How can I find out which company I'm interviewing with?
September 4, 2009 1:08 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out which company I'm interviewing with next week?

Earlier today, I received a voicemail message from a guy who said that he was calling from Company X and was very interested in the application I submitted. It was difficult for me to hear the exact name of the company, and in retrospect, I should have asked him to clarify this for me when I called him back to schedule the interview for next week.

Fortunately, he mentioned the name of the position, but it's not one that I remember submitting an application for. I usually keep a detailed spreadsheet with all of the information about my job applications, but this might have been for one of the jobs that I quickly applied to without properly logging it. What makes the situation even more complicated is that I can't find any record of an application for this position in my Sent Email folder. I've tried searching for the hiring manager on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., but the only results I get are for some guy who works in a completely different industry than mine. Also, the interview is going to be held at a community center that's different from where the company usually operates, so that doesn't really help me narrow down the location.

The way I see it, I have two options. I could either go to the interview next week without having any idea of what I'm getting myself into, or I could call the hiring manager again and admit that I'm not sure which company he's with. I would feel a lot more at ease going into it if I did the latter, but I'm not sure if doing so will make me seem like a bad candidate for this position.

What should I do?
posted by sabira to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have his email? is it a company email? you could call and ask for the official company website, because you are interested in researching it more (but that may appear like you're too stupid for google).
posted by Think_Long at 1:12 PM on September 4, 2009

Try searching or for the name of the position in the location and see if you can narrow it down.

Other ideas for fake questions - if it's public, you could ask if they have an Investor Relations site.

Finally, you could always ask how to spell it, but you should be pretty sure it's not, say, 3M first.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:14 PM on September 4, 2009

Try searching for his phone number. If he called from a work phone, maybe it's out there somewhere. If he called from his own phone, maybe you can double-check the spelling of his name (in case you got it wrong).

Or, have a friend call the number: "Yes, is this HisName? HisName with ForSureNotHisCompany?" Hopefully, he'll respond with, "No, this is HisName with HisRealCompanyName."

Or, contact the community center. Surely he had to reserve a room or something.
posted by Houstonian at 1:18 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Don't admit you don't know which company he's from. Call back and reconfirm the interview, mention you're looking forward to meeting him and say something like this, "I like to write a thank-you note after my interviews, and I realized I don't have your mailing address. Could I get that from you?" Thank you notes are good practice in general, anyway- send them out a couple of days after an interview, be polite and general, and it will provide one more reason to remember you after the interview is over.

If this doesn't work for you, you might also ask him, "I was wondering if you could give me an idea of the interview process. Should I bring any materials with me, or do you have any guidelines that you can send me to describe your objectives and goals for the interviews?

If all else fails, ask him outright. Do not EVER go into an interview unprepared. You know how lawyers say, "Only ask questions you already know the answer to?" They know the answers that they are (generally) wanting to hear. If you are serious about wanting this position, you should spend several hours researching the company and position and thinking about how you want to steer the interview.

If you go in without knowing the company's name, treat it as standup comedy, or improv- a learning experience about how to think on your feet, but probably not a job.
posted by arnicae at 1:18 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Did you try looking up the phone number at all? My company's phone numbers all come out as, like, 931-988-xxxx, with the x's being the individual's internal extension. So if you looked up 931-988-0000 or -1000, it might point you to the right place.
posted by lizzicide at 1:18 PM on September 4, 2009

Get a friend to call for you! Just get the friend to say, "Is this RandomCompany?" To which he will reply, "No, this is Company." If he doesn't, get the friend to insist that this is RandomCompany, and all sorts of silly questions with it.
posted by moiraine at 1:31 PM on September 4, 2009

Some updates:

Unfortunately, I don't have his email address. The only contact that I've had with him has been through phone. I did a search for his number online, and it looks like it's his home phone number. I thought about calling him back and asking for the company website, but presumably, I would have already visited it before submitting my application.

I like the idea about calling him and asking for his exact mailing address so that I can send him a thank-you note. I'll try doing that and see what info I can get.

Thanks for all of the suggestions so far, everyone! Please keep them coming.
posted by sabira at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2009

Something about this sounds fishy to me. Maybe I'm crazy, but if you have your resume listed publicly on or CareerBuilder or elsewhere online, I'd be careful about this being a possible scam, MLM-style "job", or something like that. Calling from a home phone and having the interview in a community center sounds weird, when added to the fact that you don't recall submitting an application for this position. Ignore me if there are legitimate reasons for these things - it just sounds weird.
posted by misskaz at 1:48 PM on September 4, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm with misskaz, it sounds fishy as well. community center, home phone, etc...

It wasn't Quixtar or Alticor was it?

If you get to the interview and there are more than a few other people waiting for interviews (I understand the 4-5 person group interview, but a 30 person interview says MLM to me.) you might want to make a note of the exits so you can leave easily.
posted by vespabelle at 1:56 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Can you contact the community center and ask them who reserved the room? If they're not willing you can tell them your dilemma which might give them some sympathy to tell you.

However, it does sound a bit odd that a company would interview at a community center.
posted by ShooBoo at 2:10 PM on September 4, 2009

I have heard of scammers who pose as recruiters/etc in order to get personal information to use in identity theft. However, they usually work completely over the phone and try to get SS#/DOB/etc.
As stated before, could be some sort of MLM "opportunity".
posted by crenquis at 2:17 PM on September 4, 2009

What misskaz said. Every time I make a minor change in my resume on monster, etc. I 'll get emails and calls from companies that want to talk to me about exciting opportunities in some too-good-to-be-true scam or jobs that I am not qualified or interested in doing. Some of them will be "I'm following up on your application..." when I didn't apply.

Then again, if it is legit and you did actually apply for it, try calling him this weekend in the middle of the night -- block your number first since it will show up on his call log -- and hope his voicemail has the company name on it. If it is his home number and he does answer, well start yelling at him in whatever foreign language you speak and hang up (and hope you remembered to block your number for the call).

Good luck.
posted by birdherder at 2:35 PM on September 4, 2009

Thanks again for all of the responses, everyone.

Without giving out too much personal information, here's where things stand now:

The interview is being held at a religious community center, and earlier this week, I applied for a job at an organization that's affiliated with the same religion. The position I applied for wasn't the one that the guy mentioned on the phone, but I checked the organization's website and it turns out that they ARE also hiring for a position with the exact same title that he said. However, it's a very small organization with only three staff members, and his name was nowhere to be found on the website. Additionally, even with the religious affiliation, it wouldn't make sense for this organization to conduct interviews at that community center since it's all the way on the other side of town, and this organization's name doesn't sound at all like what he said in the voicemail message.

Even though I love a lot of the ideas you all provided, I'm not going to call him back before the interview because after thinking this over some more, I realized just how many red flags are there. My resume is posted on a few job sites, so it may very well be the case that this is some kind of scam. I'll prepare to interview for the second position that I found just in case it turns out to be with the same organization, but other than that, I'll see what he has to say about the job and then proceed from there.

Hopefully I'll be able to get in touch with someone at the community center before my interview and see if they can provide any information about who this guy is. I'll definitely update this thread to let you all know what happens!
posted by sabira at 2:56 PM on September 4, 2009

Sometimes when I am taking a message and trying to cover for not having clearly heard a name, I ask if they wouldn't mind spelling it for me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on September 5, 2009

Well, the job turned out to not be a scam after all.

I actually did apply for it, but since the organization's name wasn't provided in the online listing, I had no idea who it was when I got that call. It's a very small organization and the director was out of town, so he asked two volunteers to oversee the interview process. One of the volunteers was the guy who called me to schedule the interview. It turns out that he was the same person who kept coming up in my search results. He works in a different industry, but because he's not an official staff member, that explains why he was calling me from his home phone number and not from their office.

Again, thanks for all of the responses. I'm glad that this didn't turn out to be something sketchier than it was, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for any MLM-type scams that might come up in the future.
posted by sabira at 4:56 PM on September 14, 2009

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