A few years ago, I was looking for a summer job. I was in the middle of completing my undergrad, and had just returned from a European backpacking trip.
At the time, I followed the Facebook page of a nearby Lululemon store. They offered free yoga classes, and the Facebook page was an easy way to keep track of when and where the classes were taking place. I only had a passing interest in yoga at the time, but since I was unemployed, I really had nothing better to do.
One day, the group posted a status about an open interview taking place at the store the next Sunday morning. I didn’t own a single article of Lululemon clothing and had never worked a retail job, but I hadn’t heard back from any of the countless coffee shops, restaurants or bars I had dropped off resumes at. I decided that I had nothing to lose, and should go for it.
That Sunday, I got up bright and early to attend the interview. It took place at the store at 8:30 am. The status had said to dress comfortably, so I wore a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and flats.
I arrived about 10 minutes early, and was surprised by how few people had come for the open interview. I counted just six other people milling about outside the store.
“I guess it’s just too early for some people,” I thought to myself as I stifled a yawn.
At 8:30 am, three extremely perky Lululemon employees let us into the store and instructed us to sit in a circle.
As we settled into our circle, I noticed I was a bit out of place. Not only was I the only person wearing jeans, I was also the only person not wearing anything from Lululemon. Everyone else was decked out in yoga pants, yoga tops, yoga headbands, and yoga socks. (Yoga socks?) In hindsight, I should have had the sense to wear something from the store –- but how is an unemployed person supposed to afford anything from Lululemon?
I also seemed to be the only person put out by the fact that it was 8:30 am on a Sunday morning. Everyone besides me was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and seemed genuinely happy to be sitting on the floor of a Lululemon at 8:30 in the morning.
Something wasn’t quite adding up, but as I thought of my steadily decreasing bank account balance, I brushed those nagging thoughts aside. I figured everyone else had just had time to grab coffee before the interview. Staying up until 4 am watching Lost the night before may not have been the best choice.
After introductions, the interview began. The three Lululemon employees took turns posing questions to the group. The questions we were asked were not the typical interview questions.
“What is something you have done lately to improve your fitness?” one of the girls asked us.
One of the candidates had just begun a 40-day yoga challenge. Another had just started a raw food diet. When it was my turn to answer, I told them I had recently started cooking at home more often instead of eating out. This was technically true, as long as you consider putting frozen pizza in the oven cooking.
We were instructed to share our biggest accomplishment with the group.
“Finishing a marathon,” one person said.
“Successfully defending my thesis,” said another.
“Building a school for orphaned children in Guatemala.”
Oh, come on!
How was I supposed to compete with that? I mentally kicked myself for not accomplishing something more profound during my recent backpacking trip. I had got myself kicked out of a few bars while I was there –- which really is an accomplishment if you think about it. Do you know how drunk you have to be to get kicked out of a bar in Europe?
When it came my turn to respond, I made something up about how traveling through Europe was my greatest accomplishment, because I really found myself, and realized how rewarding and enriching traveling can be. I left out the part about how I ran out of money in two weeks, and my parents funded the remainder of my five-week-long drinking binge. I mean, learning experience.
The next part of the interview was demonstrating your favorite yoga pose. Everyone else was equipped to do so, but since I was wearing skinny jeans, there weren’t many poses I was able to do. As the other candidates contorted themselves into advanced yoga poses, I tried to decide what pose I would go with. I considered demonstrating corpse pose, also known as the part at the end of a yoga class where you take a nap. In the end, I went with tree pose, which is pretty much standing still.
As the interview finally drew to a close, and I was starting to think I had actually fooled the group into thinking I was one of them. I even felt a little bit perkier. We were instructed to fill out a few forms before we left. Availability, contact info, and goals. Goals?
“Goal setting is a really important part of Lululemon culture,” one of the staff members explained.
“Lululemon isn’t even a word!” I shouted. In my head.
I stared at the form that was instructing me to list my one, five, and 10 year goals for my career, health, and personal life. At the time I was 21 years old, and my goals included things like not falling asleep in class, being able to fit into my jeans after the holidays, and not having to ask my parents to pay my cell phone bill for me.
As I tried to copy my neighbor’s goals, one of the Lululemonites thanked us for coming.
“Thanks so much for coming out today guys,” she chirped. “We get so many resumes here, it’s always difficult to choose who we’re going to bring in for an interview.”
“So you should all know you’re really the cream of the crop, which is why we called you to come in today.”
I finally realized why I was the only one not wearing Lululemon, and the only one who had never completed a marathon. I had crashed a Lululemon interview.
I hastily made up some goals: “Go to yoga twice a week,” Ttravel more,” and “Build a house for orphaned children in Guatemala,” and got the hell out of there before they realized what a fraud I was.
When I got home, I checked the Facebook page again. In my excitement over a possible job, I had confused “open” interview with “group” interview.
It was probably for the best. I don’t think I could have handled being around such happy people all the time.
Not long after I crashed the Lululemon interview, I managed to find a decent part-time job that lasted me the next three years it took me to finish up my undergrad. Now I find myself in the same position I was in then, except now I’m looking for a “real” job. I still hope to one day make enough money to be able to actually afford something from Lululemon. Those yoga pants look like they’d be perfect for watching "Game of Thrones" in.