Why Not Interview Jobs as Well as People?
Note: Caution—the following is fanciful satire and parody, but, like all satire, with a point, or two.
Of course, recruiters solicit and vet jobs, much in the same way they solicit and vet resumes. It’s smart and necessary to carefully screen both job seekers and jobs posted, and one of the powerful tools utilized in this process is the interview. So, why not interview jobs as well as job seekers?
Ideally, screening a job seeker means a face-to-face at some point. Well, why not a face-to-face with a short-listed job? Presumably, the line of questioning and response should be similar. Right? Mmmm….maybe….but then, maybe not.
So, imagining that jobs, like Alice-in-Wonderland chess pieces making moves or playing cards on the verge of a deal, can talk, what would an interview with one be like?
Recruiter: “Welcome. Have a seat. So, tell me, why do you want to be filled by one of our short-listed job candidates and why would that be a good fit?”
Job: “Well, even though I haven’t been filled in quite some time—I’ve stayed sharp, kept my job description fresh by updating it and remain highly motivated to succeed. As for the fit, I’ve carefully reviewed and evaluated a number of candidates, and feel that those you’ve short-listed possess the right mix of skills, experience and motivation to ensure substantial contributions to our success. On the flip side, I believe I can offer the right compensation package, work-life balance for them and opportunities for advancement.”
Recruiter: “You know that a prolonged hiatus—going unfilled for a substantial time— does raise some flags and questions. But we aren’t as extreme as those recruiters who won’t interview any job that has been unfilled for some time or who, in the most extreme case, won’t interview a job that isn’t currently filled. Nonetheless, can you explain this recent hiatus of 3 months, according to your posted date?”
Job: “I lost my last job holder because he was head-hunted and was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. But you’ll see in my references that my job-description review was first-rate, that I’ve got great recommendations from my company and that the previous job holder was continuously employed at me for five years. The current hiatus is, I think, more of a consequence of my high standards than of weak demand for me or any shortcoming relative to the market—much as a prolonged period of unemployment for a job seeker may more accurately reflect his or her selectiveness than any professional shortcomings.”
Recruiter: “Well, your posting is otherwise very impressive and you do come highly recommended by management—a good mix of authority and responsibility, attractive salary, ample opportunities for professional growth; but, we have a number of other very impressive job postings. So, why should we select you?”
Job: “First of all, I’m a team-player job. This means value-added synergy if I’m chosen. That should make me very attractive to team players on your short list. I’m also very well organized and detail-oriented. For example, as you can see from my job description, interfaces with other departments’ jobs are well-articulated, with full details, as are the job-holder duties and authorizations, not to mention parking, gym, cafeteria and other perk details. Above all, I have a positive, proactive, “can-do” attitude: When the pressure is on, I say, “OK! Let’s roll up the employee’s sleeves and get him to get us done!”
Recruiter: “I understand how losing an employee can happen—as it did in your case. But under what circumstances would you initiate the employee departure? In other words, it’s one thing to have an employee quit you; but what about employee termination? When would you want an employee terminated?”
Job: “Well, among the main factors would be a failure to grow and advance. In their interviews, job seekers always talk about wanting a job that offers room for growth and opportunities for advancement. As a job, I feel the same way: If the employee fails to grow and instead stagnates, I’ll interpret that as either employee failure to keep up with our development, an inability to inspire us jobs to grow and develop, or as an unhealthy inducement for us to stagnate as well. At that point, it’s time to job for another look.”
Recruiter: “I see that you are looking for candidates with 4 Ph.D.s, a commercial pilot’s license and command of six languages. Has no one suggested that your expectations may be somewhat unrealistic?”
Job: “If job applicants can rationalize their unrealistic expectations by packaging them as a ‘commitment to excellence’, ‘healthy ambition’ and ‘self-confidence’ or ‘earned rewards’, it’s only fair that we jobs get to do the same thing, and balance their high expectations with ours.”
Recruiter: “Speaking of expectations, if you aren’t filled as a full-time job, would you consider becoming an unpaid internship?”
Job: “Well, even though I’m happy to save the company money and am certain that having an intern would provide valuable job experience for me and the intern, I’d have to say ‘no’.”
Recruiter: Why’s that?
Job: “It’s a matter of reputation. On the one hand, it might be thought that an opening that’s an internship must be superior and classy, since people are expected to do it for nothing, hence, expensive in terms of what it costs the intern in largely uncompensated labor; on the other hand, it makes us jobs and our companies look cheap in the second sense—namely, too cheap or poor to pay a decent, if not impressive salary. It’s like the ambiguity every unpaid intern faces: either the position is top-shelf or the employer or the job isn’t, with only the most desperate being willing to take it.
In the case of us jobs, either we are the elite or our companies and we are anything but. I just couldn’t handle the cocktail party ambiguity: “Oh! You’re an internship?” I mean, I can imagine how uneasy interns in bars feel when they hear “Oh! You’re an intern?” That’s even worse than hearing, “Oh! You’re unemployed!” or, in my case, “Oh! You’re still unfilled!”
Recruiter: How’s that?
Job: Because everybody will think we’re lazy or just making excuses when we say that we just haven’t found the right one.
Recruiter: Are you otherwise willing to pay at least the mandated minimum wage?
Job: Sure, as long as I’m not the job that gets cut to reduce costs.
Recruiter: Do you have any questions?
Job: Just one…Will your job have any say in whether I get filled?
[Read more in Interview]
Michael Moffa, writer for Recruiter.com, is a former editor and writer with China Daily News, Hong Kong edition and Editor-in-chief, Business Insight Japan Magazine, Tokyo; he has also been a columnist with one of Japan’s national newspapers,The Daily Yomiuri, and a university lecturer (critical thinking and philosophy).