Wednesday, October 15, 2008

weird employers

Sigh. Ok, so last week I got a sort of rejection letter from my Boston interview. I interpreted it as I was the best candidate they had, but for some reason (PREGNANT!) they didn't want me.
To review, this is a contract position, no benefits, 20 hours per week. But I left the interview feeling like they were a little naive about contract positions - no discussions of deliverables, or schedules, or goals - it really was an interview for a staff position.

So I've been toying with responding to the letter by preparing a proposal, including a deliverable schedule, that covered the first 3-4 months (which would include any 'leave' time) of the 1 year contract. But I hadn't done anything, just not sure of the right response.

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from the staff director, a person with whom I have worked and someone I like, though we didn't work together long enough to develop anything beyond that feeling of hmm, we could maybe be friends if this continued.

It read:
I wanted to let you know how much all of us thought of you and your work. You stood head and shoulders above the other candidates, but we felt like we wanted a broader playing field before making a final choice. It puts you in the awkward position of being too good! It is also important to us to evaluate direct experience, and we just felt like we needed to meet a few more candidates of your caliber before making a decision. I hope you hang in there through our next round, but I absolutely understand if it is not ideal.

Anyway – I just wanted to send a less formal note to say thanks, and to let you know we all thought you were terrific and continue to be a top candidate.

Very best, [name]

I sent this to my husband, who responded, great! Finish a proposal and send it off.

I decided to write back right away, sincerely, off the top of my head a quick note that I continued to be interested and would continue freelancing, and meanwhile I was
doing one project that might be related, and had just heard of a new project someone else was doing that they should connect with.

And then I also sent the note to one of my more practical friends, asking what he thought. His take - if they wanted to hire you they would on the spot. But clearly they (or someone on the panel) thinks there's better out there.

Yeah. Blah. I mean seriously, I'm just supposed to hang in there while they search for someone better, can't find them, and then come back to me? It is a little on the absurd side. If this was a full time staff position, maybe I could understand. But a part-time contract? Come on. It is a tad on the galling side. Jerks.

I once interviewed for a job and was told I did not get it. But then, the HR people called me back and said the #1 candidate had backed out, so they were re-interviewing. And then I didn't get it again. But then their 2nd choice person turned it down, so they came back to me and offered me the job. Third choice, and I knew all the excruciating details. I had just started a new job 6 weeks prior and it would have been awkward and sticky to extricate myself, so I turned it down - leaving them with no other option, so they had to start all over again. If they hadn't kept me in the loop of every twist and turn along the way, honestly I might have taken it and quietly bitched about how long the process was.

We're definitely closing in on even if they offer me the position, maybe I don't want to work for them. So, tell me your most absurd employer story. I know there's worse out there.


Astarte said...

OMG, one time, I worked for this total Be-och who laid off two of our co-workers right before Thanksgiving. Two weeks later, at the holiday party (which was a HUGE affair, complete with hotel rental and ice sculptures), said boss bragged to the entire table of people from our department about how she used her bonus to buy a new JAGUAR, ie, she fired our friends so she could get a new car. She talked like that all the time!!! One time she bitched to me that she wasn't happy with her maid because she forgot to sweep the vacuum cleaner tracks from the carpet so it would be smooth. ?!?!
The funny thing is, we all HATED her, but she was completely clueless!!!

Wabi said...

They are not really saying you are over-qualified for the job, if I'm reading this correctly. Instead, they are saying you're better than everyone else they interviewed, but are turning you down because they fear you expect more out of the job than it is, which is something that could have been clarified with a follow-up conversation with you. Oh, and they admit to looking for people OF YOUR EXACT CALIBER now, in lieu of all other candidates, including yourself. It's all very contradictory and bizarre.

IMO, the explanation they gave only makes sense if they have an unmentionable (read: illegal to act upon) reservation about hiring you, and don't quite know how to discuss and handle that issue. Otherwise, why not just hire you, the best candidate? I'm guessing that your pregnant belly is the elephant in the room.

I'm sorry this happened. And I'll be interested in seeing if anyone else thinks it is pregnancy discrimination, too.

CLC said...

It sounds like they live in bizarro world. I wouldn't like that response either. But in these economic times, I wouldn't cut your nose off to spite your face either. Keep doing what your doing, and try to be open to them should they come back.