Sunday, February 12, 2006

The magazine, while being read by a great deal of people, is not bringing in the ad revenue we expected. That being said, I’ve started looking for a new full-time position. I’m still involved with the magazine. It’s just that I’ve greatly reduced my responsibilities.

That said, I was getting ready to start talking to my professional contacts in order to find a new gig when my alma mater emailed me about a career fair that was happening on Wednesday.

Great. I’ll prep for that too. If nothing else, it means more contacts for me. If it works out, maybe an interview or two.

Fast forward to the day after the fair. I have an interview scheduled on campus with a smallish company in Columbus. I’m not going to tell you the name of the company, but let’s just say that they’re based in Worthington, Ohio and do “Ecommerce marketing and development, search engine marketing (search engine optimization), and ROI analysis”

The development is for Law offices and online stores. Not that I’d drag the name of the company through the mud…

Anyway, back to the story concerning the un-named company.

I get to the interview a little early and wait around. I am kept waiting 20 minutes past the scheduled time. This alone annoys me to no end and I usually walk away from interviews after being kept waiting 5-10 minutes after the scheduled time unless I am given a very good reason. However, the little voice in the back of my head suggested I stay, so I did.

I’m glad I did. It may be able to save someone else the trouble in the future.

The first minute or two was normal small talk. Questions about the magazine follow. Immediately after that, she states that part of their interview process is that you have to complete a 10 hour project for them complete with documentation before they will even consider hiring you.

Danger danger. Warning warning. *robot arm waves*

You heard that right. They required that candidates work, for free, on a ten hour project that one of their clients pays them for before they will consider hiring that person.

This is highly unethical. So unethical, in fact, that most HR people who even suggest it at a reputable company are promptly fired.

I informed her that this was an unethical practice and she responded quite icily (and in a fairly hostile manner) that if I had a problem with it, perhaps I should look somewhere else.

Finally, there’s something that the two of us agree on. Though I find it extremely amusing that, when confronted, she didn’t back down but instead tried to bully me into doing it (or into thinking that this is a common industry practice).

I went elsewhere. The elsewhere happened to be my laptop where I composed a letter to the Career Services office of my alma mater informing them of the company’s unethical (and, one could argue, borderline illegal) interviewing practices, pointing out that it was even more despicable because they were trying this on a group composed mostly of exiting seniors who wouldn’t know that this wasn’t a common practice.

Why they tried this with me considering that I have a two-page resume, is beyond me. Maybe she thought I’d be dumb enough to fall for it.

Thank you for playing Unethical Company of the Day. For your parting gift, we have a lovely blacklisting from Ohio University’s career services office. You may even be given the bonus of being blacklisted from other universities as well, because career services offices talk to each other quite a lot.

Please enjoy not getting any more workers.

At first, I was annoyed that I had that interview, but then I realized that it was probably better that I have it rather than someone completely wet behind the ears. With me getting it, I am able to inform others and warn them off. Someone else might have fallen for it.

In an additional twist, while composing the email to the career services office, I received an email from another company that was there on Wed which was interested in interviewing me the next week.

Current mood: amused and in disbelief
Current music: Poe – Hey Pretty

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