Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Work Life: Interviews, 2 Week Notice, pay rate, double standards

For me whenever I get a call from a headhunter, there are always a couple questions that always bother me. First is what is my rate and second is when I am available.

Sure I have a good idea approximately what my rate is. I've tried both delaying and providing exact rates. I do not get any follow-ups if a rate is not provided. This year, most have also given me the client's rate when I provided mine. Interestingly, they always provided me a number $5 / hour more than whatever number I choose. So this is kind of suspicious to me.

The main reason I do not want to give me rate is because I put a lot of weight on the interest of the work. If the industry is interesting, the project is interesting, and work environment is promising, I may want to provide a lower rate. I feel that part of the rate being higher is because I end up doing certain work that I do not enjoy doing (which I found that few other people would like to do).

But I think the sad reality is that employers no longer think that way about hiring. They say they want to be like a family, but they really just see a family of cogs and widgets. We're all replaceable and might as well just pay a higher rate because most employers think we enjoy job hopping.

Because they think we enjoy job hopping, they all think we can all just leave with a two week notice. I have definitely noticed that headhunters interest drops when they ask when I will be available. Providing any amount of time greater than a month, and I never hear from them again. Not one has ever returned a call (yet another headhunter from the same firm will still contact me).

I just do not understand why they always aim for 2 weeks (and some are obviously in need of immediate starts). Yes, there are some companies that need to hire quickly. But I really blame their poor management for being in that position. These are also the types of companies I want to avoid.

I have found the groups that I worked with that requires immediate hires to be poorly managed. The manager has trouble delegating work. The group has way more work and never have enough time to work on projects. This does not even address time for process improvement. They just keep doing the same thing until the entire department is revamped which typically means large layoff.

It may not be the direct manager's fault. They could be strapped by budget or upper management does not agree that they need a larger head count. Either way, there is something wrong somewhere in the management level.

Even then, they complain about the poor quality hires (which I also agree most of the time). But how is that unexpected? You give one phone interview and one in-person interview. The person is provided no time to consider if this is a good fit for them either.

Not only that, you provide a scenario that is primarily fits people who are out of work. Most of those people are not top of the crop which is why they are out of work. I know there are some due to mass layoffs, but the top (by definition) is not a lot. So the very nature of the interview process is nearly impossible for people who value a good fit who are currently employed.

I think headhunters (at least the cold-calling ones since I am rarely proactive searching for work) do a terrible job in selling this to their clients. They just target filling the position with the shortest amount of time. I hope that corporate recruiters work much differently.

Maybe I am wrong and I do not see the "whole" picture, but even just reading comments from recruiters or HR employees on sites like LinkedIn on interviewing or hiring articles give me even less hope. They primarily argue that there is another scenario which rarely is a win for either the client or recruit. They just see the opening as something to be filled... ASAP. They just do not see that the problem is that they need to fill the spot ASAP.

"It simply isn't feasible to allow the job to sit there waiting for a month, especially when there are 4 or 5 people that could fill it tomorrow. It would be lovely to get told by a client I have 6 months to find the right person to fill a job, but that simply isn't feasible, and frequently completely illogical."

One month is just not feasible? Most companies cannot even tell they need to fire someone after 3 months (typical probation period of time). That is with them in almost constant access and view of the employee.

At the same time, they are worried giving too much time allows candidates to hoard open positions? This is not a problem for the company, this is a problem for recruiters. Why do they want to rush the candidate? If he finds a better fit, why do want to keep them? To rush a hire, I believe recruiters, company, or hiring manager, are inexperienced and not worth the effort by people who have already been burned by this very process.

This is why getting jobs through people you know is still so successful. I think the problem with the recruiting industry is that they are trying to keep a self-sustaining industry by encouraging high turn-over rates. What is the incentives for them to find the perfect fit for their clients? They mask it with what seems like complex problems and social complexities.

Even with all this, recruiters/headhunters/hiring managers all stack the deck against the candidates. Why should they get more than 2 weeks? Tell us your rates. Give us more information. While they sit in a situation where they can shop multiple candidates. They know all the variables, yet deny candidates their due diligence to know what other companies can also offer.

Candidates only look for work about once a year at most on average. I think the average today is around 2-3 years. Yet, headhunters work with candidates every single day. Where is the fairness in that?

To the future me looking for new work... stand-up for your own values. Do not let headhunters threaten you. You should have the time to consider all variables. If they say the offer is only available for less than what you are comfortable with, then do not consider the offer. If this threat is caused by a sudden need, then their is something wrong with management. If not a sudden need, then they are trying to get you as cheep as possible before another company is willing to pay more.