Thursday, May 28, 2020

Microstory 1374: Internal Candidate

Internal Candidate: I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. I understand that people like me aren’t normally given the opportunity to apply for this position.
Hiring Manager: People like you? I want to assure you that our company does not discriminate against a candidate or employee based on race, gender, age—
Internal Candidate: I mean an internal candidate. You always hire at this level from the outside.
Hiring Manager: Do we?
Internal Candidate: Uh, it’s my job to examine and understand trends. Yes, you definitely do. You’ve never promoted someone to this—or a comparable—level from the inside. Employees call it the promotion ceiling, because, as you said, it doesn’t seem to be based on protected classes. You regularly promote people all the way into my current level, but for the next one, you always look for external candidates, and then continue to promote from there.
Hiring Manager: Really?
Internal Candidate: Yeah, you don’t even post this on the internal job listings.
Hiring Manager: I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this. I don’t normally conduct these interviews personally. I’m just the one who’s in the office right now.
Internal Candidate: Yes, because I requested this meeting via email, since I wasn’t allowed to apply through the system.
Hiring Manager: You couldn’t have just found it on one of the job board sites?
Internal Candidate: The questionnaire asks whether you or a family member works, or has worked, for this company. If you check yes, it will disqualify you from consideration shortly thereafter. It doesn’t technically say that’s why, but...I’m pretty sure that’s why.
Hiring Manager: We use a contractor, of course, to manage our listings. I was not aware of this problem. I assure you that this is entirely an error. At least, if it’s not, I was somehow left out of the decision-making process.
Internal Candidate: Yeah. So, does this mean you’re willing to interview me?
Hiring Manager: I think I already am.
Internal Candidate: Okay.
Hiring Manager: Have you noticed any other issues like this? Have you seen discrimination of any other kind, or unfair disadvantages, or other weird things?
Internal Candidate: Well, in terms of the hiring structure, not really. I’m sure there’s plenty of discrimination happening we don’t know about; either because the manager doesn’t let on that they’re doing it, or they don’t even realize their prejudices themselves. I do know of one thing that’s frustrated our customers, though.
Hiring Manager: Oh, please, what is it?
Internal Candidate: Well, we have a product return policy of sixty days. You can request an extension, starting on day sixty-one, and ending on day ninety. It’s a form you fill out online, and an actual person has to review these every single time.
Hiring Manager: Yes, I am aware of this policy.
Internal Candidate: Well it’s fine, except I guess the system has some sort of software bug. To fill out the form, you have to input the order confirmation code, of course, and if the order was placed sixty-two days ago, the form just won’t submit. Which obviously just defeats the purpose, unless you happen to be precisely one day late. Customers have been forced to print out the form, fill it out manually, and either fax it in, or send it through snail mail.
Hiring Manager: Oh, that’s terrible. I don’t remember the last time I sent a fax, or used the mail service for anything short of a package.
Internal Candidate: Same.
Hiring Manager: I suppose it’s at least good that they do have some kind of workaround.
Internal Candidate: Yes, and no. The fact that there is a workaround has prevented us from correcting the mistake. If it just didn’t work at all, we would be flooded with complaints, and someone probably would have done something to solve it. Though, I have heard anecdotal evidence that some customers just give up, and keep the tools they don’t really want.
Hiring Manager: That’s a good point.
Internal Candidate: Yeah.
Hiring Manager: So, you’re applying for a management position in the marketing department?
Internal Candidate: That’s right, sir.
Hiring Manager: As a hiring manager, I have the authority to contrive new positions, within any department in this division. I can, however, speak with my counterparts in other divisions, and increase that scope.
Internal Candidate: I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
Hiring Manager: I’m formulating a plan. I think the company as a whole would benefit from a job—or even an entire department—that’s solely responsible for catching these types of errors, and coming up with solutions. How would you like to get a real promotion, and really break through this ridiculous promotion wall?
Internal Candidate: Wow, um...yes.

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