inside a shopping mall attached with business suites, apartment and hotel rooms! In fact, when I pressed on the office’s floor, the small screen displayed “Not accessible to public”* above the floor buttons. So I asked the security guard at the reception and he explained, “Oh mesti ada pass naik (must have pass to go up).

I explained that I had interview there.

He used his own identity security card to take me up and lead me through the hotel rooms. I was thinking, “Weird.” Office in the hotelroom?

At the end of the aisle, there was a small desk with a Malay guy. There were 2 rooms with doors ajar. The security guard told the guy, “Interview. Mana (where)?” He pointed right, then left.

The security guard wasn’t sure either but he stood up and looked inside the right room, “Ada (Got) interview.”

Watching

A woman in suit with dead serious look (and stressed out) glanced up and asked, “[My name]?”

I nodded, “Yes.”

She pointed at the chair in front of her. “Sit first.” She continued typing and frowned at her laptop.

I thanked both of the guys and sat down. Since she was busy, I didn’t ask her name or even disturb her. I looked around the hotel room which was converted into office. Classy black glass tables, dark brown leather stitched chairs and numerous lamps without power. The only light came from outside the tinted windows.

Occassionally, she glanced up from her notebook and asked me about my past experience / current work. “I’m selling handmade jewelleries and fragrances online now.”

“Hunh?”

“Je-wel-leries. I source out for the findings and design them myself, then sell them online.”

“Online?”

“Through blogs and websites.”

“Oh.”

Silence and I filled the time but turning my body while still sitting there looking at any of the deco pieces. There was another guy around her age on the phone talking to a potential buyer. Real estate salespeople must be earning big bucks.

“Does it really work? The crystals?” she asked.

“It depends on the person.. Some people do believe the crystals help. If you have positive outlook, of course everything works better for you.”

She nodded to herself, “It’s the thinking. Not the crystal.”

I noticed she was wearing a glittering bracelet but since it was dark, I couldn’t see what it was made of.

The interviewer, a younger woman, came in and just at that moment, another uncle came in and the interviewer exclaimed happily, “BOSS!”

They then left the room and later, the woman in front of me received a call and she sighed heavily, “I have appointment at 3.”

Reluctantly

She hung up, left the table and gestured me to join her at the other adjoned room. “She’s still busy. Do you have CV?”

I passed my printed resume to her and I assumed she had not viewed my resume before. I volunteered to save her time, “Would you like me to tell you about myself first?”

“OK.”

I did and then she asked questions. She talked about the current situation, “We are expanding and we really need people. We have a lot of projects [some examples] locally and overseas in [high class locations].”

Sounded wonderful with many big name projects. I wondered, such a successful company but with an office in a hotel room?! Correction, 2 small hotel rooms.

Then I asked questions but she couldn’t seem to be able to answer, “I don’t know what job she wants you for. We have 2 positions.”

I informed her, “I applied for Property Exec.”

I asked her regarding the salary scheme – which I had forgotten my personal rule: not to ask about salary until there is offer – and she shrugged her shoulders, reluctant to say anything, “I don’t know the scheme for you.”

“But what is the range? Say a person who is really bad?” My bad, I should talk about the good stuff and ask positive questions instead of negative.

“Zero loh!” She guffawed.

“No basic?”

“Got basic. Basic only loh.”

“Then what about someone who is really good?”

“Thousands. Millions! The possibility is endless!” She waved up 2 hands like opera singers do at the end of the song.

I didn’t believe that. Have you heard of property agents earning millions in a month in Malaysia? A year maybe. “Really? In a month or?”

She shrugged.

I would recommend her to read Books by Barbara & Allan Pease – The Definitive Book of Body Language and Easey Peasey People Skills for Life.

She flipped her hair away from her face and screwed her forehead, “There’s something I’m concerned about you..” She rocked her upper body back and forth while holding my resume.

I asked her, “What is it that you are concerned?” I had an idea – I had no experience in real estate except reading about it in newspapers, blogs, websites and visitng Home Dec exhibitions. Oh, I did help PotatoGal in finding the best loan rates via internet! But I didn’t tell her that..

She muttered something but didn’t answer my question.

I looked at the clock. It was 15 minutes to her next appointment. “Why don’t you and [the interviewer] discuss later and maybe we can arrange for 2nd interview?”

She nodded distractedly, still frowning. “OK.”

I got up and shook hands with her – she still sat there.

Replacement 

So how do you feel about interviewers who didn’t interview you and instead, someone else did?

It was good that the company didn’t want to waste applicant’s effort in taking the time to come for interview, so they sent out another person to interview. That way, the replacement interviewer could ask other questions that may/not be asked by the original interviewer. A different perspective.

How the interview is conducted is another matter. Interviewers who do not give out good vibes give the impression that the rest of the company is like that. That may not be 100% true because other people in the company maybe different or the jobs may have lots of potential.

Books 

I left the office and read a bit (ok, 3/4) of David Bach – Start Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age in Borders. Bought a red convenient box for ex-colleague/friend’s wedding that night. I came away with resolution to save money, no more Lattes & Double Lattes activities and find more ways to grow money :)

* something like that

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