I was hoping you wouldn’t ask

I just failed a screening interview.

It wasn’t even a phone screening. It was an online survey and I was unwilling to lie enough to pass through the filter. On my resume I just avoided the awkward bits where I didn’t quite meet the requirements, but then to submit it I had to check boxes and enter numbers–cold, hard numbers–which won’t align with the hard-coded requirements for being considered.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to spin this or that detail, how to re-focus on the positive, all of that good interview stuff. But the form didn’t care.

  • How many years have you done x?
  • In what subject is your degree?

Even worse were the “soft” questions with choose-one answers. “To what would you attribute past successes?”

I cringed as I selected “Mostly individual effort.” Wrong answer! But, even though I could talk all kinds of pep about the great and knowledgeable people that I work with, all of the work I have done relevant to the job I was applying actually got done mostly by me. It’s not that I am so great. It’s just that the work I have done relevant to the job I applied for is way outside of the scope of the job I am in, beyond even the department I am in. I did the work because it helped, I could, and I loved it. But there wasn’t anybody around who could help me, really.

It’s actually possible that I’m not sunk. I am going outside the system as well as through it. Maybe the someone who knows someone has enough influence that I will still get a call for a real interview.

But I won’t hold my breath.