THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

March 13, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: A Break from the Routine

You’ve probably heard the admonition that “all work and no play makes for a very dull person.” I think it’s sound advice, especially for recruiters who are some of the hardest working people I know. For that reason, I’m putting aside my normal column this week and offering something different: a “whodunit” that we all can probably relate to, if only in a small way. I recognize that it’s not Daschell Hammitt, but I hope, at least, that it provides an entertaining break from the routine.

Thanks for reading,

Peter

When Everyone Has a Motive

It was all everyone was talking about on Monday morning. Over their first cups of coffee and, later, around the Poland Springs bottles in the break room, each person had their own theory. Paul Appleton had been murdered over the weekend, and the police were still looking for the culprit.

Appleton was a senior project manager for Xerxes Pharmaceutical Research Corporation. He had been with the ten year old company almost from its beginning–had employee number 0021, in fact–and some thought that was the problem. The company now had 725 employees and was looking to recruit more. It had a hot new drug that was already exceeding sales projections; you could smell the rich scent of opportunity wafting through the corridors. Xerxes was going to be a winner big time.

None of that made any difference to Appleton, however. Even as the company grew, Paul Appleton stayed just as he had begun. He was hired with one persona and wasn’t about to switch to another. He was who he was, and nothing that was happening at Xerxes would cause him to change. Besides, he didn’t believe in fairy tales and never pretended to be Prince Charming.

In fact, Paul Appleton wasn’t even close. He was the quintessential single-minded supervisor. A control freak and a bachelor to boot, he was married to his work. Stories about his behavior were legend. When a subordinate once missed a report deadline because his child was ill, he was reputed to have said, “I don’t care about your daughter. That’s not my problem. The last time I checked, having sick kids wasn’t a part of your job description. Be late again and you can sit at home with the kid … and without a job.”

“I think the old bastard died of acid reflux disease. He was the bitterest SOB I ever met.” That came from Fortuna Isringham, the company gossip. She was the receptionist in the Human Resource Department and was reputed to know more than her fair share of everyone’s dark secrets.

It was mid-morning, and a small group of workers had gathered around the coffee pot in the break room for a refill. The door to Appleton’s office was directly across the hall from where they stood. Unlike on other workdays, it was now closed.

“I had scheduled a bunch of interviews for him on Friday afternoon,” Fortuna went on, “and he was always awful about doing them, but on this day, he was at his worst.”

She gazed into the middle distance as she thought back to the previous week. “The first person arrived right on time, so I came down here and stuck my head in his door to tell him we were ready to start.”

“Mr. Appleton, your 3:00 p.m. interview is ….”

“Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Yes, but we scheduled this session over a ….”

“Look. I don’t get paid to entertain every Tom, Dick and Harry that HR wants to drag in the door. I’m busy doing something important. Tell him to wait.”

But, Mr. Apple ….”

“I said tell him to wait or tell him to leave. Those are his two choices. Do you think you can remember that?” The sarcasm laced though his words stung her as if she’d been slapped.

“Yes, Mr. Appleton.”

She looked back at her coworkers. “Well, I came back across the hall-we’re seating interviewees in here these days”-she nodded at the break room where they were standing-“and I could tell the guy, the interviewee, had heard Appleton’s little tirade.”

“He was a short, slight man, who wore thick glasses. They gave him a bookish kind of look, but his face had hardened into this huge scowl. Before I could apologize or anything, he said, ‘Who does that jerk think he is? I was invited to come in here and interview. I applied for the job, but you asked me to be here. No one should be treated like this, but least of all, not a guest of your company.'”

“Yes, I know. You’re right,” I replied. “But, there’s really not anything I can do about it. I mean, I’m sorry, but he’s just ….”

“Well, there’s certainly something I can do about it. I’m taking option B. Mr. Poison Personality in there gave me a choice, and I’ve made it. I’m outa’ here. And you can tell him for me that I really wanted this job-I could do a lot for this company-and it sickens me that someone like him is deciding who gets hired.”

“He said it loud enough for Appleton to hear, and then, he stomped out. Appleton didn’t even bat an eye. I went across the hall and asked him what he wanted me to do, and you know what he said?” She waited a second for the suspense to build. “He told me to get the hell out of his office. I was just doing my job, and he told me that. Can you believe it? He was such a bastard.”


This Issue’s Sponsor: WEDDLE’s Public Training

The most successful recruiters are always adding new skills and refreshing their expertise with old ones. In short, they see themselves as a work-in-progress and are forever getting better at what they do. If that’s your approach, WEDDLE’s 2008 Spring-Summer Public Training Series is just what you need.

The WEDDLE’s Training Series provides a full curriculum of training programs that are delivered by toll-free teleconference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply call a toll-free number and have the presentation delivered right to you.

  • Everyone in your office can listen in or you can take the course by yourself.
  • You can download the PowerPoint slides onto your computer or print them out and use them for note-taking.
  • You don’t have to spend the time to travel to another location, but can take the training wherever it’s convenient for you.
  • All of the programs are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, and draw on WEDDLE’s 10+ years of research into the Best Practices for online sourcing and recruiting. The 2008 Spring-Summer series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group. It includes:

  • April 2, 2008: Online Networking: More Than a Pretty Face & an Address
  • April 23, 2008: Data Mining for Rare & Valuable Talent
  • May 7, 2008: eBranding: the Key to Attracting Passive Prospects
  • May 21, 2008: Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield
  • June 10, 2008: “Precruitment:” Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • June 18, 2008: Transforming Supervisors into CROs: Chief Retention Officers
  • These are great learning opportunities presented by one of our industry’s most highly rated speakers. In addition, you can’t beat the price; it’s hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere.

    Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats right away. To get additiional information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.

    Note: Sessions are not recorded and reservations are final and binding.


    The Day Drags On

    Fortuna topped off her coffee cup and looked at her coworkers for sympathy. Some shook their heads and others frowned, but she could tell that all of them were as appalled by Appleton’s behavior as she was.

    “So, what happened next,” one of her coworkers asked.

    “Well, an hour later, Appleton’s next interviewee comes in. This guy is huge, maybe six two and he looks like he could break Appleton into little pieces if he got out of line. So, I put him in here and go stand in Appleton’s doorway again.”

    “What is it this time?”

    “Your next interviewee is here.”

    “What do I have to say so you’ll get the message?”

    “Wha … what?”

    “I’m busy. Don’t you HR people have something better to do than interrupt those of us who are making money for this company? I’m not interviewing anybody today.”

    “But, but we scheduled these people to come in and see you. You said it was ….”

    “I don’t’ care what I said. That was then; this is now. It’s not going to happen today. Now, get out of my office.”

    “Wait a second, buddy.”

    Appleton looked past the secretary and saw a huge figure looming in the doorway.

    “Who the hell are you?”

    “Can you believe it?” Fortuna looked into the faces of the workers gathered around her. “The guy who was in for the interview had come across the hall, and he was standing in the doorway like some Goliath. He looked like he was going to rip Appleton’s head off.”

    “I’m the person who was invited in to interview with you, and I don’t appreciate ….”

    “I don’t care what you appreciate,” Appleton snapped back. “Get out of my office or I’ll call Security.”

    “You go right ahead and call whoever you want because I’m not going anywhere, you miserable little …”

    Fortuna shook her head, wondering still at the memory. “Appleton grabbed his phone, called Security, and they were there in like two minutes. It was pretty tense. I thought this guy was going to rush across the room and tear Appleton’s head off. But, he just sat there calm as could be and stared the guy down.”

    “What happened,” one of the workers asked.

    “Appleton told the two guards that the man had threatened him, and he wanted the guy removed from the premises. So, they put themselves on either side of him-you know, to escort him out the door-and for a moment, it looked like there was going to be a fight. Then, the guy just turned around and walked off. The guards followed him to the door, and he left. I never saw him again.”

    “So, is he a suspect in Appleton’s murder,” another coworker asked.

    “I don’t know what the police are thinking, but I can’t believe he isn’t,” Fortuna replied. “In fact, to me, this office is the logical place to begin.”


    Who Had the Motive?

    “Why do you think it was someone from work,” asked a voice from the back of the group. “It could have been a random act, you know. Or he could have been having problems with someone where he lived.”

    “I know that,” Fortuna replied. “But remember, this is Paul Appleton we’re talking about. Work was the only thing he lived for.”

    “Then, I guess that makes all of us suspects,” concluded another voice. “I mean, just about all of us have had run-ins with the guy.”

    “That’s for sure,” someone else said. “Andy up in Independent Projects had a huge falling out with him just last week. They were shouting at each other in the halls. The whole fourth floor was in an uproar.”

    “Well, as you might imagine,” Fortuna interjected, “Stella Perkins was absolutely livid, as well. She was the recruiter in charge of Appleton’s opening-the one the interviews had been set up for-and this was the second time he had cancelled out on her. I heard her tell her boss that either she would no longer have to work with Appleton or she was resigning. I mean, it was serious.”

    “Yeah, but get a grip; being angry is a long stretch from deciding to murder someone,” one of the workers said.

    “I’m not saying she or anyone else here did it,” retorted Fortuna, “but we’ve all read the stories about angry people doing in their coworkers. Office rage is real.”

    “Come on, Fortuna. That’s a stretch.”

    “Well apparently, there was a clue at his house,” Fortuna added quickly. “The police found it.”

    “Is that right,” exclaimed one of the group.

    “What was it,” someone else asked.

    “The cops called this morning and said that Appleton had written a note.”

    “He wrote a note?”

    “Before he died?”

    “Well, not exactly a note,” Fortuna corrected herself. “Believe it or not, he wrote something on the floor of his kitchen with his own blood.”

    “You’re kidding. Like in the DaVinci Code?”

    “Yep, just like that. He was stabbed, and that’s what he did. He wrote out a clue, and the cops, they wanted to know if we had any ideas about what it might mean.”

    “Well, what did he write?”

    “Yeah, what was it?”

    “I’m not sure that I supposed to tell anyone,” Fortuna said coyly. She was enjoying her time at the center of attention.

    “Come on, Fortuna,” said one of her coworkers. “You can’t hold this back from us. Maybe we can help to figure it out. What did the note say?”

    Fortuna looked around at her coworkers and said, “He wrote 4 I.”

    “What?”

    “That’s it?

    Yea, that’s all he wrote,” Fortuna concluded. “Just the number four and the letter I.”

    “What does it mean?”

    “It could mean anything, I guess. Or anyone. But one thing is certain, Appleton thought he was telling us exactly how to figure out the identity of his killer.

    Whodunit? Send your theory regarding the culprit to me at peter@weddles.com. I’ll print some of the best in my next newsletter and, of course, tell you who it was who did the deed.

    Post Script. If you enjoyed this break from the routine, please pass your newsletter along to a friend so that they can enjoy it, as well. And make sure they know that they can get their own (free) copy of WEDDLE’s newsletter by signing up at www.weddles.com. Thanks!


    Support Our sponosr: WEDDLE’s Training

    The most successful recruiters are always adding new skills and refreshing their expertise with old ones. In short, they see themselves as a work-in-progress and are forever getting better at what they do. If that’s your approach, WEDDLE’s 2008 Spring-Summer Public Training Series is just what you need.

    The WEDDLE’s Training Series provides a full curriculum of training programs that are delivered by toll-free teleconference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply call a toll-free number and have the presentation delivered right to you.

  • Everyone in your office can listen in or you can take the course by yourself.
  • You can download the PowerPoint slides onto your computer or print them out and use them for note-taking.
  • You don’t have to spend the time to travel to another location, but can take the training wherever it’s convenient for you.
  • All of the programs are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, and draw on WEDDLE’s 10+ years of research into the Best Practices for online sourcing and recruiting. The 2008 Spring-Summer series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group. It includes:

  • April 2, 2008: Online Networking: More Than a Pretty Face & an Address
  • April 23, 2008: Data Mining for Rare & Valuable Talent
  • May 7, 2008: eBranding: the Key to Attracting Passive Prospects
  • May 21, 2008: Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield
  • June 10, 2008: “Precruitment:” Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • June 18, 2008: Transforming Supervisors into CROs: Chief Retention Officers
  • These are great learning opportunities presented by one of our industry’s most highly rated speakers. In addition, you can’t beat the price; it’s hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere.

    Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats right away. To get additiional information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.

    Note: Sessions are not recorded and reservations are final and binding.