Fix It Or Forget It?July 11th, 2012
Interviewing seems to be straightforward, but you never know what might happen. The pressure can be great, and the other side is in control, as you try to put your best foot forward. See what Colin* and Delores* did.
Try as you might, it’s not possible to prepare for everything during an interview. Of course, there are certain aspects to be expected, such as a list of questions, to be asked and answered, researching the company, and so forth. Aside from those basics are the additional mechanics of making certain you know how to find the location of the interview and arriving with enough time to spare, in the event of bad traffic, bad weather, etc.
Colin* recounts taking this advice, as well as being grateful that he’d arrived 15 – 20 minutes early for his interview, as I’d counseled him to do. I explained that this is an optimal time to observe the company climate while sitting in the reception area.
In addition to possibly obtaining various company reading materials, I pointed out that once he sat – silently – in the waiting area, the receptionist would likely give Colin a demonstration of what the culture is really like, expressing her/his views more candidly to other staff members as they pass by, or over the phone.
Often, one can see if respect for others is the norm, or if there is more contempt for management being expressed by the rank-and-file staff when “nobody is listening.”
Colin had obtained an interview with a company that was quite important to him, and arrived early, as we’d discussed. There was various reading material provided, so after he checked in with the receptionist, he walked over to the bookshelf and picked up a few brochures to peruse and sat down again.
“As I sat down,” Colin recounted, “I almost died! When I put the brochures in my lap to read, I realized that my fly was open! I don’t think that the receptionist noticed, but if she did, she did not react. I guess that told me something about her professionalism. I found another reason to arrive early, though. I was able to Fix It! before going into the interview, thank God!”
Delores* was having trouble finding a position that was the right fit for her, and was pleased to see a job listed that seemed to be a good match for her skills.
Although she wished they would tell her the pay up front, she knew better than to talk salary too early, and went in for the interview. She was later called in for a second interview, and things were looking quite promising.
Finally, she got a call where they were talking about the offer, salary and other details, when the terms of the offer came to light: this was a one-year grant-funded position, with the “possibility of renewal.”
Delores was upset that they waited until this point to reveal that minor detail, and frankly felt that it reflected poorly on them as an employer. She wasn’t interested in taking a job for just a year, only to have to be looking again for something in less than 12 months.
“If I wanted to do that,” Delores said, “I may as well go to work for a temp agency while I look for a permanent position. Frankly, I don’t see the difference. They should be up front about a grant funded position in the listing, in my opinion. Most are.”
Even though she was pleased to be made an offer, she decided to Forget It! with respect to this one and keep looking.
“I’d have to say that, although it was annoying to feel misled, it did help to have someone – anyone – actually want to hire me in this job market,” Delores said. “It can be so hard on the ego to look and look and not find anything for a long time.”
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
— Rita Mae Brown