What Is a Job For?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Some time ahead of our move to St. Louis, I was faced with a situation very similar to the one described in the following question, which headhunter Nick Corcodilos entertains:

I applied for a job with a small company. I got a call saying they have not ruled me out as a candidate but they were taking their time filling the position with someone with more experience. Months later, the job is still posted. Should I call them and offer to do the job as an intern? I really want this job!
My situation was a little different: I had been told during my interview that I would know one way or the other within a week. A month later, just as I was about to follow up for the second time, I saw the same job being advertised. (I contacted the boss of the hiring contact anyway and learned that someone else had been hired.)

Upon hearing about this, someone suggested to me that I offer to work as an intern. I never considered that advice seriously, and Corcodilos gives a spot-on explanation for why that is a terrible idea. (In her defense, the job was a half-step towards a career change I have wanted to make for some time.)
I know your motivation about a job can be very high. But let's play devil's advocate: Why would you want a job so much, when they don't want you? They've put you on hold. They don't see a fit. Not ruling you out doesn't mean much if they have not stayed in touch with you. My advice is to move on and find a company that really wants you. Be careful with intern jobs -- it's often the signal to a company that you're willing to do anything. Your best negotiating position with these guys is to develop other options. [bold added]
A job is a form of trade, and part of trade is recognizing the value one has to offer. If you don't demand just payment, you practically guarantee that you will not receive it.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

Not ruling you out doesn't mean much if they have not stayed in touch with you.

It might mean they don't think you fit the present job but that another job may open up in the future for which you are a fit.

Or it may simply mean they just want to have a pool of resumes on file because it makes them feel better.

At my company, intern jobs are specifically designed to be for temporary workers to do temporary tasks and generally not as gateways to permanent employment.

Gus Van Horn said...

That's true about the possibility of some other position down the pike, but who rationally makes plans around such a possibility?