Hints and Tips: more productive than Good vs. Bad

Subject: Hints and Tips: more productive than Good vs. Bad
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 10:26:30 -0600

It strikes me that any blackball list/good list/bad list/whatever
list is at best potentially misleading (and litigious) and at worst
completely unfair both to the company and job seeker.

Because of turnover, particularly in high-tech companies,
there's likely to be little or no consistency between experiences
only a few months apart. Similarly, as others have pointed
out, a single manager or buyout can make a world of difference.
Additionally, companies that are large enough that the president
doesn't know everyone are large enough that different
employees will have distinctly different experiences.
And finally, unless you know the situation of others who
have commented on the company, you can't reasonably
evaluate their comments.

Just as an example, I very candidly slammed my previous
employer to a very good friend who was considering
going to work there. I made no bones about how excited
I was to be leaving. However, the issues that irked me
were just the ticket for her, and the issues that I thought
were great were irrelevant to her. However, because she
KNEW what my situation was, she was able to see past what
otherwise would have been just a resounding indictment of
the company. She's been there for a year and is really
happy with it.

What would, I think, be a much more productive approach
to this issue, would be to share ways to learn what you need
to know about companies as well as contract clauses to
seek out or eliminate.

Here's a start:
* If you interview at a company and think that
they like you and that you might like working there, make
contact with _current_ writers in the same department. Call,
e-mail, or fax and find a way to meet with them outside of
a work environment. (Reasonably loyal employees will
NOT provide the straight scoop at work, particularly if
they're on the interviewing team.)
* Don't ask good/bad questions -- they put the employee in
an untenable situation. Ask for descriptions of processes and
events. For example, "tell me about working with the developers."
"Hypothetically, you need the latest and newest versions
of three different software packages -- how do you go about
getting them and what do you have to do."
* Talk with contractors in the same department (either current
or recently departed). They'll be more candid and less loyal
to the company party line and will likely have useful insight
to the way the company really works. Tip: If the company
treats contractors as disposable commodities (or as employees
without benefits), watch out. Also, slow pays in the contractor
department likely relate to slow reimbursement for travel
or expenses. Tip2: If a multimillion dollar company expects you
to loan them (effectively) the money for business trips for
more than a couple of weeks, there's something wrong. They
should reimburse you by the time you get the corporate AmEx

Other ideas?


Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner http://www.raycomm.com/

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