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Why can’t companies treat candidates with respect? [An Anonymous Interview Story]

April 17, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

I love hearing about the experiences people have with unemployment and job searching. I couldn’t wait to share this with you and I especially love what happens in the end. How often can I say that? The rest of this post was written by an anonymous submitter.

I’ve been job hunting for a few months. (I stepped away from a job that just wasn’t a fit – not normally the best idea, I know, but my husband was supportive and it was the right thing in this case.)

I’ve been selectively applying to senior administrative jobs & while I’ve had a few nibbles (phone screens, a couple of interviews) nothing has been a real fit. Then I got a call from a fairly large company. The recruiter said they’d had trouble finding the right fit as the candidates so far just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ in terms of the importance of the EA position. (I’m an EA who had other careers previously – teaching, recruiting – and I really enjoy supporting senior executives. I know the EA role is crucial.)

He said on paper I was a fit and liked my phone input, so he set me up to phone screen with 3 of the EAs at their HQ in San Jose. He said only if these 3 wanted to move me forward would I meet my actual supervisor (VP, Federal Sales and head of the office in the town where I live).

The phone screens went well. I learned a lot from each EA – they are all long term employees and all 3 seemed to have a similar outlook on the EA position…it’s a partnership. With that, I was asked to visit the local office and since the VP was traveling, I would first meet with 2 of his direct reports. (I would be supporting them, too, so it made sense and I was glad to do it.)

Both men took the entire hour allotted and each made comments regarding how my esteem for the EA position fit with what they needed. They cited the challenges they had with the previous admin – specifically an issue with being unreliable. (I was able to assure them reliability is one of my strengths and my references will agree.)

I felt thoroughly grilled after these meetings, but also excited since it seemed like a great fit – they wanted what I was bringing and offering me what I’m looking for.

I was scheduled to meet with the VP on his first day back in town.
He also took the entire hour and we talked in detail about what the job requires, as well as possible start dates and projects he would want me to manage. I felt good about the meeting and we wrapped with him saying he would circle back to those I’d already spoken with and they would make a decision shortly. (I followed up with an e-mail to the recruiter – with whom I’d been chatting all along – to give my input on the meeting and to say that I would wait to hear from him regarding next steps.)

Then, nothing.

Not a reply from the recruiter acknowledging my last note; not a phone call for closure after they took the time to put me through seven interviews (4 phone screens and 3 meetings); not even a computer generated e-mail to say ‘thanks, but no thanks…’

Clearly the VP felt it wasn’t a fit. (The others wouldn’t have taken up his time if they didn’t think it was.) I’m reminding myself I wouldn’t want to work for a company that handles things this way, but I’m angry that they put me through the ringer with nothing to show for it. (Guess I can say they gave me lots of interview practice.)

Since then I’ve had an interview with another local company. It would be a steady, productive job – just not the challenging, fast paced position the other would have been. I’ll take it if I get the offer since the pay is similar and I enjoy the work.

Update, About One Month Later:

There’s a twist to the end…

When they finally called they said the VP had liked me, but insisted they find one more candidate to interview before making a decision. The recruiter said they had been unable to come up with another candidate that matched my skills on paper, so until they could, he still would not make an offer. They asked if I could wait. I happily said, “No, thanks.”
I just received an offer from a great local company – this all worked out for the best. They strung me along, but really did me a favor.

1 Comment »

  1. Natalie D says:

    I just went through this, so it was great to read that I’m not alone. I’ve been appalled at the manners of some of these companies…

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