22 Sep , 2014  

It’s been a while since I attended a job interview. But some of my friends and colleagues keep telling me about their interview experiences and choices in recent times. I do get to interview my new colleagues and my favorite question to everybody who wants to join us is “how do you choose your next employer “? Most people list the first four,

1.The Role
2.The Supervisor
3.Culture of the new organisation
4.Opportunities for growth

Some in the passing insert the fifth. Are Interviews the right mediums to evaluate our next employers of Choice? I really don’t know. It has an element of doubt/ risk and we need to back our instincts, luck on getting it right. I rather dissect the interviews through my baggages and see if it’s a worthwhile hypothesis.
Role: I don’t know how one can join an organisation based on the role description alone. In the joining desperation it’s quite possible that everything about the role can sound convincing, I hired a senior person once for a role. I told him it was a tough and thankless role and there was a lot of crap he had to clean up? Once he came on board he started to moan that it’s more complex than I had described and my battles with him to convince that we have discussed this before sounded in vain. Obviously we eventually separated. On the other hand hiring organisations can get very romantic about describing the role while hiring, especially if the role is newly created one. The romance may last like honeymoons in marriage and the reality will strike faster. There might be too many caveats attached to the romantic part of the role leading to lack of take offs. Most of these assumptions on roles happen during Interviews.

The supervisor’s angle is even more interesting. All of us have a unique way to represent ourselves in our first and second meetings. Some of us are blatantly transparent. If we are having trouble with our current boss, this aspect becomes very important to determine. My first interview during my entry to one of my employers is now worth remembering. Shaun my interviewer used to throw questions at me and when I start answering he would start working on his laptop. As irritated as I got with his behavior I would continue to answer. The whole thirty minutes of interview went about like that. Then he called me again a week later in short notice only to make me wait for an hour; But I got interviewed by Charu who had no role in my assessment but was the filler as the ‘to be boss’ got busy.

A month later I was working in another city when I got a frantic call saying I need to come next day without fail to collect my offer. I took leave from my employer and landed up in office only to be told that I needed to meet one more person. I was desperate; I ignored my interview experiences with my boss and joined the company after that round of interview. I realised later that this boss of mine was famous for not looking at reportees who stood in front of him for solutions unless they were from the opposite gender. He never had any time for reportees and was always busy with his so called work and attended to us when his Boss visited us. I was lucky, soon enough he got promoted and I had a new boss who turned the tables for me. But there were enough hints during the interview which I ignored which could have turned costly in a not so friendly job market those days, Today when I call meetings with my DRs and they start staring at Laptops they make me go nostalgic about my ex-boss
Culture is equally fuzzy.

In the era of lack of emails or mobiles it was more difficult to evaluate this, was unimaginable. My sad story now; I was without a job between my first and second job for three months. I attended many interviews (including 3M, Café Coffee Day) and never got selected, don’t know why! I thought in spite of my ugly nose, I was this handsome, energetic well-dressed youth, sufficiently trained by a fortune 500 Pharma company for a good time. Then I attended a walk in interview for area manager’s role in an Indian Pharma company famous for antibiotics.

After waiting from 930 to 1430 at their lobby without water or food, a bunch of people pretended to interview me. They asked me for my achievements, when I listed them they said it’s not possible as they felt they were the market leaders in that territory. They started to debate among themselves on this topic; one of them even placed a call in front of me to the dealer in that territory to verify the sales figures I had quoted.

This drama went on for 45 minutes, then they declared they were hungry and lunch break for themselves, they walked away promising to debate further on return. The hapless receptionist who was managing these nerds and hungry aspirants like us since morning walked in and asked me to clear the room to spread the lunch for these hard working professionals. So at 315 PM, I walked out of their office in search of lunch, but unknowingly my bike got the message, it took me home and I never walked back to entertain the Best Pharma professionals I could have worked with.

I remembered couple of their names recently and to satisfy my ego searched them in Google and linked in. They seem to have disappeared from this planet. My theory is that they never emerged out of that culturally enriched room I saw them last for Google to find them. Maybe they are still in there fighting.


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