Do you remember the letter writer whose interviewer asked you how she made a living while unemployed and kept pressing for an answer? Here is the update.
First of all, I would like to thank you for answering my question. Your perspective and advice has been so helpful at a strange and confusing time. You have confirmed to me that this is not behavior that one should expect or tolerate in a normal, professional business environment. I also appreciated the support of many commentators during a very difficult time.
Your advice came just in time for me to use it! You were 100% right that the hiring manager was just a nosy guy. After you answered my question, I learned from someone directly involved in the hiring process that this hiring manager is inexplicably obsessed with candidates’ personal finances, especially when they are unemployed, and has already done so despite repeated warnings. Apparently he had recently done this to a male candidate who later declined the offer because of a “counter offer from his current employer” (yes, OK). So the hiring manager insisted on calling me without the client being present, which was so unusual for their business relationship that it confused the agency. He knew he shouldn’t, but he still took active steps to do it. I can’t say whether sexism was involved, especially since I now know that the previous candidate he questioned is male.
The same source also told me that the hiring manager also believes that everyone he interviews was actually fired but lies about it and apparently considers it his personal duty to track this down. That would explain the rest of that crazy phone call that I alluded to in my original letter, but not fully explained. Basically, he read me lines from my résumé that we’d discussed for hours before and insisted that I “explain them further” because suddenly he was “questioning the implications” that I was making despite the references had already mentioned in order to be able to testify to them specifically. It felt strangely accusatory and was definitely not last minute due diligence. I had no problem explaining this again fluently and fluently for the millionth time because I HAD NOT OVER EXCITED IT, but I found it really offensive. At that point, I was sure I would be turned down, but I didn’t care because I was so angry. That was when I emailed you because I wanted to be absolutely sure I wasn’t misinterpreting the financial thing.
Well, I wasn’t turned down. Not only was I offered the position after you answered my question, but I also found out that of the 8 people interviewed this round, I was the only one they’d ever seriously considered. He wanted to hire me all the time and that’s how he treated me! I politely declined the job (I was only polite because the contractor called with the offer). I thanked them for investing their time in me, but explained that I was concerned that this phone call would never allow me to develop a productive working relationship with the hiring manager or with the other interviewers for other unrelated behaviors. I can’t know if the hiring manager actually tried to put me down with the salary because I wasn’t interested in hearing the terms of the offer.
Since then, I’ve had other (completely normal) job interviews elsewhere. I waited so long to send an update because I was hoping to share good news now. Unfortunately not, which is a shame, but I haven’t regretted declining this offer for a second. I’d rather be in that boat than on a yacht to Crazytown. Get well soon and good luck to whoever accepts it (it is still being reposted).