In June, I did three posts discussing some of the things in Corporate America, either from personal observation or first hand accounts through friends, readers, or colleagues. (Read: Getting Hired Now Takes Longer; How Some Companies Are Scamming Job Applicants; How Companies Are Using PIP To Humiliate and Get Rid of Workers. Today, I'm going to talk about something I learned just this week.
One of my friends recently went through a job application and interview process with a U.S.-based leading oil and gas midstream pipeline company (~ 22,000+ miles of pipeline and 1.4 million retail customers, on 2015 Fortune 450 list). At the end my friend did not get an offer, so my friend asked me for a postmortem and shared with me all relevant information including job posting description, back-and-forth emails and voice mails between the Human Resource (HR) "Talent Acquisition" person and the "Hiring Manager". Below is a recap of what had transpired in the two months after the initial job application.
From Routine To Bizarre
My friend has a very strong background in market analysis and in May, applied for a non-managerial Senior Analyst position with this pipeline company. Initially, everything was pretty routine from the phone screening interview to in-person on-site interview with 3 managers. Then things took a bizarre turn.
"Bring You On Board" - What Else Could It Mean ?
After 4 weeks of non-communication post-in-person interview, my friend suddenly received a voice mail at 7pm on a Friday evening from the HR person apologizing that he had been on vacation, but the Company is ready to move to the "next steps" to bring my friend "on board" the following week. My friend of course immediately returned the call to the HR person confirming what he said on the voice mail. (Well, this is weird to begin with, if anybody needs to work at 7pm on a Friday, it'd NOT be HR.)
Then, the following week came, gone and silence, my friend followed up with an email to the HR person. The HR person left yet another voice mail reiterating the Company is still looking to bring my friend "on board" but due to some delay in the internal approval process, my friend should hear back the following week. (I listened to both voice mails, there's zero possibility of a "mis-understanding" or a "mis-communication").
Then the following week (this is two weeks after the bizarre 7pm Friday voice mail), my friend received a call from the same HR person inquiring about the current compensation info which was already reviewed during the initial phone screening process, except that the "salary range" of the position had gone down by 15% from the initial conversation with the very same HR person.
Nonetheless, my friend was professional enough not to say anything. The HR person still ended the phone conversation with "I will talk to the Hiring Manager and reach out to you".
What's Up With "Next Steps"?
After the phone conversation, my friend got a notification that the same position was re-posted at the Company's Careers site. Realizing salary seems an issue, my friend immediately sent a short email directly to the Hiring Manager and cc the HR person reiterating the interest in the position and pay flexibility. The Hiring Manager replied
"Thank you for your email. [HR person name] will be reaching out to you soon to discuss next steps."
Well, at this stage, by any logic, there is NO "next steps" to "discuss" except reviewing and negotiating offer.
Two hours after this reply email from the Hiring Manager, the newly posted position was taken off the very same day it was put up, while my friend got a generic rejection email --
".... After careful consideration, we have decided to extend an offer to another applicant whose qualifications more closely align with this position. ..."
Again, I read the emails, above are the direct quotes from original email communications.
First of all, judging from the job description, there is very little possibility that the hiring company could have found another better qualified candidate for such a niche expertise area, and zero possibility the company could have found the right candidate in one day.
Secondly, from what I can tell, the hiring company most likely was stalling and stringing my friend along for two months, perhaps trying to find a cheaper alternative (It does not take two months to figure out a candidate is not a good fit, not to mention the excuses and weird communications in between). I see this as bizarre, utterly unprofessional and unethical. I'm quite surprised to see this kind of recruiting practice from a Fortune 450 company, and can only imagine what goes on in smaller outfits all over.
Work Sample - No Copy Should Be Left Behind
Of course, my friend made a typical mistake of any eager job seeker -- leaving a hard copy of two "work samples" believing they'd showcase skills and capabilities. My understanding is that one of the work samples gives the complete layout and format of a deliverable the Hiring Manager had no clue and prior experience. There was some 'phishing' questions started in the initial phone interview already which was why my friend provided a work sample at the in-person interview. I can only imagine the Hiring Manager probably showed that sample to all other applicants to finally find a taker.
A New World Order of Corporate Recruiting?
Again, as I discussed before, this is how some companies are scamming job applicants. To my previous points, in this case, both the Hiring Manager and the HR person are Gen Y, the new royalty in Corporate America, whose recruiting priority is getting a "team member" with similar age and 'years of inexperience', instead of best talent for the job and responsibilities to deliver quality and value for the greater good of the corporation.
Fortunately in this case, my friend is still gainfully employed, but this little experience does not bode well for the self-confidence. Again, this is one more example to add to the NWO of Corporate America Recruiting.
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