Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dear prospective employee, thanks but no thanks

What a hard answer to give people, but being honest is definitely the best policy in this case.

Background: I attend a "recruiting mixer" last night for the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business. I got my MBA from then in 2007.

The event was very well put together. My only critique would be that they weren't 100% specific with the location of the event. It was on the concourse level of the Ronald Reagan Trade building (where I took classes). But since I graduated they opened up a much nicer location (I harken back to days of electric plugs duct taped to the carpet). So it was a bit confusing, and I thankfully bumped into a handful of alums and we helped each other out.

I also ran into two former classmates, which was great. One has had a baby, which was exciting news. The other left pharma sales to join Booz Allen, a great move by her I think.

The set up were tall tables where we had company placards, and just enough room for business cards and flyers. I took around 16 resumes in just over an hour and a half, so approximately 6 minutes per person.

Of the 16, I'd say we have strong chances with 3-4 of them, and looser chances with another 3-4. If even just one of those is a hire, then it is a smashing success.

But the most challenging part of the evening was telling people "No". Interestingly, Smith did a great job of providing the prospective employee's with a cheatsheet on each company, what they have needs for, etc. Some students didn't seem to work from that though. I wish the cheatsheet made it clear we are looking for US citizens only though, because that could have saved some time on both ends. Also, if it says my company isn't looking for interns, why ask? I guess you are being proactive, which is great and all. But there's a reason we're listed as not having an internship program - we don't. And we're not looking for an intern.

A tip to prospective employees - If a company says you have to be a US citizen, and you aren't, just accept it and move on. Don't recommend alternatives. Don't recommend a three week trial period. That might work with other companies, but our hands are tied on the citizenship issue.

My biggest regret is that I met two active military members and when we finished chatting they moved on before I got to say "Thanks for your service."

So, thanks for your service. I work for a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business; we take that seriously and greatly appreciate the sacrifices of the men and women who help keep us safe.

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