Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Interview Process Is Driven By Emotion

Every time, and I mean every time, someone gets a job, it's because the hiring manager liked one applicant over all the others. Hiring managers will often pick less qualified workers, throw out requirements they thought they wanted, change their minds, or forget what they asked for in the first place. The hiring process is usually based on a gut reaction and not on rational behavior. This is one reason people hire their friends more than they hire strangers.

Also, job descriptions are not scientifically written. Most job descriptions are written by hiring managers from scratch, written by a committee of people who will work with the new hire, or stolen by the recruiter from other job ads posted online. Don't ever assume that a job description you're reading is well thought out, and you can't be the "perfect candidate" because no one actually knows what the perfect candidate would even look like.

Now that you know job descriptions are more about feeling and impromptu scribbling, don't focus too much on the details. This is especially true for jobs with commonly abused titles like Project Manager.

Check out the job description below for a Project Manager (I just cut/pasted it from craigslist). If you read it and think "this sounds exactly like me", don't get too excited. There's not one measurable skill here with any depth, except perhaps the job title and "knowledge of offline and online production processes". If you got an interview for this job, it's pretty much randomness, luck, and being in the right place at the right time. Since there's no way to measure the skills of a new hire, the company MUST make the hiring decision based on emotion.

    (This ad could have just said...
    Project Manager Needed
    Contact To Hire
    No Assholes)

    Project Manager

    We have an immediate opening for a Project Manager (may be called Traffic Manager)

    The Project Manager liaisons with all departments and manages traffic on projects in a timely, efficient manner. The Project Manager works with Account Managers to ensure all information is properly entered into the system in a comprehensive, accurate and timely fashion. This includes, but is not limited to, creating and maintaining a daily Hot Sheet, status reporting, and general team support. Other tasks may include developing workflow processes, and coordinating available project resources. This is a new position for our agency and the Director of Operations will be working closely with the Project Manager to fully define the scope of duty.

    Job Requirements
    - Extensive knowledge of offline and online production processes with an emphasis on print
    - Proficient with the Microsoft Office Suite with an emphasis on Excel
    - Able to operate in a Mac environment
    - Agency Experience from a comparable previous post
    - Able to effectively and calmly manage time in high-pressure situations
    - Able to quickly prioritize high volumes of time sensitive communication
    - Able to work longer hours when needed
    - Prior experience with project management software preferred but not necessary

    Professional Relationships
    - Proactively contribute ideas to projects
    - Regularly make recommendations to team lead on how to improve a project
    - Work with team lead to effectively complete scope of work so that it is top quality but also within the terms of the contract
    - Able to recognize when it is appropriate to ask for help and guidance
    - Consistently demonstrate ability to successfully move into problem-solving mode whenever challenges or concerns arise
    - Consistently work well with and demonstrate respect for colleagues at all levels and contribute to a positive work environment

    Primary Tasks
    - Prioritizes new with existing projects and negotiates schedules accordingly
    - Works with Account Teams, Buyers, and Design Team to keep approvals of estimates, purchase orders, artwork, and proofs on schedule
    - Creates, disseminates and maintains production calendars and status reports
    - Establishes scheduled milestones for team members to meet in order stay on task
    - Maintains complete routing logs for all projects
    - Manages ongoing workflow in and out of the Design Department
    - Works closely with upper management to identify and suggest solutions on how to improve departmental and team morale

    Please note this job is Temp to Perm, with a 3 month probationary period.

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