Monday, March 03, 2008

Looking for a job

Well, I’m throwing myself back into the professional dating arena, aka looking for a new job. I’ve tarted up my CV, I’m checking out the singles sites and hoping to land a few dates soon.

It seems to me that job hunting is something that doesn’t come naturally to us coy and reserved Brits. I’m reluctant to big myself up too much. I find it all rather cringeworthy. I’m also pained to find myself saying things like, I’m passionate about the latest developments in the instructional design process or my primary focus is to become a first class dot net developer. Or whatever. I mean, these things are interesting and, if we’re good at them, they give us a bit of a buzz. But are we really passionately absorbed by them in the way that we claim we are?

What also surprises me in this recruitment process is the corporate speak we all seem to find ourselves using. Recruiters and recruitees alike… until we are recruited, at which point we return to normality and start to talk about developing the wotsit for the new server thingamajig. I was reminded of this earlier this week when my colleague was talking about a recent interview he went on. He was asked the standard, ‘why are you looking for a new job’ question. Instead of stating the truth: I’m a bit bored and my manager’s getting on my nerves; he pulled the old ‘career development’ clichés out the bag.

Just once, it would be refreshing to have a proper honest chat, from both sides, instead of the traditional interview game. Interestingly, the interview process for the job I currently do was the most effective and gruelling I have ever encountered. It went something like this:

Step one: Fill in online questionnaire
Step two: Complete test and answer questions by email
Step three: Write something that would typically be used for the role in question
Step four: Three hour test at the office, doing tasks that form part of the job
Step five: Three hour test doing more tasks, responding to feedback and finally having a chat with my prospective manager
Step six: Handing over my CV

At that point they were pretty sure I could do the job and I was positive that they were the right company for me. Although it takes a fair bit of time and effort, this is a great way of guaranteeing you get a good fit for the job. In fact, my current CEO has remarked that if you were recruiting a footballer on the basis of his ability to talk and answer questions – you wouldn’t end up with David Beckham!

It will be interesting to see how other companies handle the recruitment process and how things have changed in the past two years since I last went job cruising.

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