I Screwed Up, But Got The Job

I Screwed Up, But Got The Job

Henry Robert
Loyal to friends, Rome, and the Course my Truth...

I ran the Boston Marathon this year (2013), missing the bombings by 30 minutes, but being around for all the post explosion mayhem. A strange day indeed, and at the time I didn't realize I had some PTSD symptoms that might affect a job interview I had the next day in NYC.

The job interview was for an executive position in charge of mobile for a big media company. Now, those of us in the mobile industry know that mobile and tablets are flat out wrecking the media industry right now, so you never know what you're going to find at these interviews. Have a strategy, don't have one, scared, excited, etc.

The interview was supposed to be taken by three people, then a few hours before it was to start, it became two, then one. Then the last guy asked to do a call even though I was THREE BLOCKS AWAY !!

On the call, he asked me to walk through my resume (i.e. he didn't read it!) and actually yawned at one point. I could hear other people on the other end of the call, but he said nobody was there. He asked a couple of softball questions like "what is your leadership style", yada yada, then came the biggie:

"How do you think mobile is going to affect the magazine industry over the next 5-10 years?"

What a f***ing idiot. So I let him have it.

"Your industry won't exist in six years, but not because of mobile; it will be because of pussies like you who are afraid to do anything about it except hire a new executive to take the blame for questions you can't answer, while you collect your bonuses and lie yourself to sleep every night grasping for any form of professional relevance. Sorry if this blunt, but time is too precious to say anything but the truth, as dark and consuming as it might be. I'm saying this because I'm trying to help you. I've been the asshole who doesn't have a strategy before and it sucks; right now, you are that asshole. I can see it, and I've known you for all of 10 minutes. The ghosts in the room with you are thinking it, but they won't say anything to you, nor will they shed a tear when you get canned and they can be the next bonus-sucking pussy in charge. All of you need to look at the numbers really hard, snap out of it, or do everyone a favor and get out of the way before it all disappears."

Silence. Oh crap, did I just say that out loud?

"FYI, I may be having some trouble sorting out that whole Boston thing. Maybe. I mean, it's possible."

Silence again. Then he finally said, "I'm not sure how to follow up from that response, so I think we're done for today."


But a few hours later, he sent an e-mail saying thank you for the feedback, and apologized if he sounded trite. The next day, he offered me the job, only on the condition I would continue to be as brutally honest whenever necessary.

Honest communication is a risky affair. It needs courage. Sometimes worth taking a shot ! Have your ever been so brutally honest in your life...??

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