Word’s Worth

8 02 2008

What is someone’s word worth? Speaking for myself I’ve always prided myself on being a man of my word, I consider my word to be binding. In my personal life this has often lead to me overreaching, spreading myself too thin as I attempt to take on too much (one of the many reasons I think GTD can improve my life). In a professional capacity, however, I’ve always kept my word.

That, I think, is what makes it all the more galling when the firm that I interviewed with last Thursday, having told me they would be following up last Friday have still not been in touch. Nor have I been remiss in my own follow-up, I called on Monday, and yesterday, a week after interview. Although we were told, during a presentation about the firm, that they were being patient and not rushing their recruitment process, at every point (both after the interview on Thursday and when I have called up myself to follow-up) I have been assured that I would receive feedback swiftly, and have not.

If someone had simply said something along the lines of “Sorry, we’ve decided to take our time and might not be making a decision as quickly as we initially thought” I would have been happy to wait. Their decision to not rush into taking on people who are unsuitable is something I think more employers should emulate. However the way that they have conducted themselves since the interview is not. Having formed a great initial impression about the firm from my earlier encounters, this waiting period has seriously soured me on the prospect of working for them, and blunted my enthusiasm severely.

Of course, I say that now but if they were to come back with a favourable response soon I would be very quick to change my tune. Then again, the longer they take, the more likely that any response will not be favourable. The whole thing is threatening to give me a stomach ulcer. In a rare role reversal I am now turning to you lot for guidance (clearly I must be desperate). Do any of you have any tips or advice, for follow up or relaxation?

NOTE: Any tips or advice will be ignored, only to later be passed off as my own.


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7 responses

8 02 2008
Bio

You have done all you could, without jeopardizing your status in their selection process, IMHO. It is professional to follow-up, and it helps you stand out as taking their company seriously. You didn’t do it to the point of them soliciting a restraining order against you. It is unprofessional for them to say they will do something, and not follow through. I myself would be hesitant to ally myself with a company that exudes such a lackluster work ethic. If they don’t value you now, as a potential team member, how will that change when one goes under their employ? How are you going to want to give your 110% for them when they don’t put out themselves? Respect needs to go both ways.

As for relaxing: gym, sex, maybe watch a match at the pub with mates.

My advice should be passed off as your own since I am always guilty of plagiarizing your thoughts. And, dare I say, vice versa? =)

8 02 2008
Pribek

That’s irritating for sure Pres. This kind of stuff used to bug me a lot more than it does now. One reason; I am in an industry where it is the norm for people to not return phone calls. I guess I’ve grown accustomed.

As far as following up, there are two ways to look at it. One would be to call daily until you get an answer. I know, first hand, of situations where a hiring company is looking for the person who is hungry, eager, persistent etc. and they test the contestants by not being forthright with all the info-waiting to see which one meets the criteria by following up the most often. This seems like bad business procedure to me because it promotes the “persistence is rewarded” concept far past the point of being useful. If you condone this sort of activity from employees, I have found that you will irritate clients. The squeaky wheel is the first one replaced in my book. Also, I wouldn’t feel comfortable working for an outfit that used these types of tactics ’cause I’m old enough and curmudgeonly enough to not take that kind of crap.
The second option would be to practice “non-attachment”. Don’t attach of yourself to the idea getting the job, don’t attach yourself to anger at their lack of forthrightness. Don’t attach yourself to the idea of not getting the job. Remain neutral on all things concerned with it. This way you will come out on top. See, you don’t know what the truth is and speculation is of no use. Let go of it and you will know what you need when you need it.

For relaxation, at this point I would recommend an organic approach as I have used and abused all others in my years, with bad results. Like Bio, I would say that exercise, including sex, can be beneficial but I wouldn’t count out things like meditation, breathing exercises and the like. At an earlier time, I would have found a suggestion like this foolish or funny but, I have come to find the benefits.

8 02 2008
jayne d'Arcy

I agree with both Bio and Pribek but wish to add that you’ve made your case for them. If they want you, it’s now in their court. As for you, keep looking for that perfect job as you put away the “bent nose” taste this one has left you with. Who knows? The perfect job may just be around the corner and if these schlubs call back to hire you, you get the satisfaction of telling them to “fark off”.

9 02 2008
Mr President

Apologies for not responding to your comments sooner, manic day.

Bio: I agree, it’s professional to follow up, especially when someone says they’ll get back to you. Considering I still haven’t received any response to my voicemail (not even to tell me they got it and “will be in touch”) that now, in my book, leaves the ball squarely in their court.

My gripe is mainly that they have said they will do things and not done so, although I suspect, and have done all along, that this is part of a tactic, as described by Jack, to see how I would handle this sort of situation with a client, who may say they will do things and then not follow through. Even so I think the tactic has been overused.

The point about not valuing me is pretty much why I said this experience has soured me somewhat on the prospect of working for them. Whilst I can see a case for “testing” a candidate’s persistence this has gone beyond that point. I was told I would receive feedback LAST Friday. I followed up on Monday. Was told I should expect to hear back later the same day. When, on Thursday, I followed up again, that should have been the end of the “test”. Enough’s enough, don’t you think?

I do like how you sneakily tried to slip “sex” by without making it too obvious that you were trying to seduce me. Don’t lie, that suggestion to go to the pub was just an excuse for you to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me. Not that you’d need to get me drunk hot stuff…

Everyone’s guilty of plagiarising me, you shouldn’t feel guilty. I would never plagiarise your thoughts. That would be a step down.

Pribek: Perhaps they’re looking for someone who will demonstrate hunger, eagerness or persistence, or perhaps they’re just looking for someone who will handle this scenario with the appropriate level of professionalism that, when applied to the client situation they’re testing, will not irritate the client. We can only speculate.

Either way I’m going to approach this the same way, if they like what they see, great, if not, I don’t want to be working for them. This is who I am, I am never one to risk jeopardising a long-term relationship by annoying someone. Short term gains from doing so are never really worth it, in my book. That is my work ethic, it may not be theirs.

So the first approach isn’t the one for me, I don’t feel comfortable with it, and I don’t see why I should do it when it may not yield any positive results (we’re only speculating that this is an intentional “test”, it may not be, and annoying them might yield negative results). The second one, however, sounds like the trick for me. My problem has always been that I overly attach myself to a new job I like the look of, and I also tend to do the same things that anger me.

I definitely like the idea of remaining neutral. The past week I have either been obsessing about getting the job or worrying about all the possible ways I may have cost myself the job. This is pointless when, as you say, I don’t know the truth and speculation is of no use.

Exercise is definitely on my agenda but I’ve never considered doing meditation. I’ll try it on the basis of your recommendation.

Jayne: I agree, it’s best I just move on now and carry on the process of maybe finding something better. It would be quite nice to be able to tell them that I don’t need the job anymore as I’ve found one better. My sister advised that, at the end of next week, I pop off a two-sentence email to “check in” and say that I “look forward to” hearing from them.

That, I think, is the professional way to handle it. I’m not going to bother with it anymore, pop a little reminder in my calendar to send them a quick email at the end of next week and then forget all about it.

Thanks guys.

9 02 2008
romi41

You did your part; onward and upward I say! And besides everything happens for a reason, maybe this is a little hint pointing you in the direction of some other company/position, though you don’t know it yet….yes I am fluffy and idealistic, but you shouldn’t be suprised…. 😉

Oh, and also, have some ice cream; that usually helps me out in my pursuits to fill emotional voids, though that’s an entirely different matter 😉

9 02 2008
David Weisman

Their word is clearly worth only one one thousandth of a picture. Seriously, best of luck.

10 02 2008
Mr President

Romi: You? Fluffy and idealistic? I am disappointed.

Ice cream is fattening. Can’t be ruining my Adonis-like body.

David: Heh. You’re in particularly witty form this morning. Thank you.

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