Recently, I received an offer from a company that shall remain nameless. Now, as we all do, I wanted to negotiate my package. To my surprise, they wanted to negotiate through the search firm who, naturally, were keen to close the deal as quickly as possible.
When I asked to speak to the CEO, to whom I would have reported to had I joined, they were surprised. The CEO, when he spoke to me, was rude and obnoxious on the phone. Until that time, he was the epitome of politeness. The gloves came off pretty quickly! Anyway, I turned down the offer, as I decided that I did not want to work for someone who was going to be polite so long as I agreed with him. This would have been a very bad working relationship. I am quite sure that I burned my bridges with the search firm as well. They would have got a talking to from their client. I don’t think that they did a very good job of representing the firm, or me.
Now, this got me thinking about interviews, about why people leave companies and other such topics. They say, and there are tomes that have been written about this, that people leave managers, but they join companies. True, but not 100% true. They also join people. If they don’t like the look of the people who are interviewing them, especially the person to whom they will report to, in all probability, they will turn down the offer.
When I was a young interviewer, I was quite brash in my approach, as I assumed that everyone wanted to join the company that I was working for. This attitude changed mid way through my corporate career. I was in a company, in India and in China, where we had to effect a turn around. Our company, while well respected globally, was not that well respected in these countries. I found my whole approach to interviewing changing.
I learned that, while the interviewee was putting his/her best foot forward, I too had to give them a good reason to join. Was I on time? If I had committed to pay for their expenses, then did I fulfill that promise? Were they well treated while waiting for the interview? Was the process quick and transparent? Did I outlay a good vision for my business, something that would excite them? Did I give them sufficient time to ask questions, without displaying impatience?
I found that I needed to answer these questions for myself, before I went in to interview someone. The fact is, that the interview process is the start of a potentially long partnership between the company, hiring manager, and candidate. If a company person, through acts of arrogance, makes a mess of the hiring process, the scars stay. Memories tend to take a long time to die.
A badly conducted interview, one that is conducted with arrogance, does reflect poorly not only on the interviewer, but also on the company. After all, the interviewer represents the company, and the candidate cannot, at that point, know that there may be some really good people in the organization.
I joined the Nutritional Division of my last company. I was not keen to join the company, but when I met the people, I was impressed by the sheer passion that they had for their business. That was enough reason for me to join. This passion, I found, was genuine, and in all my years in this organization, I retained my fondness for my Division, as it was – is – filled with a bunch of really good people.
When you have really good people, who are committed to the business and the people, they represent the company well in any forum.
And this, is invaluable.