Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Schnauzer Spy Story, Part II

After more than a year of looking, your wife receives extremely positive feedback on a job with one of your area's largest employers. The position is an excellent fit with her previous experience. She and the woman doing the hiring hit it off great.

In fact, the woman tells your wife some things that, by law, she really shouldn't have said. Several people in their 20s had held the job and didn't find it exciting enough and soon wanted to get promoted. That had caused the position to become a revolving door. The job was important to the functioning of the organization, but the woman decided she needed someone older who could manage the job's details and would be happy to stay in the position a while. People really aren't supposed to base hires on age issues such as that, but this is the woman's way of saying your wife is exactly the kind of person she is looking for.

The woman invites your wife back for a second interview and tells her this is "just a formality." Your wife takes that to mean, realistically you think, that the job is pretty much hers. The woman says she wants to make a hire quickly, so it only seems a matter of time before your wife has a job that she is very excited about.

But days, and then weeks, go by and you still haven't heard anything. Finally, you discover that the hiring decision has been taken out of the hands of the woman who had interviewed your wife. They wind up hiring someone who did not match at all the characteristics your wife had been told they were looking for. Your wife is devastated, and so are you, but she presses on.

With clouds forming over your financial picture, your wife has more strange experiences in the job search. A doctor seems to love your wife's outgoing personality and maturity. The doctor says that's exactly what she needs in a front-office position for her practice. Your wife doesn't get the job.

One interviewer gives your wife extremely positive feedback on a customer-service position and promises to get back with her in a few days. When a couple of weeks go by with no word, your wife calls the woman. We couldn't give you the job because we needed someone with customer-service experience, the woman says. "My resume says that I have eight years of customer-service experience with one of the top companies in the state," your wife says. "Oh," the woman says. "Good luck in your job search."

One man at a dental-supplies company is so impressed with your wife that he interviews her for three hours. He says a decision will be made in a few days, and is most encouraging. Your wife hears nothing for more than a week, and the man does not respond several times when she leaves phone messages. Finally, he comes to the phone and says he's hired someone else. No explanation. Guess he interviewed that person for four hours.

Then a national insurance firm shows interest in your wife. She takes a test that apparently is rather difficult. The two applicants who took it with her, fail. She passes. Her interview goes well, and she is told a decision will be made in two weeks. The company is hiring for multiple positions and expects to hire at least 20 people. Two days later, your wife receives notice that she will not be hired. The letter is dated the day after her interview.

That night, you and your wife wake up in bed with the identical thought. "You know," you say, "it's almost as if someone is going around behind you to cost you these jobs." "I was having that same thought," she says.

Who would want to do that? How could someone do that?

(To be continued)