38-year-old Mark Russo, a Pennsylvania native used to be a truck driver until one terrible night he got into a crash, suffered a concussion, and had to have his right ass cheek amputated.
That was two years ago. In those two years, he burned through all of his savings scrambling to pay off his medical bills, while aggressively submitting online job applications, and receiving zero responses.
When asked about the difficulty of job hunting, Russo said “I’m 38 and I’ve worked all my life. I started truck driving when I was 22 and after that, I’ve never had to look for any other employment. I never realized how hard it is to get a job until I actually needed one again and couldn’t sit on my ass anymore (literally). I submitted applications after the other, I tailored my resume for every job posting I came across, I completed those shitty personality tests which took over 30 minutes only to get an instant rejection email, I went to job fairs, and I even spent the last bit of my money to have my resume be professionally done and that yielded nothing. I was fed up, I cried myself to sleep at night because I knew my savings were dwindling, and I grew desperate for anything that would pay money”.
Russo found a local restaurant on Craigslist that wanted to hire a dishwasher. He sent the owner an email response, to which he received four separate interview dates in exchange. This would serve as Russo’s first chance at employment in two years, he was beyond ecstatic, hopeful, and his spirits were up.
Russo would have to interview in stages explained restaurant owner Katherine Catherine. The mock interview is described as the interview before the pre-interview, the pre-interview is the interview before the pre pre-interview, then after the pre pre interview, he’d move on to the actual interview.
After completing the third stage of the interview process (pre pre-interview), the owner informed him that she’d measure his dishwashing “abilities” and “techniques” during the actual interview. His desperation to pay rent on time and willingness to not go hungry forced him to comply. When Russo returned for the interview he wore the only clothes he had left, which were black cargo shorts and a black t-shirt. After the interview, Katherine told him she wouldn’t hire him because his outfit was inappropriate and he lacked essential dishwashing skills.
At this moment, Russo became outraged and felt as if his time and money had been wasted. This prompted him to contact his local news station called “Lollipops For Supper”, to shed light on the giant hurdles one has to jump over in order to get a shitty job in this world, so they can barely survive.
LFS finally got in touch with restaurant owner Katherine Catherine, after trying for a week. She agreed to answer questions regarding the situation.
Catherine was first asked “Why did you put Mark Russo through four rounds of interviews for only a dishwasher position? One interview wasn’t enough?”
Catherine responded with “I believe in hard work. I want to hire people that would do whatever it takes to get hired because I know they’ll be loyal to me. If any of the candidates bail on the second or third stage of the interview process, they aren’t worthy of employment anywhere. I need to be certain if they really want this job and not just here to collect a paycheck. I want them to live and breathe dishwashing liquid and be able to blow bubbles out of their ass. I’ll let you in on a little secret, at the end of the mock interview I determine if they’re hired or not. The other three interviews are to test their level of “how bad I want this- ness”.
When asked about why Russo wasn’t hired, Catherine’s response was “His outfit just wasn’t classy enough, and it didn’t scream “I want this job badly”. His dishwashing skills just weren’t up to par, I mean his left arm didn’t even bend properly while pressed against the sink. I tested his skills on removing melted cheese from a plate and they were horrendous. His technique was god awful, you have to run the plate under hot water for a specific amount of time, drill a hole through the center of the plate, curve your right arm at a sharp 90-degree angle, scrape the cheese off, then throw the plate into the garbage because now it’s ruined and my method is a waste of time. However, it’s all about the flick of the wrist, which he didn’t acquire.”
Mark Russo‘s story is very universal and relatable, he’s someone you can easily identify and sympathize with especially if you’ve had to job search in recent years. Nowadays the odds of getting a job are similar to winning the lottery: very low. Interviews have now turned into popularity contests. You’re no longer hired for the words typed onto your resume, everything’s personal and taken into account. We can only hope for things to improve.