Posts tagged ‘company culture’

Recruitment Ad for Evil Minions

Ad for Evil MinionsWANTED

EVIL GENIUS seeks minions to sacrifice their lives in world domination attempt. Must be prepared to work 24-7 for fascist psychopath for no pay. Messy death inevitable but costumes and laser death rays provided. No weirdos. Call: 1-900-MWAH-HAHA

30 June 2013 at 1:07AM Leave a comment

The Pirate Ship as Organizational Model

Over on the CrashDev blog, Chris Devore has penned an article with stunning insight. His point in “The Pirate Ship as Organizational Model” is one that should be enjoyed and considered by my former boss Nathan, my dear friend Hooligan, his former boss Harry, and others who have felt the fun and excitement of a start-up turn to the dross and pain of corporate politics.

Devore is contemplating the perfect company to work for. He admits thinking it might be related to size, but

The Queen Anne’s Revenge by LegoFor me, the best possible circumstance is a company that’s somewhere on the spectrum from unformed idea to Pirate Ship. As soon as it passes from Pirate Ship to Going Concern, it stops being fun for me and I need to start over.

This, of course, got the attention of your humble editor, who is a student of historical pirates. What is the spectrum that includes pirate ships as an organizational model? Devore goes on to explain [emphasis mine]:

Since Pirate Ship is a technical term only to me, let me explain. An organization is healthy as long as its survival is sufficiently in doubt that each employee feels a primary responsibility to ensuring the survival of the firm, and a secondary (or lesser) concern for their own position within the hierarchy. The vitality of this “us against the world” mentality depends (to a greater or lesser extent) on the prospect of treasure somewhere on the horizon (i.e., it cannot be sustained in organizations where the prospect of treasure has dimmed to the point that jumping ship and taking a risk on a new captain and crew seem like a better bet). But it can if, despite remarkably long odds, a plurality of the crew believe that a rich prize might still be lurking beyond the next atoll. The scale at which this condition ceases to exist is conditioned equally by the nature of the opportunity being pursued and the quality of the leadership at the helm.

As soon as an organization reaches the point that its survival is no longer in doubt (or that the average participant no longer feels that his or her individual contribution is material to its survival), corruption begins to seep in.

Wow. Devore has exactly nailed some of my experiences in the high-tech world. The times that were the most intense, most fun and most rewarding were when everything was on the line. It was us against the world – we were in a Pirate Ship.

I like how Devore’s friend Donald DeSantis clarified this in his blog post:

Pirate ships combine an “us against the world” mentality with a hunt for treasure. This crucible of chaos and ambition somehow allows unstructured groups of mercenaries to complete complex tasks without killing one another (very often).

This is a key point. Highly motivated and highly talented are competitive. Once the big win on the horizon is captured and accounted for, the talent that thrives in that environment will be gone, or will start to engage in internal politics and mistreating others.

One key to happiness, then, is the awareness of internal attitudes.

29 May 2012 at 1:02AM Leave a comment

NotHire: How to Sabotage Your Recruiting Efforts in Six Easy Steps

Somehow, your humble author missed this posting on Brenden Wright’s blog when it came out in 2009. But, since you know that the NotJobs motto is “Better Late than Never”, we’re pleased to offer this excerpt from Brenden’s work. The title is “How to Sabotage Your Recruiting Efforts in Six Easy Steps“, so Wright covers six things that managers do to ruin their chance of hiring the best (or hiring anyone.) You’ll need to see the article for the details, but here are the six sabotages:

Step #1: Beat up your recruiters about the lack of “qualified” candidates and then decline candidates based on your “gut” feeling about the resume.
Step #2: Once you finally find someone that passes the “fit” test and set up an interview, don’t make yourself available to interview. Pride goes before the fall.
Step #3: Be late for your scheduled interview time. Or better yet, just don’t even show up.
Step #4: Don’t prepare for your interview. After all, you have more important things to do – like the work of the employee you are trying to hire.
Step #5: Ask stupid questions.
Step #6: Don’t make a decision.

Kill me now.


See the whole post for a great read.

19 December 2011 at 1:48AM Leave a comment

When Bad Interviews Happen to Good Candidates

On Execunet, Robyn Greenspan has a great article about the NotHire side: what happens when the company takes action to blow up the interview. Not every interview is a professional, and not every professional is an interviewer. Greenspan shares three of the worst:

At a dinner meeting with the CEO and other key company executives, this candidate said the questions were unusual: “What did my watch cost? Why did I buy such an expensive watch? Why did I come in a suit to dinner? How much did my suit cost? Did I know the job was in Raleigh?

“The next morning I arrived at the reception area; and after waiting 30 minutes I was escorted to a phone so an HR person in another city could tell me that there would be no interviews, and I would be free to catch a cab back to the airport,” recalled the candidate.

In the comments, several folks shared some of their worst interview experiences. Here’s Dani’s vote for the worst:

My last position was a CIO. Been in the field for 30 years. I applied for a consultancy position by a consulting firm for one of their larger customers, I worked for before, and have intimate knowledge of the position and need.I was interviewed by a junior 22 year old HR rep. She had no idea what the position was about, nor the customer or his need, had no clue what are the abilities and qualities needed for the position. She asked superficial questions right out of a stenciled page, and did not understand the answers.

I knew for a fact that they could not hope for a better suited candidate, they should have grabbed me, but “there was nobody home”. Their loss. So the moral is – Assign an appropriate interviewer for each candidate or position.

Good point.

JoeG recalled an experience that has given hives to some recruiters, with a natural disaster layered on top:

I did have an interview situation where two people from the same company were interviewing in our offices at the same time. One knew about the other, but not vice versa. We carefully arranged to keep them in different parts of the small office and to avoid one seeing the other.

Except, a tornado happened to come along. We evacuated everyone into a central conference room to wait for further instructions. The two candidates got to laugh at their predicament much like two Baptists running into each other in the liquor store. No one died in the making of this anecdote, however.

Dave mentions his experience:

During the interview the hiring manager mentioned FIVE times she had an IQ over 200. Plus, she said “Well, you probably don’t.” Really??After the fifth mention, I told her the interview was over since I was interviewing her, just as much as she was interviewing me. She was shocked!

HR was horrified when I mentioned this at the post-interview wrap up. This company was one of the financial firms that went defunct in the last few years. Go figure.

There’s more, and some good sharing in the comments, on the original posting. Check it out here:

8 September 2010 at 12:04AM Leave a comment

1987 Computer Salary Survey

After graduating from college, I set out on the job hunt. One of the companies interviewing me at the time was Source EDP Personnel Services. Source EDP provided IT consulting services, and billed themselves as “the world’s largest recruiting firm devoted exclusively to the computer profession”. As part of their offering, they shared their 1987 Computer Salary Survey and Career Planning Guide. After I got the another offer, I stuck the salary survey in a file, where it stayed until last week.

The first graphic image in the publication is of a stack of greenbar paper with large dollar signs in ASCII art.  But, even though the data is old, it can still offer a useful comparison to today’s technology salaries. We’ve come  a long way!

Here’s the meat of the survey for non-management positions:

I. Non-Management Annual Compensation ($000)
(salary according to length of time in the
15th Percentile Median 85th Percentile
Commercial Programmers & Programmer/Analysts
1 year – 2 years 18.5 22.5 26.5
2 years – 5 years 23.5 27.8 32.0
Over 5 years 28.0 33.0 39.0
Engineering/Scientific Programmers &
1 year – 2 years 19.6 25.0 28.5
2 years – 5 years 25.5 30.0 35.0
Over 5 years 31.0 38.0 46.0
Personal Computer/Microprocessor Programmers &
1 year – 2 years 18.0 22.0 27.0
2 years – 5 years 22.0 28.0 33.0
Over 5 years 28.4 35.0 42.0
Systems (Software) Programmers
1 year – 2 years 23.4 27.2 31.0
2 years – 5 years 27.7 33.0 37.5
5 years – 7 years 32.0 38.0 45.0
Over 7 years 36.0 42.0 50.0
Software Engineers
1 year – 2 years 22.0 27.0 30.1
2 years – 5 years 27.5 32. 37.0
5 years – 7 years 31.5 38.0 44.0
Over 7 years 37.2 44.5 53.1
Data Base Analysts/Data Management Specialists
1 year – 2 years 22.0 26.0 31.5
2 years – 5 years 26.0 35.0 42.0
5 years – 7 years 34.0 40.0 48.2
Over 7 years 37.2 44.5 53.1
Communications Analysts/Technical
1 year – 2 years 22.0 26.0 30.0
2 years – 5 years 28.9 37.0 47.0
Over 5 years 33.6 43.0 51.2
Information Center/Office Automation/Decision Support
1 year – 2 years 18.5 24.1 27.1
2 years – 5 years 23.5 30.0 36.0
5 years
29.5 37.5 45.0
EDP Auditors
1 year – 2 years 22.0 25.0 29.0
2 years – 5 years 26.5 31.0 37.3
5 years – 7 years 30.7 36.0 46.2
Over 7 years 35.0 42.0 51.0
Technical Writers & Editors
1 year – 2 years 17.5 1100 27.5
2 years – 5 years 23.0 28.0 33.0
5 years – 7 years 26.0 31.0 38.0
Over 7 years 27.0 34.0 41.0
Senior Analysts, Project Leaders & Consultants
2 years – 5 years 27.0 33.0 39.6
5 years – 7 years 32.5 37.7 44.5
Over 7 years 36.0 42.0 50.0
Computer Operators
1 year – 2 years 14.0 18.0 20.0
2 years – 5 years 17.0 21.0 25.0
Over 5 years 20.0 25.6 31.5

Source EDP was purchased by Romac International, and later became Kforce Technology Staffing. Kforce still offers a salary survey and career guide. Download the latest version in PDF format from here.

3 May 2009 at 11:18PM Leave a comment

Is Your Employee Referral Program as Good as This?

Ephraim Salaam refers Chester Pitts to the coach of the San Diego State Aztecs. Pitts attended the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, which doesn’t have a football program.

This results in Pitts getting drafted in the second round, while Salaam didn’t get drafted until the seventh. This past season they were the starting left Tackle and left Guard for the Houston Texas.

I love the interview questions:
“What do you play?”
“I play the oboe.”

Does your company’s employee referral program screen people like Pitt in or out?

For more details, see the Sports Illustrated article: Pair of Texans reminisce at filming of Super Bowl ad.

Update 16-SEP-10: Fixed dead link to video
Update 09-JAN-14: Fixed dead link to video

11 March 2008 at 12:02AM Leave a comment

Corporate Life: This MUST be Boulder

This request appeared today on the e-mail list for Boulder, Colorado HR folks:


We allow employees to bring their dogs to work. This worked great when only a couple of employees wanted to do this. Now the number is growing.

We are wondering if there are any other local companies who allow dogs to come into the workplace. If so, have you instituted dog policies?

If you do have a dog policy, would you be willing to share it with me?



I’ve been working in the “People’s Republic of Boulder” for over 10 years, and I’ve seen the doggie-at-work thing many, many times. I’ve actually had people accept a job because of it.

Can anyone help out Stephanie?

UPDATE 14-FEB: Check out the thread by Mike M on The Furry Receptionist

13 February 2008 at 3:46PM Leave a comment

Branding – When It Works Too Well

An employment brand is a great recruiting tool, but a tough thing to build. The folks at MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, are finding out what happens when employment branding works too well:

007 Association Gives MI6 Recruitment Headache

LONDON (Reuters) – The success of the James Bond movies has given the British Secret Intelligence Service a recruitment headache — too many cranks want to join MI6.

“I think it gives people a false impression of what working for the organization is actually like,” the head of MI6 recruitment — named only as “Mark” — told BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat program on Monday.

“So it does tend to turn up quite a lot of thrill seekers and fantasists and we’re really not interested in them”.

As well as dismissing the notion that spying was a never-ending life of fast cars, fast women and shaken not stirred Martini cocktails, “Mark” was keen to demolish another myth surrounding MI6.

“We don’t have a license to kill — we don’t carry Berettas — that’s simply not true.”

27 November 2007 at 2:59PM Leave a comment

NotJobs: Über on How Not to Get a Job at Apple

Over at Über, Adam Guttentag details his plot to network his way to a job at Apple Computer:

You know you’ve thought about it. You go out of your way to drive past the building on your way to work every day. For thirty minutes each morning, you feel like you work there as you wait in traffic with actual Apple employees before you head to your un-magical office park.

Most people take the conventional route of applying for an open position. This, however, does not work. Apple knows there are millions of crazed zealots around the world who dream of life in a Windows-free office (aside from their cubicles). So the company makes things more challenging. Apple only hires people who know Apple employees. So how do you meet an Apple employee? That’s the tricky part.

At first I tried hanging out at the Donut Wheel across the street.

Hilarity ensues. See the whole thing for the results.

As a recovering Macintosh fanatic (I once had charge of every Mac in the US Bureau of Mines) and former Apple junkie (I insisted that my bride and I drive by the Apple HQ in Cupertino on our honeymoon), I know where Adam is coming from.

At least he’s trying to “Think Different“!

21 October 2007 at 5:05PM Leave a comment

My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.


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