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29 September 2012

MFP: Today I got another rejection letter from a recent job application. This one was from an on-site interview I had on the Coast where they paid for a hotel room and a rental car. All persons were cordial and respectful and I hope I have another opportunity for a position at that company. This is not a complaint about that institution or the process. It is a commentary about managing  expectations, mine not others. OTOH there were signals from the beginning that it was what some call a "shadow job". This is where the preferred candidate has already been identified and the regulatory process of ensuring diversity and fairness requires that the company interview additional candidates (rule of threes) prior to making a final offer to the candidate preferred before the process began. I hope that my observations will be useful for others worried about the process of full-time job seeking in the vulture capitalist economy.

There's more below the orange squiggle.

I have plenty of other crap in my life to deal with so I am already past this, but since we're been confronted in the regional election process with the televised racism of Scott Brown and his paid minions in terms of Elizabeth Warren's ethnicity, I thought I'd reflect on how that same bias operates in the hiring rather than the election process. Fortunately the hiring doesn't happen in a very public sphere so we don't have to put up with this kind of politicking/electioneering:

The important point is the lookist expression:

BROWN:...Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American , a person of color. And as you can see, she's not.
It's the as you can see part that becomes the problem in the interview process of job interviews. Do you get to own(sic) an equal or equitable share of the process. I have experienced the trend to use webcams /Skype for job interviews and after one experience, I have decided to try never to allow that type of cost-savings in the interview process. It was clearly not my discomfort with the process but certainly one that tried to substitute the going through the motions of ensuring diversity in the process rather than actually hiring anyone who might actually be a member of a diverse population. In today's case at hand that didn't occur, but I try now to limit the first level of screening interviews to a voice interview on the phone with the company so that the limiting of communication channels compels a greater commitment to considering my complete set of attributes rather than letting them make a premature decision after the addition of a visual encounter. A video record of that kind of meeting allows the company to say "'as you can see' we interviewed a person of ___", and the shadow candidate gets an advantage in some cases because they get the face-to-face interview instead of those who interview over webcam.

I am not going to draw any equivalences here, but it does seem to me after more than a decade of looking for executive positions, that it's possible to identify as one can observe during the process, that when a firm is "going through the motions" to hire the shadow candidate, those farcical pretenses and actions are more important than the commitment to diversity.

So your mileage may vary, but there are important indicators of the asymmetry of the process and I offer some items which you may wish to note when you're in such a process. First, note the time frames. Are they in a hurry? Do they allow enough time to make adjustments in the interview schedule or are they anxious to get the process completed without accommodating you? In your preliminary communication over email or on the phone, does your company contact, administrative assistant, or their principal hiring supervisor seem less interested in meeting your presumably modest needs in the process, for example when you ask for a list of important contacts you might make, or ask them to provide background information not in the original job description prior to any interview. Each of these probative requests can help interpret the signals of interest other than the actual ones during the on-site interview: whether they know what to do with you during breaks, take you for a meal, delegate a tour of the facility to an underling, among many other indicators. There are certainly "killing with kindness" indicators of overcompensation as well: bombarding you with Chamber of Commerce newcomer information packets on the region that makes you regret a rejection even more if the place didn't suck.

Even the diversity forms themselves reveal the problems of trying to achieve a diverse society that represents equal rights under the law

Are you Hispanic or Latino?
Are you Hispanic or Latino?



Not Disclosed

Optional Race Category: Select one or more races. If you have identified yourself as Hispanic or Latino, you are not required to select an additional category.
American Indian or Alaska Native


Black or African American

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander


Description of Race and Ethnicity

American Indian or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

In an age when we rhetorically refer to White, Black, Yellow, Brown, and/or Red, there are really only two hue-based or "colored"(sic) categories in the standard forms. Perhaps in the interest in providing a more equal sign of equality we might consider a return to the 1920s only in terms of not using "Black" while also referring to white folks as "European. This is not minimizing the importance of the history of Blackness in the  political identity struggle, but to eradicate the false notion of "White" that might make "White Power" only refer to laundry powder and liquid paper.

Anyway, as you can see, that's one of my FPs, the latter section more like a pet peeve. What's on your gray matter?

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