Hiring Managers Are Wasting My Time

Free To WorkAs a favor to a recruiter, I went to a job interview at a startup company in North San Jose to gather more information on the position in question. The HR department wanted someone with desktop experience in rolling 300+ systems, setting up cubicles and doing occasional phone support. A perfect match to my resume. The last candidate who interviewed ran out when the hiring manager presented a different job description. According to a recent Monster article, this was the number one job search lie when a company can’t agree on the same job description.

When I sat down for my job interview, the first thing that the hiring manager told me was that he hated my four-page resume. That didn’t surprise me. Recruiters and databases love my four-page resume, chronicling my 15+ years of misadventures in Silicon Valley. Hiring managers, not so much. I do have a two-page resume with the last three years on the front page and a summary of past positions, education and certifications on the back page. I haven’t found a right balance for this particular problem.

Although I offered him a copy of the two-page resume, the hiring manager didn’t what to see it. What he really wanted to see was a one-page resume because he didn’t like to read. That’s an interesting attitude. Most tech professionals, especially those going after certifications, have to read volumes of technical data to become proficient in their field. I’m always fascinated when I run into people who are tech-savvy but don’t like to read. That seems like an oxymoron to me.

Who in Silicon Valley looks for a job with a one-page resume?

High school and college graduates. The 18- to 25-year-old demographic was probably what the hiring manager wanted to hire. Get them young and cheap by dangling the pre-IPO carrot in their face. Being the young and the restless in this economy, they have no clue of what they are getting into and will run the treadmill for an elusive carrot.

A pre-IPO as a recruitment inducement doesn’t mean squat to me. The last pre-IPO I went though started off at $20 USD per share in 1999 and dwindled down to $0.20 USD per share in 2001 during the Dot Com Bust. With 15+ years of technical experience, I did have enough experience to go after the hiring manager’s job and get in line for a bigger slice of the pre-IPO pie. Another reason not to hire old farts like myself.

After I spent ten minutes explaining what I did for the last three years, the hiring manager told me that he wanted a person to do phone support exclusively, provide encyclopedic answers to technical questions, and hit the ground running without any training. Like the previous candidate before me, this was where we parted ways.

This wasn’t the first time that a hiring manager pulled a bait-and-switch on the job description—and usually for less pay. One company lured me into an interview for a $25 USD per position and interviewed me for a $15 USD per hour position. I walked out. It didn’t help matters that the hiring manager assistant accidentally emailed me the salary spreadsheet that showed everyone making an average $10 USD per hour.

The recruiter wasn’t pleased to hear that hiring manager wasted our time. This feedback will go back to the HR department at the startup company, where the hiring manager will get upbraided for wasting everyone’s time. Maybe, maybe not. Startup companies tend to breed peculiar people who are unlikely to change, especially when a pre-IPO carrot in front of them.