By Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
By being involved in both the public sector (education) and the private sector (consulting), I have been hired by several companies; thus, I have a story of an amazing hire and an absolutely awful hiring process. Each has elements that a hiring manager could learn from to start employees off being happy, rather than starting off an employee disenchanted with the process.
I will start with the most awful process for hiring that I have ever gone through. It should be noted that I did not get this job, but I will still omit the school’s name from the description. In 2017, I applied for a position at a business school to teach as an assistant professor. Having split my time between full time consulting and part-time adjuncting, I felt that it was time for me to give back to the community. I followed the normal procedure of calling the school and talking to the hiring committee chair, the department head and the HR director, all of which ensured me that they were going to hire the “most highly qualified professional they could.” The requirements for this position were simple:
I met all of these categories, exceeded them actually; so, I filed my application with the school. I had all but forgotten the application when I received an email several months later saying that I had been chosen for an interview. The school asked that I prepare a program for them, so they could look at leadership and development skills, so I committed almost all of my time for a week in preparing a state of the art program. When I had my first phone interview, the interview went well- the search committee chair said that I was the most qualified person that they had ever interviewed. The second interview went just as well. A third interview was set, so I just waited. And then I waited more, the date of the interview arrived (which I took off work) and no one called. I called in and the HR staff said that the person who was to interview me was not on campus. Three weeks later, I was going to dinner with my family and at 9 PM I received a “Dear John” email saying that I was not selected and that someone more qualified was hired. I called to ask what had caused me to be passed over, but the HR director said they could not release that information. Three days later my agent was looking at the school’s website and found out they hired a person straight out of college with no Ph.D. or MBA and no publications to their name (the requirement for scholarly academic). What she did have was a relationship to the dean, so after nearly 9 months of stringing me along with assurances that the job was mine, they gave it to someone who did not meet the qualifications.
The best hiring experience I ever had, other than my current job, of course, was the first professorial job I ever secured. When I was in law school, the school librarian worked as an adjunct at another school. One day in the library I was talking to her and she said that they were hiring a new Criminal Justice faculty. So, never having applied for an academic job before I just called and asked about it. I was directed to the dean, who asked for my CV and a cover letter. Not knowing what a CV was at the time (they don’t teach that in law school), I simply said that I did not have one. Now most jobs would have passed on me right there, and he would have been well within his rights to do so; however, Hal Moroz, whom we called the judge because he was a former judge in Georgia, took the time to have me come in and talk to him. After an hour-long interview, he said that I was going to be hired on one condition- that I took the time to go to career services and develop a CV (which he explained to me what it was). So I spend the next two hours describing my life to the career services coordinator who helped me make a CV (which I still use part of today). This is an example of a company, who saw promise in a young professional and helped them become a contributing member of their staff. I worked with Florida Metropolitan University for six years, through two buyouts But I would have never had that job if the person who was in charge of the hiring hadn’t taken the time to explain the system to me.
Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer, LLM has been a keynote speaker in Vietnam, India and presented at the ABA, and in his work with Brāv, the premier online platform to manage conflicts (www.brav.org), has been featured in such journals including U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, Kivo Daily and Yahoo Finance! He is one of the most lettered men in the world, holding eight degrees.
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