The Great Resignation: 2022 Interview Speak, Decoded

(This was a no-go with the McSweeney's folks, but hey, content is content.)


We don’t believe in chair-warming presenteeism.

We used to believe in chair-warming presenteeism, then we realized that things still got done with people working at home, and that we didn’t like being in the office any more than they did.  We’ll still find ways to check up on you, but don’t worry about that.


We do have a brick-and-mortar office for days you would like a hoteling space or need to meet with others in person.

We would love to dump our office space, but nobody wants it.  Until they do, it’s there.  The heat may or may not be on.


Our salary structure is competitive, but we urge you to consider the entire compensation package.

We’ve reluctantly raised salaries to equal the low end of market demand.  We realized that now that nobody comes into the office, the ping pong tables, gourmet coffee, and state-of-the-art meeting rooms aren’t going to buy us any loyalty.  We have retirement and health plans, and we’ll sweeten the pot with our PTO plan.


We offer uncapped PTO!

We theoretically offer uncapped PTO, but of course, it’s subject to blackout dates for our busy season, which tends to coincide with most Federal holidays.  We encourage you to use it as needed, but it never hurts to take your laptop with you to Punta Cana, am I right?  And while your vacation time is not limited, we’re definitely tracking it.  Obviously.


We are invested in your personal growth and career development.

Now that we’ve restricted travel, we can deny any request for conferences and classes in desirable and/or expensive cities.  As it turns out, you can do just about anything with computer-based training, so if it’s not going to cost much, or take you away from your work for long, we’ll throw some CBT classes your way.


We still work hard to connect with each other and grow our company culture.

Hope you like Zoom Happy Hours.


We strongly encourage diversity in our hiring process.  We have a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force run by employees for employees.

Somebody noticed our C Suite was all middle-aged white men.  So, we created a group led by one of those men and made up of a Korean-born woman from Marketing, two Indian-American (South Asian, not indigenous) IT folks, a Lesbian Project Manager, A few black people from different departments, Kevin in Finance, who has a prosthetic leg (cancer, I think?), and the intern who uses They/Them pronouns.  I have no idea what happens in those meetings, so let’s just move on.


We have a family-friendly workplace.  We really want our employees to enjoy a work-life balance.

Do you have kids?  I know I’m not allowed to ask that, but I’m hoping this will spark up a conversation that tells me whether you have kids or not.  I mean, it’s fine – a lot of people here have kids.  I have kids, they have school plays and whatever.  I’m just genuinely curious.  I like to know as much about prospective employees as I can legally determine.  You look old enough to have school-aged kids. And If you don’t have kids, what’s wrong with you?  Do you hate kids?  Are you one of those people who has a leash for your cat?  I mean, that’s fine.  Some people are like that.  I had an employee at my last job take a few days off for bereavement when her dog died.  That’s weird, right?  That’s not something you would do, is it?  You look old enough and mature enough to not freak out about your pet.  Seriously, how old are you, and how many kids do you have or not have?


We’re looking to move quickly on this hire.

This is the first time in a long time that the job seekers have the upper hand on us, and it scares us.  If we can do this quickly, it’ll be like ripping off a band-aid.  Also, we sat too long on the candidate we really wanted, and he took a different job.


Why do you want this job?

I am also looking for a new job, and I’m trying to find things about this place to make me stay.  Maybe you have some ideas.  Also, is your current company hiring, and what do you think about them? 



I have really grown to embrace the hybrid work approach.  Both home and office work have their benefits.

Please don’t make me come back into an office ever again.


I have found that working from home allows me to focus just as easily as I did in the office.

I have replaced my colleague Lindsey’s daily rant about her mother-in-law with The Price Is Right.


I embrace creating processes and I am all about time management.

I have not missed an episode of The Price Is Right.


I excel at multi-tasking.

I have even been on Zoom meetings while watching The Price Is Right.


I’m looking for a position with lots of potential to grow and learn.

I’d like to learn how to grow my paycheck, mostly.


It’s not all about the salary – I want to make sure it’s a good fit cultural fit.

But really, a lot of it is about the salary, so I hope it’s generous.


I have been generally satisfied in my current job, so I’m not looking for just any new job, I’m looking for a great opportunity.

I want some of that sweet, sweet “new job money” I keep hearing about.  Also, me quitting would really stick it to several colleagues who deserve it.


What has your personal experience been with the uncapped PTO?  How does that fit into your work/life balance?

I’m highly suspicious of this, and I need to know whether I’m going to shamed out of going to Punta Cana next year.  Have you taken any time off?  How much?


Why are you hiring for this position?

Did you burn out the last person working this job?  How much uncapped PTO did this last person take?


What is your management style?

Basically, I need you to be OK with the fact that I’m going to be a completely adequate employee, but I’ll be doing my laundry between calls. I will also block out my calendar from 11-12 for a daily meeting with D. Carey at TPIR Inc., and I hope you can respect that without asking any questions. 


Christopher said…
Somehow "The heat may or may not be on" hit me as one of those things I'd completely forgotten about but don't miss about working in the office: the maintenance guy would turn the heat off over the weekend and no amount of explaining that heating it back up on Monday morning was more expensive (not to mention annoying to those of us who had to keep our coat on until noon) would get him to change.
But do take the laptop to Punta Cana. Not for work purposes--it'll just be good for watching The Price Is Right online.