Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Open letter to hiring managers everywhere

Dear sir or madam,

I have an impressive resume. I know that. I have done strategy work, managed budgets, managed teams of people, and done lots and lots of hands-on work building web sites. If you think your job is too “low level” for me, then just don’t call me.

Please don’t call me and ask me incredulous questions about why I applied. It just makes me feel like a fool for answering your ad.

It’s just not necessary.

Could it be possible that you were so focused on adding happy corporate babble to your ads, that you really didn’t say anything about the job? Most of the ads say “no phone calls please”. It’s not like I can call and ask “so are you really just a hole-in-the-wall nonprofit with three people on the payroll working on desks that the executive director yanked out of an alley trash pile one Saturday?” I have to assume that what you put in your ad is what you really want: “We are a world class leader in strategic commitment to making a real impact on [insert issue here], seeking a web professional of the highest caliber to join our team.”

Not a lot there to work with. The economy is bad so I’m casting a wide net. Please give me the benefit of the doubt. If it’s an entry-level, minimum wage job, just don’t call me.

Could it be possible that I have reached a point in my career or life where I’m looking to slow down a little? I’ve run two businesses. I don’t want to be the boss — been there, done that, didn’t like it. My ambitions are much more complicated than they were when I was 25 years old, and emphasize work/life balance a lot more. I can do a good job maintaining your little web site. I can do it 5-6 hours a day instead of 12 and use that extra time to add polish and pizzazz. I know that I’ll be trading off salary and responsibility for a simpler job and I’m OK with that. My salary history is completely irrelevant. I’m offering you a good deal. Please don’t throw that in my face.

One organization actually called me in for an interview to inform me that I was overqualified for the position. They had no intention of hiring me. I sat in a room, with 4 people staring at me, the lead person leaning into the table and looking at me like I had just sprouted flowers on my head. “So why did you even apply for this job? You are ridiculously overqualified.” I stood my ground, but it was one of the most uncomfortable 40 minutes I had every experienced… and it just wasn’t necessary.

These are hard times. Please be sensitive, and please be open minded. You might be surprised how well a person you thought “wasn’t a good fit” fits in ways you didn’t envision.

Thank you for your kind attention.


1 comment:

  1. This is incredibly well point. Life, and a job. A job that allows a full life. Thanks for the reminder.