OT: Recruiting—Fooled Again!

Subject: OT: Recruiting—Fooled Again!
From: Chris Morton <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2013 10:06:56 -0700

I'm left kicking myself for falling into this trap—again—whereby a
recruiter lures me in only to attempt to make broad gashes in my
self-esteem. Fortunately, with God's help I'm secure in who I am and am not
devastated by the end result; financially I'm thankful I'm not left
commiserating over an $8,000 salary increase and an equity stake that may
or may not line my coffers come an IPO or buyout at some future date. (The
recruiter knew I had 20+ years' experience, so did the company think they
were considering a 40-year-old?)

Being 100% business finance-oriented (as it relates to the cloud cost
mgmt), the company looked to be very intense and, in some ways, uptight—not
a a cozy feeling for a seasoned tech writer who easily slides between
marcom (right-brain) and engineering (left-brain). Last Thursday my first
clue was their primary office suite door, marked only with a *NO
SOLICITING* sticker.
Upon entering I was directed into a dingy "conference room"—a tiny place
stuffed with an over-sized table and one of two ceiling lights either not
functioning or not turned on. It was dreary. The first three interviewers
were each very amiable and complimentary (but younger). The VP, however,
struck me as a cold fish, devoid of personality. His stark office was
wholly undecorated save for two family pictures on a credenza.

In retrospect, the place looked like an FBI sting operation, where
unsuspecting targets could be lured in and, afterward, the operation could
vamoose in mere minutes, leaving no trace. (The only evidence the company
exists is a web site, some ancillary web reviews and some signage in the
office—all easily staged.)

After passing the initial interview with the local guys and learning that
the company "was intrigued by" me, over the weekend I got an
URGENT—URGENT—E-*MER*-GEN-CY! request from the recruiter to participate in
a Skype interview with a remote systems engineer (read: the real hiring
person). In retrospect, there is no reason we couldn't have interviewed by
phone—something upon which I should have insisted since the position is for
a backroom technical writer, not a customer-facing company representative
where a fresh appearance might make a difference. I was set up to fail.

The SE did most of the talking during my allotted half-hour interview, so
there is no way he could accurately assess my ability to write
documentation to his specs during our conversation. Rather, like Dick Nixon
I sense the camera did me an injustice and killed my chances within the
first two minutes—even though I had taken care to set the stage and had
been cognizant of my body language for the duration.
On account of glare I had decided to not wear my glasses; in the end I
believe that this only served to reveal the deep circles under my eyes,
making me appear much older than I am. And just how does someone get 20+
years experience across a broad spectrum of technical writing? Not by
wearing a hoodie to an interview!

> Chris
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