Laser-focused blocking and tackling

I just got off the phone with a corporate recruiter and, well, I just feel like venting about the conversation. I’d venture to say that 50% of the hiring managers and recruiters are not much unlike shoppers. To me, there are 3 types of shoppers:

  1. the impulse buyer: you “want” something, or you think you need something, and you buy that something half-cocked. In a short time span it is realized that the purchase was a mistake, or you truly didn’t need it and it was probably a waste of time and money because you didn’t do your research or you bought on a whim.
  2. the researcher: this person researches their pre-purchase ad nauseum. They may or may not know what they want. If they do know, they do their research before going into the store or clicking the ‘buy’ button. They know the value [to them] of the product or service, and they know the fair price.
  3. the quick buy implementor: you know what you “need” and you just go out and get it. You might pay a little bit more because you didn’t do the same research that the researcher did, but you bought it, it does what you need it to do and the purchase is done. Over with.

I received a call from this recruiter early last week. When she told me who she was with, I immediately knew that I didn’t actually want to work there. I’d sent my resume to them because 1) based on the job description, I knew I could do the job and 2) it’s always good to practice interviewing skills. I went ahead and scheduled the call with the hiring manager after making it past the “pre-screening.”

I seriously thought about just blowing off the interview that was scheduled for last Friday. I thought about doing the courteous thing by calling the recruiter back, just being honest and telling her, “I just don’t really want to work at your company” [note that this is a large, corporate entity and I am not a corporate guy as I abhor meetings, meetings, meetings, Powerpoint, meetings, red tape, politics, meetings, bureaucracy, egos, meetings, name badges and meetings]. Instead, I decided to keep the date. I thought, “who knows, maybe this is the best job in the world and my preconceptions might be completely off-base.”

The hiring manager called me at 1 p.m. sharp on Friday. He was the first of countless interviewers who called me on time. That alone spoke volumes. The interview lasted a good 45 minutes and I really enjoyed the conversation that I had with my potential boss. He didn’t ask the “explain a situation where you took criticism and implemented that feedback in a constructive fashion” or “explain a time where you disagreed with your supervisor” corporate questions. He asked about me, my previous and current work experiences, my ambitions and about how I could use those experiences and acumen to help him do the job that was advertised.

The hiring manager and I talked a lot about a little business I started 6 months ago. This business sells a simple Windows-based desktop application that compares two sets of data (in this case email addresses) and returns a sub set of data (matching addresses or non-matching addresses). Everyone that I speak to, especially in interview scenarios is really interested in my business; not so much the business itself, but how I built it from the ground up in a month’s time, and how I set it up to run itself and generate passive revenue with very minimal involvement from me. It’s worth noting that this business is outlined on my resume, the same resume that I sent to this particular company as well as every other company who has advertised a position for which I’ve applied.

Fast-forward to today. I was outside, watering the yard (yes, 4 days before Christmas – it’s Texas!) and my phone rang. I let it go to voicemail. I came inside a few minutes later to listen to the message. It was the recruiter. She said, “Hi, Josh. Just wanted to touch base and provide you with some feedback from your interview last week.”

“Provide you with some feedback” does not equal “I wanted to schedule an in-person interview.” Elise was curious about the feedback, more so than me. I already knew I didn’t get the job based on her voicemail, but curiosity was kind of getting to me as well. I called the recruiter back and the feedback was, “the business that you’re currently running would be a conflict of interest in what we’re doing.”

That’s when the conversation got interesting. I asked her if the company engaged in data cleansing, data encryption, de-duplication, or deploying emails on behalf of their clients. Dead silence. I said, “hello?” and she said, “uh, I don’t know, I’m just relaying the feedback that I received in this email.” In her defense, perhaps it’s not her job to know what her employer does. Hell, I couldn’t tell you what her employer does. I think their tagline is something like: “We do innovative things to innovate innovation. Oh, and we streamline things, too.

Even knowing it wasn’t going to get me anywhere, I defensively told her about how interested the hiring manager was in my business start-up and operation process (again, not the nature of the business itself) and how I found it interesting that there was never word of there being a conflict of interest.

Really no big deal to me but the frustrating part is that it was just a big waste of time for both parties (more so for the company). They could have saved a lot of time and money by being a “research shopper” first. They should have looked at my resume and, after just a smidgen of research, would have realized that there might be a conflict of interest. That company probably lost $500 in processes and resources to have a 45 minute conversation with me. That could have been completely avoided. My little company would LOVE to have that $500!

It could have happened at any company of any size, but it seems like it’s always the larger ones, or the ones who are getting “too big for their britches” that are so wasteful with their resources. And that’s the #8 reason why I avoid the corporations.

3 Replies to “Laser-focused blocking and tackling”

  1. Maybe I’m just overly suspicious, but it sounds to me like they may have been pumping you for information. Interviewing a “competitor” could yield powerful insight, whether they currently do what you do or just want to. Hope I’m wrong, but be careful.

  2. could be, Julie, although I didn’t divulge any industry secrets or proprietary information that can’t already be seen on the website.

  3. This post sounds like it could have been written by Seth Godin. Which, in this case, is a compliment.

    PS. I hate that “laser focused” crap.

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