Writer, recruiter, and thinker Martin Burns recently tweeted, “Amazing how ineptly so many companies – some of them “great” – still handle the job candidate. This will absolutely bite you in the keister.”
The next day business / biotech exec Mike Hart called attention to venture capitalist and managing director of the firm Foundry Group Brad Feld’s request to would-be investments: “If you are interested in talking to me about a potential investment, please just tweet it. Limit yourself to 140 characters – that’s more than enough to describe what you are doing.”
I count a number of VCs as friends. And I’ve heard more than my fair share of stories regarding the brilliant entrepreneur with the great idea who struggles to distill the idea down to the sort of brief elevator pitch that works with folks who have the attention span of a gnat. I don’t know Brad, but it’s that type of behavior that keeps exec and leadership team coaches like me in buseinsss.
140 characters to pitch an idea? Get real.
Martin is spot-on. Poor behavior toward job candidates – and poor behavior toward entrepreneurs – bites you in the butt.
This sort of poor form behavior is stuff you see in both good times and bad – but during seller’s markets as we’re in now (lots of candidates for fewer job openings, lots of people looking for funding from cash constrained VCs) it gets worse.
There is a vulgar joke about dogs and their genitals that any high school freshmen male knows that ends with the line, “Because they can.”
And that’s why some employers and some investors act badly: because they can.
My friend Natalie Goldfein reminded me once that even a Conservative rabbi would tell you to eat pork if you were starving. So if you’re desperate for a job, or for funding, then take a job (or funding) with somebody who treats people badly. It won’t be the first, or last time, you can expect that type of behavior.
But if you have the choice, choose employers who treat candidates – or VCs who treat would be investments – well.
Why? Because it’s more likely thats the type of behavior you’ll see on the job – or as a portfolio company.
As noted in [Recruiting] How to Say “No Thanks” to Candidates when you’re asking for money – or applying for a job – take note of how you’re treated. It’s not that hard to be polite, and to structure a process that treats human like – well, humans.
If the process is poorly done or the behaviors are boorish you can expect more of the same working with the firm.
I know of serious money that has gone to one vendor over another because of some act of poor behavior that was remembered years later when a bidding processes occurs.
People like to think business is rational, it’s not. It’s frequently very personal.
And memories of being treated poory, like a bad experience in high school, lasts a lifetime for some people.
Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive and team coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab above.