Friday, June 3, 2011

Cracking the Interview Code

Ah, recruiters and HR reps! Sometimes I want to throttle them!

Take today. Now I'd heard via voice mail that I didn't get the writing job, the one 100 miles away, requiring me to live in a hotel 3 days a week, for 4 or so weeks. Company X understood I'd work from home once I was trained; Company X also understood how much value I bring to them in terms of the length and breadth of scientific knowledge. And I already know how to write. The writing test came May 18; the recruiter who presented me, MC, advised, "Take your time! If you do well, they may very well offer you the job, they have several openings and lots of new accounts to service." I finished the test (writing a 3 page structured paper) by May 21, decided to heed MC's advice, and sent the paper in 1 week after receiving the assignment, on May 25.

MC, who's been ill and out of his office, finally called me today. Well it seems that 2 writers turned up out of the blue after Company X had my resume; the writers were local, turned in their tests within 3 days (I was given 2 weeks to complete the assignment!), scheduled interviews before Memorial Day and were hired on the spot. Oh and the writers were local, did I mention that? So they can be on site 5 days a week forever. Oh, did I also mention the writers turned up out of the blue, meaning that Company X doesn't pay MC a retainer (about 3 months of my future salary) for finding those employees either. I finished that test on May 21; I should have sent it in immediately.

The career counselor was so right when she advised me not to use a recruiter. I thought I was hedging my bets. Now I know better.

Or take the saga of recruiter BM (truly, the guy deserves his initials). Now a general rule with recruiters is that they discuss possible jobs for you, and you pick the ones you are interested in/ good fits for. Then they present you to the firm, resume and all. You give permission, in other words. If you send your resume directly to a firm, it doesn't have to pay the recruiter. So nearly every recruiter I've ever spoken to asked me where I've sent in my resume-- and I tell them. Back to BM. He played phone tag with me for 2 weeks. Not as if I didn't leave my home phone number by e-mail and by voice mail: "You can reach me at home after 6 pm at xxx-yyy-1234." How hard is that? No, BM called 11 pm to my office, if you please. Considering I get up before 6 am nearly every blessed day, 11 pm I am asleep. I had given up on BM when BAM! he phoned me bright and early one morn earlier this week. And starts to chide me for not telling him I'd sent my resume into Company A. Dude! If you called and spoken to me, I'd have told you where I applied directly. Reprimanding me as if I'm a naughty child caught with a hand in the cookie jar is beyond uncalled for. Not like I didn't call you 6 times, and e-mail you 12 times.

Yesterday I received a call from a human resources (HR) rep at a firm that has 2 sides, a communications group and an education group. The HR rep told me loads about the communications side, then ended with "But we have a medical writer already." Hmm, one writer? thought I. And that writer covers every aspect of medical communications?

Then the nice HR rep went to tell me about the education side. In fact, her words were, "We do have an opening for a medical director. It just opened up. The CEO of that firm is very, um, er, passionate about education. She's worked with very famous guy at Very Famous University to develop news ways to enhance adult learning."

Sounds sweet, right? I reserve judgment. A check on Google reveals the CEO's LinkedIn profile, how much she paid for her house, and nothing else. She never was associated with her guru at Very Famous University. But I'm willing to suspend judgment, as I wrote; perhaps she was a student there (not listed on her profile though- maybe she took a class as an audit student), perhaps she met the guy and really believes his methods (I found one paper by him and a book he co-authored but I'm not on every database).

Or maybe it's a case of understanding the HR-ese:

I sure hope not. As of now, this education firm seems to consist solely of the CEO and that hardly seems likely. On the other hand, if the communications side has 1 lone medical writer, it could be possible. In any event, when I interview, I'll find out for certain.


sapphireblue said...

Ugh! Why does getting a job have to be so hard?

Henya said...

Sounds like you are having an exiting adventure. I bet you would settle for being boringly employed.

Experimental Knitter said...

@SapphireBlue, I understand the need to find the right person for the job. But some of the stuff I have to go through is little more than jumping through hoops, nothing to do with job performance!!
@Henya, You are so right; I'm too old for exciting. Have a good yom-tov!