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Ofis Space January 26, 2007
Ofis Job Interview
By Nancy Deal Browse author

So it's your first interview with a Russian company. Aren't you the lucky one! Just in case you're interested in what to expect, here's how it's all going to unfold.

Once you've located the building of your potential employer, you will have to wait for about 15-25 minutes in the reception area, because whoever was assigned to arrange your building pass will inevitably have forgotten to do so. The security guards will ask you to stand or sit somewhere else so that they will be better positioned to give you dirty looks until a bona fide ID-carrying employee is finally sent down to lead you through the turnstiles and into the labyrinth of poor Soviet floor planning.

Your guide will bring you to a room with no windows, where you will be asked to sit alone while she goes to get all of the other people meant to attend your interview, who are all late because they forgot or are "too busy." Just when you begin to wonder if maybe you'd taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque, a gaggle of disorganized suits will pile into the room, each shaking your hand on the way in.

The Boss will pull out a copy of your resume, glance over it, and then ask if you like it in Moscow. Oh, that's nice. Moscow is a beautiful city. Are you renting an apartment? Where? Good, that's a short commute. Do you have a family? No? Excellent. Are you single? Yes? Eeexxxceellent. *winkwink* You may be asked to briefly demonstrate that you indeed possess the skills you claim on your resume. Don't worry too much about that part. Making awkward use of the words "cooperation," "effective" and "unique" will get you extra points.

So, when can you start? We need someone right away. Next Monday? Perfect. Come in at 9 AM sharp, we'll have your temporary building pass ready.

On Monday morning, you'll get there at 9 AM sharp and you'll be the only one. No one will be there to get your temporary building pass. You will be forced to twirl around the lobby area like an ass-hat until the true start of the Russian business day -- sometime around 9:45. Finally your new coworker will arrive to get you in the building and show you the way to your new work area.

Keep in mind that for at least the first week of your new job at any Russian company, your "work area" will be more of a "virtual" work area -- a conceptual work area, if you will. Studies show that visualizing your new workspace does not speed up the process and only leads to disappointment. If you're lucky, there will be an empty desk in the general vicinity of the department to which you have been assigned. Once someone finds a chair -- usually stolen from a coworker who is on vacation that week -- this is where you will while your time away for the foreseeable future.

The following chain of events will repeat itself several times throughout the week: Your new boss will drop by a few hours later and frown officiously at the lack of any computer, office supplies, work, etc. Someone is surely responsible for this unique lack of cooperation and effectiveness! He will then set off purposefully to find the responsible party before shortly being sidetracked by the sparkly bangles strategically placed between the breasts of someone's long-legged secretary, who is smoking seductively in the stairwell. Tech support just can't seem to find a computer - something about a warehouse, an influx of new employees and simultaneous understaffing, and several incomprehensible mumbled excuses accentuated with a shrug of the shoulders.

You will have at least one 40-hour week to think about the consequences of your actions. Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into? Is everyone here so totally inept that no one can get me a freakin' pass into the building? Why did they say they needed someone right away? No one's even given me anything to do... Why do I have to come and sit here demonstratively if no one can be bothered to get me a computer? What am I doing here?

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