Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it...

I have a really interesting and possibly fun work assignment today...

We don't hire many people. The whole company is less than 40 people, and there is virtually no turnover, so it is rare that we hire anyone at all. When we do, it is an interview process that is probably more invasive than your average proctology exam. At some point, you meet everyone at the company. If you are married, your spouse is going to meet, at a minimum, the five partners and a couple of the more senior non-partners. It takes a while, and it is designed to ensure that we don't make bad hires. Everyone that is hired is done so with the expectation that they will never leave. Ever.

And we find people in a variety of ways. Often it is through the personal and professional networks of the people who work here. Sometimes, however, headhunters will send across a resume that looks interesting.

This happened last week. One of the partners was contacted by a headhunter who said that he had a great candidate...and the resume backs it up. It reads like a checklist of what we would look for in a new VP-level person. Great academic credentials, great work experience, fantastic deal list...etc.

One problem: the partners all think that he is grossly inflating his resume. If it were all 100% true, then they would certainly already know him...he works as a firm that a lot of my co-workers used to work at, and with which we do TONS of work.

Further, he lists a ton of deals that he has worked on, and several are them are things that we were involved (sometimes quite heavily) in. So...it seems sort of hard to imagine that no one here would remember coming across him.

So, I have been tasked with answering one simple question: Is this guy full of shit? I am meeting him today for his initial interview. He likely assumes that he is getting someone a little more senior than me, and will clearly be unaware that I have been prepped with totally loaded questions from my superiors intended to figure out if he is for real at all or not (things like..."Oh, XYZ corp...Bob Jones ran that for you guys, right?" to see if he correctly says "No, it was Bill Smith." Stuff like that).

On kind of this note...I have noticed that the partners often like me to make initial contact with people we may or may not do business with. I think that they like to see how they treat me: they are not usually excited about doing any work with people who don't treat everyone on the staff with complete respect, and starting with the person on the bottom of the ladder to see how they treat her is a good start...and they take the results really seriously.

Anyway, that is what my task is at lunctime today...to interview someone and try to figure out if he is completely full of shit or not. It is understood that a resume will include some...um...stretching...but there is clearly a limit to what is reasonable and what is not. The partners suspect that this guy has gone way over the top, and they have set me on the case to crack him!

I will let you know how it goes!

11 comments:

laurwilk said...

Haha, this is too funny. I'm excited to hear how it goes! I'll have to tell you a story about this later today.

HappyascanB said...

This is so interesting! I can't wait to hear how the lunch interview goes! Happy Digging!!

Aaron said...

Good cop, cad cop.

I should have known that you'd play bad cop. ;)

Katie said...

Oooh, this is so fun! I can't wait to hear about the interview.

In my experience - if it seems like someone is full of shit then usually they are.

Rachel H. said...

Interesting...Let me know what you find out! I'd love to hear more about this. :)

Lpeg said...

Oh cool! My boss doesn't even usually introduce us to anyone he interviews, so to get to interview is pretty darn cool!

Good luck. I'm excited to hear the results, and how he answered his loaded questions!

Sorry I've been gone so long. Catching up now!

cindy said...

Wow. *I* wanna work for your company now. Not just because I get to meet you FIRST, but cuz they seem so loyal and protective. You don't see a lot of that these days.

erin said...

I can't wait to hear what happens!!

Anonymous said...

It's quite probable that one or two people reading this blog are having similar interviews this afternoon, and are now worried... Let's hope they don't say "Run by Tom? No... That case was by someone else wasn't it?" whilst looking a fool.

Ine Oroh said...

Yes, I'm that excited and curious that I have made 3 scenarios of how it went, but somehow all of them turn him out as an a*s ... sorry, a bit prejudiced there :P

SoMi's Nilsa said...

How'd it go???? I love interviewing people on behalf of my company because I'm given a lot of room to do my thing. The partners and higher-ups are going to make sure the candidate can actually do the job. So, they always bring me in for the personality fit. If the candidate can't have a conversation with me, it's often a no-go. I like that your company wants input from all employees on a new hire. Very impressive!