Job Interview with a Real Housewife – Recruiting with Ramona

Updated April 10, 2011
Think you’ve been on some crazy job interviews? You haven’t seen anything until you’ve interviewed with Ramona Singer from The Real Housewives of New York City.

Let me start by confessing my not-so-guilty addiction to this show and my inexplicable love for Ramona and her extreme inappropriateness. I love her even more now that she has provided an excellent example of what not to do in a job interview.

It’s a pretty funny (if cringeworthy) clip. As a job seeker, you may never face the full insanity of the Ramona-coaster (please contact me if you do to share your story), but you must be prepared to handle unexpected and inappropriate questions.

Let’s analyze Ramona’s interviewing style and how her “victims” (as she rightfully refers to them) responded:

Ramona went right for the weakness question.

With her first victim, Ramona jumped right in to ask the applicant about her “worst attribute.” The lovely Tunisia (yes, Ramona, it is a country) responds that she can be “too sensitive.” This isn’t a great answer to the weakness question, but she was trying and I’m sure the reality TV cameras surrounding her didn’t help her to relax and be herself.

Ramona immediately pounced on this sign of weakness and shared that sensitivity is a problem in Ramona-land because  “I can be a real B.I.” You can see why I love her (but would not want to work for her).

At this point, poor Tunisia tried to backtrack and insist that she’s “tough but sensitive,” which just made her look desperate and terrified (rightfully so on the terrified). Ramona then confessed that her own weakness is “I have no patience.”  Sure. That’s her only issue.

Sorry, Tunisia. Get out while you can. Don’t call Ramona, she’ll call you. Next!

Ramona must be entertained.

As Ramona’s second victim can attest, she has no patience with applicants who have worked in “boring” jobs related to carpet or mattresses.

However, she does enjoy oversharing with applicants about her mattress activities with her husband. Next!

Ramona makes people cry.

Ramona’s third victim confessed that this was her first job interview ever. Poor thing! She is likely now scarred for life. Ramona asks Victim #3 about her strengths. Response: “I am very outgoing and energetic.”

Granted, she does say this in a listless monotone. Ramona jumps right on that, of course. “You don’t sound very energetic and outgoing.” She is probing for more information that is relevant to the applicant’s ability to do the job. That’s okay even if Ramona is a little confrontational about it.

Unfortunately, Ramona then leaps across the appropriateness line and never looks back. She insults the interviewee’s outfit, making her stand up and twirl, insulting  her stockings, and using the phrase “people look at your package.”

Then things get really awkward. Ramona actually says, “You look like you could use some help with your skin.”  She then offers samples of her skin care line to the applicant, who is clearly holding back tears (not that Ramona notices).

I cringed on behalf of this applicant. She did not ask for a wardrobe or skin analysis (unless she’s a masochist and that bit was cut). She was probably never taught how to interview well and now she’s probably cowering in her room suffering Ramona flashbacks.

Ramona Victim #3, call me if you need some help overcoming the trauma and getting back out there! My new policy is free interview advice for all Ramona victims.

What can you learn from Ramona’s interviewing style?

Some people are nuts (aka “dynamic,” “unique,” or “a bit of a character”) and have no filter. You probably do not want to work for these people. In the interview, they are likely on their best behavior, so imagine how they will behave after they’ve hired you.

Would you have walked out of that Ramona interview or pushed back when she got too personal?  In a real-world interview, would have tried my best to steer the topic back to the job.  In a Bravo reality interview, I probably would have flipped the table and  tried to pull Ramona’s weave out.

In a real-world interview, you should certainly be prepared to think on your feet. Some interviewers like to see how you will behave under pressure. Many ask about weaknesses and failures and you must be prepared to respond (more on how to do so in a future post).

Ramona Singer, call me.

Ramona, you’re beautiful and fabulous, but you need some help refining your job interview techniques. I know everything’s exaggerated a bit for reality TV, but you’re going to get sued if you don’t watch your step. Also, you’re not going to find the best candidate with the interview techniques that you’re using (though you may find some who makes for hilarious reality TV). I can help you refine your interview approach without losing that Ramona edge. Let’s talk over pinot grigio. I promise not to wear sheer black stockings.