Thursday, December 22, 2005

Max becomes 'the Filth'

In my first corporate job I learned from a perpetually drunk marketing manager that the proper name for anyone working in HR is ‘the Filth’. In my current corporate job I have spent the last two weeks working in HR -- I have been entrusted to find a replacement for myself.

Step 1: I wrote a job advertisement and posted it on a local expatriate job board.

Step 2: I went through the approximately 2 dozen applications that came in. Easiest to weed out were those that were not native speakers of English and those who had no legal education or experience.

I sent e-mails to all of the rejections because I have always hated when an application is not even acknowledged.

Step 3: I interviewed 7 people over 4 days, and each of them completed an editing test. An additional candidate did the test in England, and Monkey took the test at home just for fun.

I used the same test that I had been given when I interviewed for this job. It was only 3 short e-mails, but they had been written by a Czech lawyer whose English was awful and they were full of technical legal language. It was more of a puzzle than anything else, the task being to break a complicated Czenglish legal code and then to rewrite the whole thing in real English. I had to impose a 90-minute limit after the first candidate took 105 minutes.

The interviews themselves were all right because everyone was pleasant, but I got bored explaining the same things over and over and asking some of the same questions. I was, however, proud of myself for asking intelligent questions and questions that were relevant to the individual, and not asking any of those horrible typical interview questions at all. I also made everyone laugh, but that only worked until they saw the test.

Step 4: Analyse the tests. Boring.

Step 5: Present leading candidates to the partners. 3 out of 4 partners: ‘We are not interested, you make the decision.’ 1 partner: ‘Why don’t we ask them to complete another test?’ Great. One of them is in New York for Christmas and the other has just left for Amsterdam.

I really did not want to do it, but I sent them part of an article on regulation of waste in the Czech Republic that had been written by one of our lawyers for a journal. This second task is a test of editing style rather than code-breaking ability. Their deadline is this afternoon.

Step 6: In the meantime, I have sent e-mails to the rejected interviewees, which made me feel bad because some of them seemed so bright-eyed and hopeful, and because I know how hard it is to find a decent-paying job in this town as a foreigner. “Have a happy Christmas.” I am sure they all hate me now. Hey ho.

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