November 10, 2009

Not the best, just the most available.

"Oh", he said. He scrawled a quick note, and slid the sheet back into the folder. He put the f***ing sheet back into the folder. Right f***ing in front of me!

If there is one thing corporate recruiting has taught me, besides the value of adjectives like "a-side" and "b-side," it's that a lot of the firms in Dartmouth's corporate recruiting program, once the veneer of plush business cards and professional sounding corporate names are removed, are extremely JV. Far too "b-side" for the average Dartmouth man and definitely for the Ivy League. Let's take an example that happened to "a friend of mine."

After being accepted for a first-round interview via DartBoard, the Career Services's online corporate recruiting program, "my friend" was invited to the customary pre-interview meeting held at the Hanover Inn the night before the interviews. The firm, which describes its employee base as either "35" or "100" depending on how honest they feel like counting auxiliary staff of their parent corporation that only technically share the same offices and have no connection to their company, sent three representatives and conducted their meeting as a quasi-informal cocktail party.

"When will you host second-rounds?" one student asked.
"We'll have them on Friday, the day after your interview tomorrow." one said. The students all looked at each other.
"We weren't told about that and a lot of us have second rounds out of town that we have already made travel plans to attend. When will your alternative day be?" Career Services requires that employers have at least two options for second round interviews to ease the burden on students.
"Hmmm. We could fly you down to D.C. but I think we'll only consider special arrangements on a case-by-case basis." More looks.

The next day rolls around and "my friend" has one of the first interview slots. He finishes the case perfectly and with a chunk of time to spare. After the usual post-case Q&A, the interviewer pulls out a second-round interview form. On it are five questions.

"So to reach you tonight, your cell number on the resume is best?" the interviewer asks, to a nod, and writes a note after question 1.

"When will you be free tomorrow?" He asks next.
"I actually am leaving campus today, right after this interview and won't be back until Saturday."
"Oh", he said. He scrawled a quick note, and slid the sheet back into the folder.

"Ugh, don't you want to know my work status?" "my friend" asked, reading the unanswered 'question number 5' off the sheet?

"Mmmm... alright, are you authorized to work in the U.S.?"
"Yes I am."
"Great" he said, sliding the paper back in the folder without recording the answer.

"My friend" thanked him for his time and left. At 4:30 he got a voice mail beginning with "unfortunately...", the subtext of which was "we don't take the best, just the most available." The B-side of B-side.


  1. Anonymous9:36 AM

    What were you expecting - a match made in heaven?
    Welcome to life.

  2. Anonymous1:28 PM

    who wants to work with people like this - better to know now

  3. Anonymous12:49 AM

    its a resources thing for a lot of the B-siders
    flying you down to DC = expensive and tough to justify at a time where cost-cutting is king
    so yeah, its all about being in the room (or on campus) at the right time

  4. "Hmmm. We could fly you down to D.C. but I think we'll only consider special arrangements on a case-by-case basis."

    To which a ballsier student would reply:

    "Hmmm. Let me make sure I understand. To work with Career Services, you have to agree to have two available dates for second interviews, and yet you've really only agreed to one, the second being more or less a paper tiger, a lie. Is this correct? Do I misunderstand? No? Okay, well, I really have no desire to work for a liar. I'd wish you luck, but I wouldn't mean it; instead, I wish luck to whatever poor sap you hire. Good day." And get up and leave.