Monday, September 20, 2010

How to sabotage a job opportunity

My job sometimes requires me hiring some very skilled programmers for companies. I'm no headhunter (I profession I disdain) but I am proud of the fact I've placed several key people into roles they love in a company that values their expertise. Overall I've placed about 8 people in various programming jobs. Not a high number at all, but I am not a headhunter. An interesting observation is that out of those 8 people I've hired, only only one was local.

One thing that always irked about people who were applying for jobs is an attitude of 'entitlement' - this either killed the job opportunity or kept the hiree from future growth. Some examples.
  • One applicant from Western Europe wanted to a full range of medical, leave and other benefits that are not available here in this country. This was for a job from a self funded startup. Lack of doing 'your homework' about the country you want to move to as well as the company itself left bad taste in mouth. It especially irked me to hear "Because I'm from [x] country - No one will hire me!" - no one will hire you because you are making unreasonable demands!
  • One North American applicant was going swingingly through the application process. The salary and work was agreed upon. One the third interview out of the blue the applicant demands 10K more in salary - startling us. I wasn't so much the 10K - it was more the attitude of greed. We said that after a trial period we would be more than happy to increase his salary but demanding it upfront was in bad taste. Needless to say, he left without a job.
  • Last example actually came from a successful applicant. This applicant was actually a very honest person and terrific negotiator. He was very good during the interview process and managed to get salary that was substantially higher than not only the other programmers but more than the directors of the company themselves!

    So whats wrong with that? Nothing - but the problem was that this was a start up. Since he negotiated salary - something more in the 'here and now' he missed out hugely on getting shares of the company. Other programmers started out much lower than him and got shares and now make much more than him. He is still the highest salaried employer in the organisation- but will never be offered shares because he felt 'entitled' to get a high salary.
The people that were hired were hungry to prove themselves - proud of the coding abilities but with a realisation that sometimes you have to start a bit humbler to get places - and I can say these guys are all getting paid very well now!

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