Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Don: I’m Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse

The Godfather was on TV this weekend. How have I missed this classic until now?

The irony? It played like my job search. As I watched characters make requests to Don Corleone on his daughter's wedding day, I felt like one of those poor unsuspecting supplicants. Or, worse yet, the object of Godfather's coercive offers.

Case in point: a phone call in response to my résumé. A phone call guaranteed to put your average job seeker on edge, wondering when the dreaded bloody horse-head-on-the-bed is going to appear.

It started with a call to schedule an in-person interview.

Yes, sweet success! Somebody actually thinks I'm qualified to do an important job at a reputable company for an impressive salary.

Well, hold on. Not so fast.

I guess it's an important job. They really didn't say.

I guess it's a reputable company. They really didn't say.

I guess it's an impressive salary. They really didn't say.

This drama unfolded with a blind newspaper ad. You know the kind: "Local company seeks . . ." No company name. No company description. No industry listed. Very few details in the job description. No address—just a PO box.


That's all I got from the call. The administrative assistant is named Holly. No, I don't know her last name. No, I'm not sure she's actually the administrative assistant.

Not much info you say?

This is all the solid info I gathered. Everything after Holly's name was vague. All details dried up from that point forward.

Caller: "Hi Ariel, I'm Holly. We received your résumé. I'm calling to schedule an interview with our CEO."

Me: "That sounds great. Which company you are with?"

Holly (hesitantly): "Um, we're a healthcare company. You responded to our newspaper ad."

Nope, doesn't ring a bell. I respond to lots of blind ads.

Alright, maybe I've not yet met my daily caffeine-intake quota for the day. I'm usually more attentive than this. Did she actually say the company name? No, I don't think so.

Me (trying again): "What is your company's name?"

Holly (lowers her voice to a near whisper as if afraid to be overheard): "Uh, it's XYZ Health Partners."

Hmmm . . . I've been in healthcare nearly 13 years, and I've never heard of these guys.

OK, there you have it—the informative part of the conversation. From there it just got weirder.

Holly couldn't talk about the position.

She didn't know the salary.

All she could say was I needed to meet "Don", the CEO, two days hence in a location three hours from my house. Don's phone number was an Alabama area code even though the company was supposedly in Georgia.

A cell phone maybe? They run the business with cell phones? Not usual, but probably not unheard of either.

Hmmm . . .why did she seem afraid to reveal the company name? Even when searches are posted confidentially it's common practice for reputable companies to disclose the company when arranging the interview.

How does one prepare for an interview with nothing to go on?

A quick Google search reveals no XYZ Health Partners at the listed address or any other information. Further investigation shows the location given to me as in a strip of store-front office buildings—with the indicated suite currently being unoccupied. Something is definitely off with this one. I'm also cautious about the abundance of job search scams that seem to lurk around every job board these days. But I'll reserve judgment until I speak with the mysterious Don.

I call the number. Here's how that went down:

Telephone Answering Person at XYZ Healthcare (Receptionist? Holly?): "Hello?"

What's up with that? A business number where they answer with "hello"? Where's the "XYZ Health Partners. How may I help you?" part of the greeting?

My imagination starting to run wild, I wonder: Is it safe to travel to this interview? Will I be coerced into the Family? Will I owe Don a favor if he hires me?

Don? This guy's name is actually Don?

I cannot seem to stop myself from thinking of him as "Godfather Don" at this point.

Holly promises to have Don call me later today.
Again I wonder how to prepare for this interview. How should I start my introduction? Perhaps I should take inspiration from Luca Brasi? Something like, "Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your deserted strip mall office suite on the hiring day for your HR position. May all your ventures by profitable ones."

Hearing nothing from Godfather Don by nearly 5 PM the next day, I call his office again.

If they want me for an interview tomorrow, don't they have to tell me when and where they want to meet me? And will I need back-up? To be safe, I should probably take somebody with me. But, wait, everybody I know has a job. Well, except for my mother. (Yeah, that should strike cold fear in the Don's heart: me showing up with a little old lady in tennis shoes.)

Feeling more and more uneasy, I make some calls. People in the industry actually do know "the Don". The consensus: "he's different" but "probably" not dangerous.

This time, Holly explains she can't transfer me and asks me to call Don's cell phone. Several rings later, the infamous Don answers.

Don (sounding annoyed): "Look, I don't have much time. Holly says you have questions. I'll answer some, but can't tell you much because your last job was with our competitor."

Ah, well, now maybe that explains some of the weirdness.

But wait, that competitor RIF-ed my job. Why would I rush to them with Don's corporate secrets?

Nevertheless, I listen carefully as Don's explains the job.

I don't know why they called me for this one. It's not even remotely similar to the job posting. I don't remotely have the skills for this job. Eventually, Don figures it out, too.

"I don't think this sounds like a fit," Don tells me with finality.

With my head still spinning, I wonder what happened and how my hopes for an interview evaporated this quickly. Well, at least, we got to the answer without delay. See, I'm a bit like ol' Don Corleone myself—I am one who "insists on hearing bad news immediately."

The good news is, I'm not "sleeping with the fishes". No horse heads under my sheets this morning either. I'm relieved there was no offer that I couldn't refuse. As I push thoughts of "Godfather Don" from my mind, I focus again on my job search.

These mysterious jobs at mysterious companies with mysterious people are becoming the rule rather than the exception. Actually, I think I'm getting the hang of them. No time to dwell on this one. There are other mysterious job postings at other mysterious companies with yet more mysterious people for which I must submit my résumé.

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Just for Fun: Watch The Godfather Movie Trailer:

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And for More Fun: Check Out:





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Photo Credits:

Don Corleone and Cat: <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatles/3429398512/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatles/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatles/</a> / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a></div>

An Offer He Can't Refuse: <div xmlns:cc="http://creativecommons.org/ns#" about="http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatles/3429441886/in/set-72157616496731255/"><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatles/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/beatles/</a> / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a></div>




Sami said...

Howdy! Visiting from the SITS blogfrog... and your blog? Brilliant. I'm unemployed too (have been for about a month and a half) and I'm just reading all of your entries and nodding furiously... SO true!

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