Jumping Through Hoops: A New Job Requirement

Memo to Human Resources:

I am following up on the job candidate I sent you several weeks ago. I wanted to review his status after his most recent interview.

You’ll recall I met this young man through one of my professional groups. He has excellent credentials and just earned his M.B.A. He was doing some technical management work for a Web-development firm before being recently laid off.

When he first interviewed with our company two months ago, he made a great impression, but the managers on that project decided that they needed a more senior-level person for the job because it was in our e-commerce area and, as we know, the Internet waits for no one. Still, one of your HR staffers sent his resume around to other hiring managers because he was such a good candidate for employment.

It’s regrettable that the position he interviewed for remains open. I understand that the project isn’t going well, and I agree that it’s best to wait for a more suitable candidate to emerge.

Fortunately, he was called back to interview for a different job just a few weeks after his first interview. Once again, the interviews went well, and he called me to say that this time he felt he had a good chance of getting hired. He mentioned to me one interviewer’s request for writing samples, which he quickly supplied that Friday, knowing that “we wanted to make a decision by Monday.”

When Monday passed without notice from us, he waited patiently, as any good candidate would, before deciding to phone you folks in HR a week later. He was disappointed when you told him that more internal candidates than before were interested in the job. I was a bit confused myself, since my HR friends and the hiring manager told me that we were “down to two candidates.” (Was I ever surprised that the other candidate was also a friend of mine whom I had helped to get a job here less than a year ago — and that she was interviewing because she had just been laid off after another big project was terminated.) As it turned out, neither of them got the job because the hiring manager just could not decide between the two candidates and decided to re-post the job to see if other, more experienced internal candidates might apply.

I now realize the lack of follow-up was an exception and that, somehow, he did not get notified of the job re-posting and the new crop of candidates. Now that our new HR information system is up and running, I’m sure that the processes and policies necessary to support this piece of technology will fall into place and these inconsistencies will no longer occur. I reassured my new friend and advised him to “hang in there.”

Imagine my delight when he called me only two weeks later, saying he’d been invited back to interview for a third position, a new opening created by resignations and shuffling of staff (it’s hard to keep people, isn’t it?).

He confided to me that he was a bit concerned about interviewing for a job that “might not be around in six months.” I again reassured him and encouraged him to persist, telling him he wouldn’t want to be labeled a quitter. I told him that despite the fact we have sold a division, had several major reorganizations and whacked a big project, all in the last six months, this particular analyst job would be “OK” in terms of stability. After my reassurances, he decided to proceed with the third set of interviews.

We talked today about his interviews here yesterday. Again, things went well, despite the fact that one person scheduled to interview him had gone home early. Fortunately, the other scheduled interviewer was still at work, demonstrating our corporate value to “act like a business owner” and be present for scheduled appointments.

My candidate again made a good impression and showed he could perform the job. I’m happy to report that after this third set of interviews, my friend doesn’t expect any follow-up contact because both of the people he interviewed with didn’t know what would happen next — let alone when — and told him so. That’s an excellent example of our mission to “put integrity in all that we do.” When we don’t know, we’re honest about it. Now he won’t go home and wait to hear from us, and even though he might be hired by another firm, we as a company are demonstrating our values by taking the higher road and being honest. However, I remain quietly optimistic that, eventually, someone from our company will get back to him — perhaps even with an offer.

I look forward to hearing from you.

By John Sullivan

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career, HR