Professionally unprofessional

An umpteenth company rejected my application for a job today. No surprises for me. Most of the times I go to companies to get rejected. Anyway, I’m narrating you a sequence of events of my job interview an extremely professional IT company (as they are known outside. They are US based) and their unprofessional ways when it comes to rejecting.

Nov. 3 2008: I receive a call from the recruitment manager of this ‘professional company’ where I’m breifed about the role and screened for a skill sets match. I’m called for a personal round the next day.

Nov. 4 2008: I reach there at the stipulated time only to find the recruiting manager out of office. I’m told he is on his way and some one else will attend you. Then after waiting for half an hour and repeated reminders, some other HR personnel asks me to appear for a test. I protest but agree to take it. Following the test, I’m interviewed by some guy, who I identify as a sales executive. I wonder, if I’m being hired as a manager, why is a junior guy interviewing me? Finally I get to meet the recruitment manager of this ‘professional company’ who makes me fill out a form and tells me that they will get back to me in 2 days.

Nov. 7 2008: I write the manager back, asking for a polite feed back. ON the same day evening, he sends me an email saying I was rejected and apologises for it. I’m obviously surprised, but ask him a feedback as to what went wrong.

Nov. 10 2008: I get a mail from the same manager telling me they found my English inappropiate. I’m surprised. Upon asking, he tells me that its not how ‘Americans’ like it. I thank him and feel that I was indeed lucky.

Nov. 13 2008: I get a call from the same manager from the ‘professional company’ offering me a second chance to qualify myself. I decide to honor the call for a good will, but clarify the profile before hand. I’m called the next day.

Nov. 14 2008: This time I ned up waiting for an hour before I’m given a chance to improve upon my earlier test. On asking, I’m told that the test is the part of the recruitment process. (Basically it required me to compile answers to questions featuring in a typical proposal document. It also had a creative writing section.) I’m again told that they will get back to me.

Nov. 27 2008: AFter few reminder mails and two calls, I finally hear from the ‘professional company’. The manager tells me that I will get a call from a director based in Bangalore, India. He calls on the same day. We spend another 85 minutes on phone discussing about me, about the role, the company, global market, recession etc. Finally he says I’m shortlisted and I shall hear from the HR shortly. I dont!

Dec. 8 2008: After umpteenth reminder, I get to know that I was rejected. No reasons given, no explanations offered.

After a month long procedure, I was told I’m not suitable. To be very frank, I didn’t understand what they were assessing in me. I feel I was hard done by so called ‘professional company’

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Selecting the right job

PS: This is going to be a long post.

I recently posted a question on the linkedin network not knowing that I would get such an over whelming response. I have come across many people who have a yes-no situation when it comes to accepting the right role. I thought probably the visitors of my blog might as well benefit from the suggestion I got. So here is my question:

How do you decide a job or a role is right or wrong for you?
Explanation: I’m a sales strategy and presales guy with some expertise in outsourcing services and IT. Frankly speaking I have rejected more job offers than companies who have rejected me and decided not to offer. But there have been too many such instances in the recent past. The main reason is my inability to decide and go for a job/role. While I know what I want to become in the long run, I’m not able to decide what should I be looking at in terms of a company or a role. I seek help to over come this dilemma from my connects.

Here are some of the responses:

Vijay Reddy, Executive HR at Infosys:- Clarify what you are.Then every thing follows.First set an expectation for you which makes you to choose your role.

Soundara Rajan Srinivasan, Director at a Fortune 50 MNC:- Here are some criteria you could use to decide whether a particular job role is suited to you or not:
1. Do you really a passion for the kind of work that you will be expected to perform in the role you are offered
2. Do you think the job or role is worth your time and values that you personally care for
3. Does the job meet your long term goals or will it help you meet your long term goals
Pretty simple is it not?

Subhashish Paul, Sr. Executive at MGL:- Hi Mayur,
1) To decide whether a job or a role is right or wrong you have to do the fundamental analysis for yourself – SWOT! I am sure by now you know what are your strengths and weaknesses so the nest step is to see where is it that you want to go with your career (i mean what is that you want to do). There is a difference between what you are currently doing and what you “wish” to be doing. Something like asking yourself what is your passion?! For example, my passion is marketing and pre sales. So the next time you are being offered a job role think about if the job role is in line with what you want to do for the next 3-5 years (You can’t just keep changing jobs. Its better you pick a job that you like so that you stick to it for sometime).

2) A job offers – role, pay, location and brand name. Now you have to set your priorities and work towards these four parameters! Seldom will you get all the four parameters in a offer. So set your priorities first and this will in turn help you to choose the job that you are looking for!

Hope the inputs helped.

Phil Lidster, a consultant in knowledge management:- Hello Mayur
I might be reading more into your question than I should. But are you seeing any new job role as simply a means to an end? – “…I know what I want to become in the long run, I’m not able to decide what should I be looking at in terms of a company or a role.”.

Clearly there is a lot to be said for having long term goals, but sometimes these can be restrictive. You might be capable of achieving a lot more than you imagine. If you take a job that will give you work that you enjoy, in a company that allows you to develop your talents, who knows where it might lead? Why not go for work that you truly enjoy and find fufilling?

Best of luck

Abi Stevens, Client Management Executive at People Smart Consultants:- Personally speaking a majority of professionals choose an assignment based on face value and not taking into account the relevant contributions that could be enacted out during the tenure of employment. But given the volatility of markets today, every call made on a potential employment swap could see one make or break one’s career path.

Frankly speaking, total dedication to one’s current role in order to build up a net worth would add value to take one’s candidature beyond white paper.

But then again if already into a seemingly bad call, it would only pay to wait and be opportunistic on a sound cut. My comment would be, to be absolutely sure of what you have done thus far and build up on your key abilities to harness your acquired expertise.

Natalie Reeve from Polkadotfrog Ltd:- You’re obviously in a very lucky position (i.e. not so desperate for cash that you’ll settle for any old job), so make the most of it as long as you can afford it! When the right job comes along you’ll know; it’ll offer you all the progression you need to become what you want to be, and your future boss will share the same ideas for your career path (even if it’s doing his/her job in 5-10 years time!).

It’s possible – hang in there, make sure you keep your eyes open and don’t miss it when that perfect opportunity becomes available!

Monica Begum, Journalist:- If you detect even the slightest degree of resistance, let that be a clear sign this ain’t the right path for you.

John S. Rajeski, International Business Development Executive:- Good day Mayur,
Check out ‘Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters’ and/or ‘What Color is Your Parachute’ – two excellent career development resources.
Regards,
John S. Rajeski

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Guerrilla-Marketing-Job-Hunters-Unconventional/dp/047…
http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-2009/dp/1580089305/ref=sr_1…
http://rajeski.com/

Josie Summa, Principal Consultant at Redmond Consulting:- It’s quite ironic that you are in sales, yet you have trouble “buying.” Your problem is not knowing what it is you want to buy.

Decide where you want to be in 5 or 10 years and then decide what skills you will need in your toolbox to fulfill that role. Once you do this, develop several quantifiable criteria for judging any new job opportunty. If the opportunity meets the criteria and “scores” well, then by accepting the job, you are one step closer to your long term goal (only you can decide the “go/no-go” score).

Good luck!

——–

I hope these inputs will be useful who have a dilemma in selecting the right job or a role.

Me and job offers

Yesterday, a distant friend called me up and asked if I could refer him for a sales job in some company. He was even willing to do door to door sales. Sadly, he was a victim of lay offs from an MNC, thanks to latest crash of American economy (I know the economy hasn’t crashed. But I’m optimistic) :mrgreen:

Interestingly, he was the same guy who mocked at my luck saying how incompetent I was to crack job interviews at multi million dollar corporations with 10,000 goats tied at different desks. Well, and he came to me yesterday because the same company no longer needed him. So much for a secure job 🙂

Its not about him, there are enough other people who ask me why did I change 4 jobs or why haven’t I worked with big brand names. I have a simple answer, we couldn’t get along. I have a goal for me. And I try to align that goal with the organization who considers me or employs me. If I feel the mismatch, I don’t go there or I leave them. I can not work with people who are just working or sitting in their offices for the heck of doing it. Such are the people who dwarf the growth of the company. And I have no time to waste on morons. Life is too short, I need to learn a lot and climb to where my destiny lies.

Quoting a recent experience with a CFO of a mid sized (by their definition) company. Right from the moment he said hello to me, he was down right rude from the word go. He had a problem with me switching jobs. He had a lady who called herself the HR head of company. And then poor fellow me was grilled and stressed, almost coerced to accept that by working in a company for only a year, I behaved in an unethical manner. Because I just gained whatever knowledge I wanted to and moved on. I some how knew all my explanations would fall flat on the table. So I said this, “Mr. <snip>, forget my ethics… you run an off shore software development shop. Are you not stealing jobs of innocent Americans? Is it ethical?” Bingo! The old man was taken aback. It was his turn to explain. He said most of the Americans drop out of college because its a culture there. Hence they don’t get literate resources blah blah! … And hence we are not doing any thing unethical. I said fine. Now as the interview progressed, we argued on some more things. Then came the time to throw my hot blow. I asked him why couldn’t we Indians build a Firefox or a Chrome. At his explaining best, he told me how we Indians are brought up in a culture which is service oriented. He went on and said that some American geeks conceive the products, write core architecture and send the non core activities to us. Why can’t we do it? because we are not brought up in an environment to think out of the box… they are.

Now for the knockout punch: I said Mr <snip> you just now said that there is a shortage of brainy resources in America. Now you are saying they develop the product and we provide services because we can’t conceive products. Are you not contradicting yourself? He was pissed off… and there went my offer letter. 🙂

PS: For the record, I have rejected more jobs than people who rejected me in interviews. I wish some day I find a perfect match.

Read the offer document carefully before accepting

Okay I must admit that I totally suck when it comes to negotiating salary. Twice before I have been tricked into a low salary and complex salary structure. As a normal job hungry guy, I would quote a CTC and I was almost always fooled. (PS: For the sake of my self esteem, I must tell you that till date 14 companies have offered me a job at various positions. I’m in my fourth job right now…anyway). I never knew that HR guys are smart enough to add Employers contribution of PF to the salary. Whoa! Good thinking, which actually ends up reducing my salary. There are many such things, and you actually end up earning almost 25-30% lesser salary than what you anticipate.

So since I have enough experience of handling (read tumbling into) such situations, let me give you some tips.

  1. Read the document first. Check the components, there must be a basic salary, HR, Medical and other allowances such as telephone, vehicle, etc. Ask the HR which are all reimbursable and how do you do that (its normally by submitting bills).
  2. Most of the companies allow you to decide the break up, so ask for this. In case you are confident of producing bills, ask them to keep your basic salary to the minimum for your post and increase the billable allowances (Mobile, HR, Vehicle etc.). Do the vice versa if you can’t produce bills.
  3. Opt for food coupons. They are good.
  4. Most of us are not aware that taking PF is not compulsory. You can opt out of it is you have other better investment instruments (ELSS funds, Fixed deposits, PPF, Interest on home+education loans etc.)
  5. LTA is not compulsory too, but as most of us travel to a distant location at least once a year, leave it as it is.
  6. Make sure you keep the variable component to minimum. Also ask a procedure for disbursement of such amount, cross check with some one you know in the company.
  7. DO NOT fall prey to assured bonuses and service agreements (bond). I would say a firm no. By the way these bonds are one sided. They can only take you to the arbitrator. You can not be sued or jailed. No one can even force you to pay the money too.
  8. Most important: If you think you are worth X, quote X+3 and negotiate hard so that you get at least X+1. Always look for 50% rise, so that even if it comes down by half, you have a good bet.

I have fallen prey to every thing above. So now a days I have started asking the net take home component of the salary. Sadly, people think I ask too much  😀