As many of my Twitter followers will know, I interviewed for a job on Monday afternoon and was very excited about the opportunity. Â I was not chosen to progress to the next round of interviewing and I’m somewhat crushed by that. Â The painful part is the reason I was given for the rejection. Â But 1st, some background.
The target organisation is a popular Australian company, established by 3 friends around 10 years ago, and does at least 90% of it’s business Internet facing. Â It’s grown quite large since then, but they claim to have kept the DotCom feel to the organisation and placed a large emphasis on their “Values” during the interview. Â The values are: Honesty, Ownership, Teamwork, and Passion. Â I was specifically instructed to address all of these values in my answers during the interview, and I thought I did rather well. Â Keep in mind here, that to even be considered for interviewing I was required to have had 8+ years of serious Systems Engineering experience on Internet facing and corporate systems and had to pass the qualifying interview from the recruiter.
The point of contention arose from one of those “Do you have any questions for us?” moments. Â I asked what the policy or position was regarding discussing my prospective new employer and broad details of day-to-day activities on “new media” such as blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. Â As this is evidently where it all went wrong…
Their 1st response was to presume that I wanted to spend my day blogging or tweeting, followed very quickly by repeated concerns regarding client confidentiality, trade secrets, product launch schedules and similar. Â I was staggered and tried in vain to steer the conversation back to the Honesty, Ownership and Passion values they had just been espousing.
- Honesty: blogging, etc giving a genuine and human face to the organisation
- Ownership: admitting mistakes, taking credit, and being proud of my work
- Passion: exhibiting pride in my employer, our work, enticing more clients to the sites, etc
After some further discussion This is where I left it and felt the gaff had been resolved, but no. Â The recruiter’s feedback to me was that they thought I was a security risk, wouldn’t fit well with the team (of 3), and would be “troublesome to manage”. Â I don’t know of anyone who could have worked in the corporate, government, or financial spaces without learning a few things about non-disclosure agreements and keeping secrets. Â I have to seriously wonder what has happened in the past to have them respond this way…
And this is where I don’t get it: for a dotcom-survivor they just don’t understand Web2.0. Â There are a multitude of examples where staff can provide the human element without revealing too much information, and generating real interest in the organisation and it’s people. Â Hey, even Robert Scoble abrasive as he can be, did wonders for Microsoft’s public image in the years he was there. Â And *many* finer examples are still coming out of the Microsoft wood-work! Â Surely the potential positives that come from the efforts of honest, hard-working, passionate staff connecting with clients in a meaningful way are obvious…?
Perhaps I’m missing something obvious? Â Please, can someone clue me up as it’s driving me insane. Â This is precisely the response I would expect from my current employer which is still largely stuck in the 70s and doesn’t understand much beyond web-sites as extended newspaper ads. Â But they are actually trying I guess…
Anyway, the process of writing this has beenÂ therapeuticÂ for me. Â I would dearly love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment here or checkÂ How to contact meÂ if you would like to make more private comments.
Thanks for listening, and Have Fun!
[Update: Oh, and none of the interviewers I dealt with seem to exist on LinkedIn, they have completely locked off their FaceBook profiles, no blogs, and Google is not their friend. Then again, that goes for all the staff we have interviewed for positions at my current employer… Am I wrong for expecting guru-level IT staff to have an Internet presence?]