My friend noted that I have been particularly prolific lately with my blog posts. Some of it is that one cycle of interviewing is nearing an end so I haven’t been doing as much work to apply for roles. I should and I am doing it intermittently. But the emotional investment of interviewing, especially if you feel strongly for a role (or in some cases, maybe don’t feel so strongly) can be exhausting.
Today’s post is also rather fluffy. But it was something that I thought about and so I thought it would be a neat tidbit for today.
My friend adopted a dog recently (from the shelter) and I have been at her place a couple of times to see her and also observe the dog. I forget how old the dog is (I’m going to guess a couple of years old) but the dog was found wandering the streets and that is how she ended up at the shelter. My friend and her husband adopted the dog and she said that within weeks, the dog started exhibiting her more natural behavior. She was easily agitated and showed a particular fondness for older Asian ladies and anger towards young Asian people (which as you can imagine was just great for me). They conjectured that the dog had been owned by an older Asian woman and might have been mistreated by her young relatives. They’ve worked a lot with the dog but she still gets rattled by stimulus (like the doorbell), is anxious around strangers, doesn’t like to be petted and is very territorial/protective of the female owner.
I asked my friend, had she known of some of these behavioral things in advance, whether she would still have adopted this particular dog. And if memory serves me correctly, I think she reluctantly admitted that she probably would not have. She also explained to me her thoughts on the pet adoption process which I thought were really interesting and related to the recruiting process. She said that a shelter is a very unnatural environment. In essence, it’s a doggy jail. And in this very sterile, understimulating environment, an animal becomes a very subdued version of itself. When it goes home with an owner and has the chance to unwind, that is when the animal begins to present itself as it normally is. I thought this was very interesting insight.
I thought about this when I was sitting in my interviews earlier this week. Interviews are an unnaturally sterile environment. You are sitting in a quiet room having an intense 1/2 to one hour conversation. You’re wearing a suit (which if you live in the SF Bay area is super unnatural). And I think what is the most unnatural about the situation is the hypothetical nature of everything being discussed. If this happened, what would you do.
If you are the job seeker, you want to get “adopted” so of course you are going to say what you need to say to get the job. And frankly, on the side of the employer: I think they know in advance who they want. Call it culture or whatever you want. I think the yay-or-nay already exists and regardless of what you say sometimes, the deal has already been sealed. So even if you show a couple of small red flags, they have already fallen in love with you (you fluffy adorable thing you) and nothing that they see will change that (or vice versa– no amount of tricks is going to help you make the sale if you are already on their cut-list).
It’s when you are in the home/on the job that you relax and unwind and start really being you. I think that there’s a stat that says that 1 out of every 5 employees is a regretted hire. In other words: if you look at yourself and four other employees, the company wishes it hadn’t hired one of you. (Incidentally, this test is fun to do when you are at work. Look at five employees and try to figure out which one would be the regretted hire. I’m not even kidding you, everyone always agrees on who it should be. There is always that one employee that everyone agrees is the dud.) So it’s just kind of frustrating b/c recruiting is a seemingly controlled process but one with flawed results regardless.
To end this, I should mention that there are some things in place to aid in the accuracy of recruiting process, namely the reference check and the test. Reference checks are, I think, much more potent these days since you can also verify identity on LinkedIn. My friend told me a story about giving a potential employer his friend’s name and phone number for a reference check on a job in the late 1990s/early 2000’s. Like– literally his buddy from high school who took the phone call and sang his praises. Yes, young Millennials who may be reading this, life was so very different before the internet.
I also am a big proponent of a test or case interview in the recruiting process. I should mention here that I take standardized tests like a muthafucka. Love them. Being a type A, overachiever, I like nothing more than objective, quantifiable proof that I am THE BEST. Recently, I was talking to a hiring manager who needs someone who is a solid writer to join her team. She carefully toed the subject of possibly giving me a writing assignment to complete. She seemed apologetic but in my head I was like “Yay! Gimme!” Maybe I’m a masochist (I think a lot of overachievers are) but I was really excited to complete that writing sample. It was kind of the highlight of my week.
So that’s it from me. Happy Thursday, everybody!