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Steve Jobs crashed my job interview

Not too long ago a job interview was still a meeting between two people; one looking for a job the other looking for an employee. A friendly receptionist would offer you a glass of water where you sat waiting in the foyer trying to look intelligent reading Time magazine. Moments later she would show you into a room where someone way smarter than you would get up from their chair and start the interview with a solid “hi, how are you?” and a handshake. Things were civilised.

Well, things changed.

They interview on Skype these days making you talk into a screen like a babbling idiot wearing boxer shorts wiping sleep out your eyes. If you’re lucky, if you’re very lucky, they invite you over to their building and sit you down in an actual office with a prospective boss, his MacBook Pro and his iPhone 4.

As was the case on a sunny morning in Joburg recently when an interviewer welcomed me into his cocoon of creativity with all his electronic friends on full blast. There we were: a reasonably intelligent applicant, a twice-over proven genius, a smart phone and a dumb computer — chewing the fat discussing my school years and early work experience.

I was just getting into my varsity days when an email landed into the genius’s MacBook Pro like a supersonic plane touching down the way Steve Jobs intended. Moments later his iPhone kicked into motion sending vibrations throughout the boardroom table. Unbelievably he ignored all the gadgets vying for his attention and simply went on with the interview. I started explaining why I dropped out of varsity when another email touched down with a loud swoosh. The iPhone vibrated again shortly after.

It was like he was running a little airport over there.

Emails touched down, gathered their belongings and waited for the iPhone to transport them to the terminal where they were reunited with their loved ones. I started talking about early work experiences when emails suddenly started taking off from the MacBook Pro with a distinctly different swoosh. How he managed to send emails while we were talking was beyond me. I wasn’t even sure what we were talking about any more. He kept asking questions and I kept answering but all my attention was now fixed on the fully functional airport between us on the table. His black Moleskine became the terminal building, a glass of water the control tower and pens and pencils emergency airport staff. Flights came and went at regular intervals. The weather was a pleasant 26 degrees with a light south westerly pushing in from the air conditioner in the wall. I looked up and imagined emails circling the computer. A two-way radio sounded in my head.

[email protected] requesting permission to land, over.”

“Permission granted, Bill. Land on runway four and taxi over to spam, thank you. Control to [email protected], is that an attachment you’re carrying?”

“Sure is control. Can you handle 50MB?”

“This is an Acsa-approved machine, Linda. Of course we can. Touch your fat ass down.”

At this point the interviewer plucked me back to reality when he stood up to end the interview. He said I had a lot of potential but unfortunately they were looking for someone with more experience.

And no doubt a longer attention span.


  • Hansie Smit is a self-employed writer. He spends a lot of time in coffee shops tapping into free wi-fi making sure he buys a bran muffin every time to ease the inevitable guilt he feels getting something for free. Hansie received a Diploma in Copywriting from the prestigious AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town. He often picks up spelling mistakes in brand communication taking time out of his day to write to said brand to point it out. He does this free of charge. He's won a Silver Pendoring and almost won a Loerie. For more of his stunning insight and weighted opinion, visit his website at or follow him on Twitter @freehance


  1. Jess Bailey Jess Bailey 24 May 2011

    Oh the consumerism and BUYology that is Apple…

    Even better is when you go to a meeting where your presence has been requested and (yes I am going to get a little personal)the “boss man” and his “boss brother”, otherwise known as “dad gave us his business to destroy” boys, sit on their iPhone and iPad 2 (there was emphasis on the ‘2’)respectively, whilst you demonstrate the power that is your product, the product they REQUESTED to see.

    Cherry on the top when the tech savvy geniuses turn to me and ask; “what do you mean by our digital marketing?”

    Entreprenuerial waste…

    If it’s not iPhone, iPad or iSomething it’s not iMportant.

  2. Marcel Marcel 24 May 2011

    ACSA approved put your fat ass down, gaan n se ding word. Lol

  3. GarethV GarethV 24 May 2011

    I went into an interview recently where I approached the MD to shake his hand, stuck it out there and was met by a closed fist. I wasnt quite sure what to do until he said, fist pump dude…from a 45 year old company director? Really?
    How I wished for a Skype interview that day.

  4. Hunter Hunter 25 May 2011

    You should have just remained an audience to his show, and when he somehow… eh, realises that he’s interviewing and expectedly said “I asked you a question”… while he’s looking down at his iThing… Tell him he’s not paying attention, considering it was clear you’re not getting the job, you’d have nothing to lose, or maybe it would work to your favour that you were assertive…

    But true, CDs and their fat iAsses.

  5. Nick G Nick G 25 May 2011

    So, you failed an interview and blame the distractions… hmm #weak

  6. B Derrick Radebe B Derrick Radebe 25 May 2011

    It`s a bit one sided.We will never know the interviewer`s side of the story. Maybe you failed to attract his undivided attention from the very beginning. First impressions are everlasting.Anyway you are better off not getting the position because you don`t want to be employed by a boss who does not pay attention to what his subordinates are saying while expecting maximum productivity.

  7. TK TK 31 May 2011

    Great one Hansie, again in stiches.

    @Nick G my word you have no personality or you were the interviewer those are the only possiblities to justify your mindless comment … chill out man and enjoy a bit of humour.

  8. DSJ DSJ 1 June 2011

    Hansie, brilliant stuff, thanks Tiaan for passing it on! You write like a dream, so keep up the short attention to detail!

  9. CarinaO CarinaO 3 June 2011

    Excellent one, Hansie! I think you had a very rude interviewer, extremely unprofessional. Even if a candidate is clearly not the obvious choice, or doesn’t grab the interviewer’s attention, it’s still very unprofessional to ‘run an airport’ while this poor chap is telling him about him (or her)self. Why then bother to interview? Interview by SMS, e-mail, skyp or IM then…..

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