Bait and Switch

It all started on November 17th when a 3rd party recruiter contacted me out of the blue (presumably via my LinkedIn profile) and wondered if I might have any interest in an NYC based Director of Marketing opportunity for a growing, private company in practically a recession proof sector.  I was delighted since that very title was on my short list of career goals.  The traits emphasized in the lengthy job description dovetailed with my interests as well, for example:

Opportunity
[Young, growing organization] is seeking a Director Of Marketing Operations with significant direct and interactive marketing experience. This individual will assist in the management of the marketing operations of their portfolio companies, working closely with the current Marketing Manager and CEO in developing and executing the strategies for their portfolio companies. In support of the company’s continued growth, it recognizes the need to better formalize and manage campaign development and implementation, while at the same time instituting appropriate, disciplined and consistent metrics.

Position Summary
The Director of Marketing Operations will play an integral role in maximizing the company’s marketing assets and provide the vision and implementation of end-to-end processes to ensure marketing optimization. This person will be responsible for creating and managing a measurable and trackable Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) throughout the organization, resulting in improved marketing effectiveness.

Don't let this man interview you!

Don't let this man interview you!

The first interview with the hiring manager in November went very well as we went through the job description line by line and discussed all my applicable talents.  I was even assured through out the holiday season that they would get back in touch for a second interview.  When I finally met them again, the line of questioning had changed.  The hiring manager and his baby-faced colleague were more interested in my technical skills than anything I’d have to offer from a marketing strategy standpoint.  This didn’t set off any alarms right away since I’m nothing if not versatile and I definitely enjoy the actual implementation aspects of campaign execution. 

However, the meeting grew even more tangential as the manager inexplicably name dropped “Mr. Trump” and a project they were working on and how revenues were projected to be in the $40mm range.  At the time, I thought it was merely tacky but rationalized that he might have wanted to prove to a potential hire that they were in fact, on the up and up.  As the interview wrapped up, they reassured me that I had renewed their interest and I’d hear back soon.

Sure enough the next day, I was contacted for references and asked if I might be interested in a contracting position since that would be a unique opportunity for both parties to “try before they buy.”  The original job deception, excuse me, description was rendered a complete work of fiction since they found time to re-org since our last meeting! Not wanting to rule anything out in this economy, I reluctantly said I was open to it even though my own interest had all but waned.  The hourly consulting fee they offered was a full 25% less than my asking rate which they were fully aware of in November!  When I said that was an unacceptable offer, I was assured that there would be “employee stock options” at which point I made a mental note to buy a new phone because the model I was on didn’t have a mute button which was sorely needed to muffle my laughter!  I lived through the 90s and I know how the employee stock option story line ends!

All is not lost though.  I’ve already made it to the 2nd round at not one but two organizations in 2009 which has kept my interviewing skills sharp and the realization that I might be forced to contend with equally ridiculous offers in the future without a mute button at my disposal was the perfect excuse to treat myself to a BlackBerry today!

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Change in the workplace and beyond

Photo from CNN.com

Yesterday afternoon, I went on a 2nd interview for a marketing position with a rapidly growing, private company in Manhattan. As I sat down with the extremely personable interviewer and got reacquainted over the usual small talk, he remarked that on Tuesday his staff would not be working. Instead there would be a group field trip to an Inauguration viewing party. Since I did not want to veer into an overtly political discussion (in my opinion, an absolute taboo during an interview no matter what the interviewer’s beliefs are), I simply remarked “how nice” and steered the conversation back to the open position.

Since losing my job at a large public, multinational corporation last April, I’ve been fortunate enough to go on more interviews than most of my peers. However, most of the interviews were with smaller, growing companies which strike one as a complete throwback to the 90s dotcom era. The company I visited yesterday was no different but one can’t help but believe that the opportunity to collectively view a historic event with your colleagues is a more meaningful perk than a foosball table in the breakroom (a frivolous diversion for a frivolous era).

Such a perk is not guaranteed across corporations, public or private, so I actually considerate myself fortunate to be unemployed today so I can afford the opportunity to watch the festivities on my own time. Tomorrow, the search resumes!