Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
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Exexcutive/Sr Executive Administration Interview
I applied through a recruiter. The process took a day – interviewed at HCL Technologies in January 2011.
I was originally approached by a recruiter via my Linked In profile, who said that the company was looking for an office administration assistant for their Redmond office, and would I be interested in discussing this further with them?
I had been unemployed for 3 months, so any motion on the job front was greatly appreciated. This seemed serendipitous, as I had just revamped my profile the day before. I e-mailed back in the affirmative, and began doing some homework on the company.
I found there was no Redmond, Washington office at first. There was an office in Seattle, and an office in Bellevue, and that was all.
Deciding to look for a job description to help me prepare, I tried searching the HCL site for a job description of the job I'd been approached for. In the end, I found it by searching Indeed.com. The job description seemed like it was well within my current experience, though, and the salary was quite good - easily $10K and more what I'd been making in my last position. So, I figured the recruiter had gotten it wrong and had meant the Bellevue office instead.
Speaking to the recruiter over the phone, we discussed some of the duties of the position, and arranged an in person interview with a Mr. Raj Max Williams for the following day (Thursday).
Driving out to the Bellevue office, I finally got the real picture of what was going on: the Bellevue office was busy being stuffed into boxes for shipment to Redmond. I had arrived a bit early, but my interview with Mr. Max Williams started promptly at three p.m., and consisted of me listening to him talk for an hour about:
1) The cultural differences I was likely to encounter working for an Indian company. Mainly, this revolved around work ethic. Mr. Max Williams, as an example, proudly used the word "Workaholic" to describe the majority of his staff. He himself, he said, if cut would "...bleed this company. It is my home." Also, he made it clear that in India employees do not get to use the word "No" in relation to their work. It is one thing to not be able, for one reason or another, to be able to complete a task. You are never allowed, however, to refuse that task. He related incidents to me from his own life where he had gotten the call at 1 or 2 a.m., and had to get out of bed and attend to whatever it was that needed his attention immediately.
2) The job description itself. Throughout the interview, he would stop and ask me, "So what do you think of that, sir?" after mentioning some aspect of the job or its responsibilities. From listening to Mr. Max Williams, tI got the impression that the pace of this job was going to be amplified by a factor of 12 over anything I had done before, so I steered our conversation to the job description as I'd seen it advertised. Mr. Max Williams had to search Indeed.com for it just like I had, and when he finally found it, he remarked that it was interesting and that it would need revision.
He then filled up an empty white board in the office we were interviewing in with a detailed flowchart of all of the duties that the person taking on this position would be responsible for. For example, had I taken the role, I would have been directly responsible for: monitoring the security and video systems; cleaning the kitchen area; arranging for shipping and courier services; calling in building repairs, from the air conditioning to facilities issues; ordering office supplies; shipping out documentation as soon as it was needed, some of it at the last minute; working with the Front Desk Person, and so on, for an office of 300 people soon to be moving to a 24/7 production schedule, I was told.
In contrast, the advertised description he and I had just looked at said,
"Responsible for execution, overseeing and manage the office administration procedures, general office co-ordination and other tasks as assigned.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Execute all aspects of general office Administration
Set up and coordinate meetings and video conferences, training programs etc.
Collect and maintain inventory of office equipment and supplies.
Vendor Management - Research, price and purchase office equipment and supplies, co-ordinate for repair and maintenance of office equipment.
Issuance of Business Cards, Office Access Card etc.
Front Desk Operations. "
I looked at Mr. Max William's list, which now resembled the operational plans for the D-Day invasion, and asked him if I was going to be supervising the employees who would be performing the work. He replied that I would be directly responsible for all of the duties he had just written down, but that they were working on hiring a second person to help.
- "So What do You Think of That, Sir?" View Answer
The advertised job description grossly under-represented the sheer scope and duties that this position called for. In my refusal, I mentioned to Mr. Max Williams that this position really required an experienced Office and Facilities manager with years of experience in high-volume production environments, and not an Administrative Assistant who had assisted in some of these things but had never taken direct responsibility for all of them.