Thoughts on Consulting, Jobs, and HR

About a year ago, I had some warning that my biggest client is moving into a slightly different field of operations, and after six years of feeding me, would probably not be in a position where they could use my services – and in fact, over the past few months my workflow from them has dropped considerably, and should asymptotically approach zero in the next few months. I concluded I had two options…
1. Find a real job
2. Find a way to bulk up on other clients

I enjoy being a consultant, but I also enjoyed my time in the corporate world, so either option would work. The problem with option 2 is that I’m not that great at marketing myself. I have managed to increase my work from other clients… not enough, yet, to replace that client, but hopefully that will come soon. (Anyone need a consultant?)

Meanwhile, being a cautious guy, I’ve been responding to job adds that seem like they might fit me. If I found and was offered the right job, who am I not to take it? Given my last job in the corporate world (7 years ago) was at the Senior Manager level, and that I was promoted rapidly to that position and that my skills have improved tremendously since I was last in the corporate world, I’m looking for positions that are a step up… say, something with a title more or less like Director of Analytics or what have you. (Anyone looking to hire?)

How’s that been going? Well, I’ve had two offers that I turned down, because once I got to the interview stage, it was evident the positions weren’t quite right. I also got turned down for one job for which I would have been perfect.

But all that is merely pre-amble to the point of this post, which is an observation… I’ve noticed that in several instances, when I’ve responded to job postings that seem to literally have look like my resume, I don’t get a call back at all. And in more than one situation, I’ve had responses in which I’ve been sent questionnaires asking about specific statistical software packages. (For the record, I’ve learned, forgotten, and relearned a whole heap of them… you use what’s best for the purposes among the options available to you at the time.)

That seems especially odd to me… if you’re looking for people who know how to drive, you don’t give them a questionnaire asking them about their experience with the various buttons on the dashboard of a Honda Odyssey Minivan. I would imagine such a questionnaire is likely to get you people who have spent quality time sitting in the passenger seats of a Honda Odyssey Minivan, but will also rule out most people who actually know how to drive.

But it seems most HR people and Executive Recruiters are ill-equipped to do realize or to conduct any search for positions that are remotely numerical or analytical. When I was in the corporate world, I learned to avoid HR and to conduct job searches myself whenever I wanted to fill a position; it was best not to let HR even know you were looking until you could send them the name and contact information and details of the job offer, because otherwise they would waste my time sending me resumes of people who in no way resembled the person I needed to hire.

Anyway, I don’t particularly know where I’m going with this post, but it seems to me a big part of the problem with most companies is that they have they aren’t set up in such a way as to put the right people in the right place.

Have at it.