A Tale of Two Recruitments

The good the bad

When I tell people I’m leaving my current job, the question they tend to ask (normally following a sharp intake of breath) is, “how long have you been here?”. The straightforward answer is that “here” is the only place I’ve ever worked. That sounds very old fashioned. Like I’ve been stuck in a rut for nearly half my life. But that’s very far from the truth. I believe I’ve spent my time fruitfully, undertaking several different roles and grabbing every development opportunity that came my way.

Last year I attended the first interview I’d had in a long time. Well, as a HR professional I mean it had been an age since I’d been on “the other side” of a recruitment exercise. On paper it would have been an amazing career move. Given the level of the role, I took a very strategic approach. I was confident I could offer a fresh perspective given the old-fashioned job title and retiring incumbent. How wrong I was.

Perhaps that sounds like a young upstart thinking they know better than their superiors but that’s not my approach. Unfortunately it was theirs. An old friend who I’d sought advice from due to her working in a similar field had warned me that the organisation was “weird” and “strange”. I should have listened.

As the door was opened to what I’d been told was the “test” I was to undertake first, I was informed that they’d changed their minds, and this was in fact the interview. It’s not an experience I would wish to repeat. Suffice to say it was an example of exactly how not to run a recruitment exercise. The panel (and in particular the women) were rude, interrupting, didn’t listen and said they didn’t have time to answer my questions. When I left the building, kicking myself that I’d actually stayed to complete the “test”, I cried all the way home. I found out via Linkedin a few weeks later that someone I knew had successfully been appointed (the panel couldn’t have made it more obvious during my interview that they’d already made their decision). He’s a nice guy and I wish him well, but I’ve seen him cry in the office before. I imagine that place will destroy him. I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole for all the money in the World.

I’m not bitter (honestly). I’m glad, and I laugh about it now, but perhaps I could be forgiven for being more than a little reticent when the next opportunity came along.

At the start of July myself and my colleagues celebrated staff achievements at our annual Awards Ceremony. It was a fab location, great food and an amazing night had by all. I was proud to receive my 15 years’ service award. I was bubbling with excitement, and not just because of the recognition. That very morning I’d been successfully appointed to my dream job. While I would describe the recruitment process as intensive, I had a huge smile on my face as I left, even before I knew the outcome. The people listened carefully to what I said and probed further. They debated alternative points of view. Everyone who currently worked had an infectious enthusiasm about both their roles and their employers. I couldn’t think of one bad word to say about the whole process.

I don’t really believe that things are “meant to be” but if anything could change my mind, it would be what I’ve told you today. I guess the moral of the tale is you have to kiss a few frogs before you find a Prince.

 

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8 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Recruitments

  1. Congratulations on the new role, Helen – you will excel in it!

    This is a very good post. It was upsetting reading about that awful interview making you cry. I am extremely sorry you went through that.

    I worked in a place with a similar culture a very long time ago, where every internal job was stitched up in advance.

    But at least these experiences teach you where you don’t want to be.

    And it sounds like this new role is exactly where you want to be and ought to be!

    1. Haha! I’m sure you realise as an avid supporter of my blog that “HRpotential” is about the potential of the discipline and the people rather than myself! So I’m sticking with the name 🙂 and the blogging, hoping to bring an academic flavour from my new role!

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