Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Last week I wrote about how I am interviewing new marketing contractors to join my team. The interviews are progressing well and in fact I made an offer to one candidate. The interesting thing is that things did not unfold as I had expected. I received about 50 applications for the position (a sign of the times, no doubt), spoke to about 6 people over the phone and invited 3 individuals to interview in person for the position.
The morning of the interviews I briefed the interviewing team, showing them each candidate’s work portfolio and sharing their resume. On paper I had already made my choice – I had a stellar candidate all lined up, with an amazing portfolio of work, a strong resume and experience in my industry. It was as good as it gets. As far as I was concerned, this person would get the job if she could simply pull off a decent interview.
She blew it big time. Three of us interviewed each candidate and all three of us left the interview feeling like there was no way we could work with this person. My ever eloquent VP of Sales told me that he ended the interview so he would not have to smack this person in the face. What was the problem? A very high-strung, passive aggressive interviewee. All of us felt as if this candidate was looking down her nose at us. Making faces and disapproving noises at our previous decisions and proposed strategy. Now, there is nothing wrong with criticism, so long as it’s constructive, and so long as you have taken the time to learn the lay-of the land before making sweeping pronouncements.
I was simply turned off. I asked for this person’s hourly rate, and instead of quoting it to me, a five minute discussion ensued. I asked the candidate how she would go about building a plan of action if she got the job, and she started interrogating me, forcing me to re-state the question three times to get even a semblance of an answer. She also took the time to explain to every member of the interviewing team what the problem was with our offices’ air-conditioning system. I feel blessed. We were able to avoid a train wreck that would have cost me months of delays and thousands of dollars.
This is proof positive, if you needed it, that you can never trust a person’s resume or portfolio on their own. A phone screening does not give you a good enough sense of someone’s personality. Nothing can replace a nice, long, painful interview to illustrate exactly what you’re dealing with. God bless the interview.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
If you have been following me on Twitter you’d know that I attended a Cold Play concert earlier this week – Monday night to be exact. There’s something really cool about going out on a weekday, especially because I had to take-off from work much earlier than I would normally have left and we had the in-laws baby sit the kids for us. However the topic of this post is not the fun that my wife and I had – although the show was a blast – the topic of this post is the fact that the value of money changes with context.
You know for a fact that everything you can buy at a concert is going to be overpriced to a ridiculous degree, however I did not bat an eye when I paid $13 for a diet coke and some garlic fries. A glass of beer? $9. Really, really crappy pizza? $8 please. No problem at all sir, here’s the cash. However, I sometimes take minutes to figure out whether I should spend 99 cents on a cool iPhone application or to buy a new song. Why is that? It’s all about the context in which I am asked to spend the money. This is not a rational thing, after all, money is money regardless of how you spend it. What changes is my mindset. When I go out, or go on vacation my mission is to have a good time – I come prepared to spend the money. I throw frugality to the wind and laugh in the face of waste. Stupid? Yeah, maybe, but it’s a fact.
But there is some good news – on the way out of the concert we each got a free Cold Play CD. Very cool. My wife gave hers to the in-laws as a thank you gift and then quickly adopted mine. Justice.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
"Those named are former public employees and their dependents who receive an annual pension of more than $100,000. Atop one list is a former city administrator from the small Southern California town of Vernon, whose annual pension is $499,674.84."How insane is that? By comparison, the President receives an annual salary of $400K. Look, I am all in favor of people saving for retirement and having a decent pension after many years of loyal service. I think this is entirely justifiable. However, How is it possible or even legal for government agencies and public sector entities to pay such ridiculously high pensions? More interestingly, how is it even fiscally possible for a tiny town like Vernon, CA to support (never mind justify) such an obscenely high pension? According to Wikipedia that town had a population of 91 in the 2000 census. What is going on here?