Thursday, October 1, 2009

Say pretty please with sugar on it

posted Mon, 30 Aug 2004

I actually have gotten something done on the job search. Nothing really productive – it’s all process – but enough to make me feel like I am in control of the situation and doing something. Yes, I am the kind of person who writes “make bed” on her list just so she can cross it off. I take great satisfaction in accomplishing even small steps toward a large goal.

I worked on my resume yesterday and I sound mighty fine, if I do say so myself. I have found the names and the websites of the largest employers in Denver (thanks to the M’town library online database, password “Elvis”). I have the names and websites of a dozen headhunters with offices in Denver. I have the list of Rice alumni living in Colorado.

An essential part of the job-hunting process

The only thing I haven’t done is actually talk to any of these people/organizations, but I will.

Going through this process made me think of when I was interviewing candidates for an intern position we had a few years ago. This was before the crash, when twentysomethings with no experience were being paid ridiculous amounts to work at startups. Ha. There was one benefit of the crash.

My boss had done on-campus interviews at a B-school that was not a top 20 school (although ranked pretty high) and found three candidates he liked. He wanted me and some others to interview them as well, so we brought them to M’town.

(BTW, I just checked the rankings to be sure and noticed that Indiana had edged out Texas. This is disgraceful! Especially when you consider that the woman who thought she should be running the returned Peace Corps group here thought she was such hot stuff because she had an MBA. From Indiana. When she was bragging about that, I just listened and thought about the PhD sitting next to me – and the fact that I had an MBA from a better school but did not need to boast about either fact. She has since taken over running the group and is doing a lousy job of it.)

There were two women and one man. I had told them business casual, which did not mean poorly-fitting pants and a fuzzy sweater. Shame on the placement office.

I spoke to “Mary” first. She could not have been more bored with me. She leaned way back in her chair and stretched her legs out and made very little eye contact. Her work before going to B-school? River rafting guide. You are not all that, I wanted to tell her. Your work experience is not impressive and it’s not like you’re at Harvard or Stanford.

Then I spoke to “Beth.” Beth had worked as a camp counselor. “I asked this guy at Sara Lee why I should go to work for them and he got upset!” she said plaintively.

I explained in calm, measured tones that most people have not had the luxury of looking for a job in a boom economy. When I got out of B-school in 1992, only ¼ of my class had a job. Perhaps waiting until one actually has an offer might be appropriate before challenging the employer to convince you.

What I wanted to say was “Dammit, I and every other person you have spoken to today has had to suck up to recruiters. Now that I am on the other side of the desk, I want to be sucked up to! YOU need to convince ME, honey!”

The guy, however, was wonderful. We hired him as an intern and then full time. In the meantime, the market crashed, so the two prima donnas had to scramble to find jobs after graduation.

The moral of this story is that almost no one is so hot that she doesn’t even have to play the game with the interviewer. If you are such hot stuff, then we’ll know it – humor us, please.

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