Stuck in the 80s (wrong end)

Some recruiting experience a friend had recently… (in no particular order, just what I recall from his analysis; yes I did take notes after a short while and seeing friend’s energy drained even in the recall):

  • When walking into the shared space / reception, an all-M team were starting on pizzas.
  • Setting: One candidate (my type, i.e., aiming to think fresh), one manager-possibly-to-be (M; styled like a civil servant), one HR (F; typical? she got the coffee).
  • Mptb repeatedly brought up a vacancy not applied for. Mptb may have wanted to fill that slot more urgently, but was not the one that triggered friend to send the open (sic) application for a first meeting just to learn more about the co.
  • Mptb couldn’t but return over and over again to the capacity for sales. Friend had already mentioned explicitely in the motivational letter that sales (of the cold call type) was the main weak point, well-known. Why keep hammering on that? Not on marketing (friend has great, very frequently demonstrated capabilities for that), hardly anything on content, not much on knowledge or fields of interest. But then, what can one expect from an Mptb that had the first half of ‘career’ in selling bananas (literally; I checked for friend)? Also, Mptb did not show any interest when friend mentioned his very, very extensive, professional thoughts-filled blog; possibly b/c Mptb didn’t know the concept of ‘blog’..?
  • Apparently, only the one-pager resume had been gleaned over. Of which friend had remarked in the motivational letter that it might read as being skewed to the (IS) audit side but that work content had hardly been that at all for the part decade+ and had been almost completely with advisory and consultancy services. Mptb could not see that, or may not understand enough of business outside the own (narrow? I’ll leave that to friend and you) scope of one’s own daily drudge. Mptb kept hammering that out. Friend has a two-pager resume in English (may be too difficult for the all too Duts Mptb?) that has job content descriptions but that didn’t even come to pass. LinkedIn? Nothing. Friend has a very extensive and diverse profile there and had checked; Mptb hadn’t had a single cursory look. SocMed seemed not to exist.
  • Mptb indicated anyway to operate at ‘tactical’ level with clients. Highly doubtful. At least, taken from some details of the conversation, friend operates a level and a half higher, and examples given and some details of the discussion indicate, Mptb hardly rises above operational control level and didn’t demonstrate to understand much about dealings at various management let alone governance levels. Which may have explained some of the misunderstandings. But Mptb would have had to be the one to have noticed, if Mptb – or would be a very mediocre, 70s-to-80s type of manager?
  • Same indication from the salary range indication. Quite something lower than current. Pay the bananas, get the monkeys.
  • But then, Mptb did keep on spelling out that selling services project-wise to clients, bore down to just proposing a handful of CVs with all track records spelled out. Actual project definition, ToR, deliverables, whatev’ (?). Ah. If friend were to spell out all projects, that would lead to a. a 25-30 page resume, as friend had a resume like that already 16 yrs ago that counted 15 pages (I still have that on back-up somewhere) through executed project summaries (sic), b. clients being dismayed their details would be presented to just about anyone else – if you see the project details of others, yours will be displayed to competitors as well in our business that deals with/in confidentiality.
  • But then, the main point is that friend doesn’t want to be bodyshopped, stuffed in client job slots just for the pay by the hour. How 80s can you get ..? Didn’t Mptb notice the world has changed, and such retro business is to be ridiculed …?
  • This, with a focus on billable hours and not sitting on the bench. Yeah, friend and I understand that. To be an operational hygiene factor. Not the focus of daily work life.
  • On the other hand, Mptb also kept on hammering on with questions how friend would deal with project hiccups, as if they’d be simple bugs or so. To be fixed with a simple fist bang..? As if that goes in today’s business, at the level one wants to be concerned. Friend’s answers to resolve them in, at the same time, businesslike and diplomatic ways, apparently was too difficult to grasp.
  • And oh yes, a handful of half-cocked STAR attempts were thrown in. The sample I heard, are far from and would have missed the point (the method’s information gathering actually intended) quite comprehensively.
  • Overall, Mptb seemed like a bad listener to me, not interested in what friend brought to bare let alone what work friend wants to do, what directions he wants to go, etc. Oh yes, there was the question about own ideas for personal development, but the answers again didn’t seem to land; friend got reaction, not response.
    And though non-verbal comms was clearly mentioned, Mptb didn’t recognise that as a signal that his own posture only conveyed confusion and resignation. Verbal comms didn’t result in replies by Mptb that might indicate understanding and exchange of ideas, just what friend told be to understand “Hm, didn’t get the fully templated answer I wanted to hear b/c that’s the only kind I understand”. But Mptb found fault with friend over the latter’s non-verbal.
  • Overall II, I’m unsure whether, or rather am sure that, friend nor I would want to work with/for such a Mptb. Probably, ‘management’ would consist of bullying over unbilled hours only; no sight of understanding today’s knowledge workers need to be freed of chores such as sales, and need coaching and all other facilitating stuff (and risk management, etc.) offloaded to … the manager as that’s his job, to be free to deploy one’s excellence without being bothered by not-understandelings. We agreed we wish Mptb luck with client relationship management as he’d need tons of it, and would advise him to stay away from actual project execution or staff management. If we’d get into a relevant position we certainly wouldn’t invite him.
  • The (quite unattentively) somewhat brushed aside HR lady slipped in some questions about friend’s private life and goals in the end. I know friend as someone who wants to very much have a seamless blend of (hardcore to softcore) business, semi-professional hobbies, and other stuff. Mptb didn’t seem to care.
  • Conclusion: A waste of my friend‘s time.
  • Friend was contacted afterwards; they sought a full-on build-a-team-through-all-sales person indeed. That was not in the function profile friend showed me… And, as said, friend wrote in his motivation that if anything, that is was/his weak point. The waste of time could have been prevented.

Had to discuss this over a couple of days, to get it out of friend’s system…

Only to realise that I haven’t had a good job conversation myself recently, either. Though most of the (not so many) times, only a couple of above’s issues were at play, I was disappointed all too often. I also didn’t really like the other sort of ‘interview’ where one is asked snarky gnarly brain teasers. Of even had to do an assessment with a day’s full of questions with quite certainly the wrong answers. Or just in the interview. Why do recruiters still think they’re the conversation boss or something? Haven’t they learned how to beg for the right talent ..!? I might not completely be in that category [worded like that not to appear presumptuous at considering myself perfect, or would that add to the adoption of the hypothesis? ;-] but still to have a grown-up conversation about it all, would be welcome. So, … your comments.

But hey, then, to not get depressed:
DSCN6875
[Pleasant life; not only the Expo at sunny Sevilla]

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About maverisk

Maverisk Consultancy, IS Audit and Advisory services: Wikinomics meets governance and audit; otherwise, see my personal LinkedIn profile
This entry was posted in ERM, GRC, Information Risk Management, Sociological, psychological notes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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