Digi-cousin, The Nerdy Redneck has posted a couple of interview stories the last few days. Good stories. Check both of them out.
A reply to the latest post turned into this blog post of my own… so, cool, thanks to him for that.
I had been interviewing with the company that I work for now for several weeks. Things were going well but we weren’t quite closing a deal. The job was in Charlotte which was somewhere that I really wanted to be. However, my would-be boss was in NYC and I was in Chicago which made a face to face meeting either difficult or expensive.
Pure luck put me in Stamford, CT on business for the company that I worked for at the time so I rang up the new company and set up an after hours meeting at a bar in midtown Manhattan. Since another trip wasn’t likely anytime soon he wanted me to meet his client (who would be my primary customer) while I was there and invited him along.
I arrived at the bar a few minutes early and opened a tab on my personal debit card. The bar was really busy so I knew that getting drinks would be a pain all night but I also know a lot of bartenders and sorta know how they work. I slipped the bartender an extra twenty when I opened the tab and told him that I was interviewing for a job. He said that he had been out of work for three months and had just started at this bar the week before. He was actually excited about helping someone else land a job.
Everyone arrived as a group and I flagged the bartender down. He took individual orders for the microbrews and marked the drinkers so that he could remember what each person was drinking.
I ordered a “rum and coke” and he shoved a coke seasoned with a few drops of rum across the bar. Good man.
We stood at the bar in a semi-circle yelling at each other over the crowd for about 45 minutes. Any time a glass got less than half full I’d signal the bartender and he’d pass me a refill for it. If he happened to be passing by he’d fix a refill anyway and slide it against my arm on the bar.
As soon as anyone set a glass down I’d switch it with a full beer.
This all happened quite smoothly and no one caught on or, at least, no one complained about the free beer. I tried to be witty a few times and failed. I tossed around obscure banking terms and got trumped with more obscure terms. But the beer… the beer was steady. As they drank I matched them drink for drink with my rum flavored coke.
After about 30 minutes my jokes became funnier. My banking knowledge became more vast. My counterparts began talking louder and with just a bit of a slur.
At 45 minutes, the client bailed for the early train but before he left he told the new boss that he liked me a lot. I would learn later that this was high praise.
The other guys faded away one by one and my new boss asked if I wanted to go outside for a smoke. As it turns out there was a hiring freeze in place so it was a few months before I got a job offer but the job was locked in before I put him in a cab.
The bar tab with another 20% tip was only $180 bucks. It was the best $200 I’ve ever spent.