Saturday, March 7, 2009

Those darn thank you notes...

After an interview, I always send a thank you note. I've noticed that a lot of interviewees don't do this any more. But, those that do, always score extra points with me.

I had a round of two interviews this week for a contract job at a start up company. I think the interviews went well -- obviously the first one went well, otherwise I wouldn't have made it to round two. And, from what I could tell, I did reasonably well in the second round. This is a company that makes decisions reasonably quickly. If I was out of the running, they would have told me so.

So, after 3 hours of interviews, I had to write thank you notes. Took me forever. Partly, because after meeting 4 different people, I had a little trouble remembering what I had discussed with the first person. Also, I hate writing these little notes. Sometimes it's hard to figure out the right words in such a brief message. Sound enthusiastic, but not over the top. Remember something that indicates I was listening to what they said.

I came home from the interviews fairly excited. I felt like I might be a top contender. But, then reality hit. I received email from the HR person indicating that they still have interviews to complete but that they would make a final decision by Monday afternoon. Which means I have competition. It's not a slam dunk, a done deal. There's just as much chance that I *won't* get the job as will. Perhaps, the thank you notes will help? Push me over the edge, if the other candidates don't do the same? Who knows.

And all this energy and hope for a contract job. That's right, once again, no matter how much the people say they see the documentation as part of the product, it's not important enough to add the person creating it to the permanent staff. No equity in the company, no real stake in its success. It's a bit hypocritical. The people I met all talked about these wonderful ideas about doing creating, innovative, and progressive things. But, are they ready to put their money where their mouth is? After all, a contractor is paid by the hour. If you want extra stuff that requires extra time, you have to pay for it. Hire the person as permanent staff, and the extra time comes at no extra cost.

What's with start ups and hiring only contract technical writers? I've seen that a lot.

Another reason for my enthusiasm to wain is that I stopped and reminded myself that even if I get this job, it's a temporary stop gap. After a couple of months, I'll have to start the job search all over again, because the contract will be for a set amount of time. After that, who knows? The VP of Engineering seemed to think the contract job will likely turn into a permanent one (his comment is that they'll need to bring the person in as permanent staff sooner than they they actually anticipate once they realize how much work is needed). But, anything can happen.

What I really want is a nice, local, permanent position. But, I don't see that happening anytime soon. Certainly, I haven't seen anything local. Returning to a long commute again is tiresome but right now, there's no choice. On the plus side, it IS good to know that I still can get through an interview without making a fool of myself. The people I met seemed to enjoy our conversations.

We'll see how it goes. If this job falls through, I'm thinking of taking a short term (albeit low paying) contract, just to keep busy. And get paid more than what unemployment will provide. And return to the job search. I took this week off, as a reward for interviewing well this week. Next week, I may have to return to the hunt again.

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