[ GIAN FAYE PAGUIRIGAN]

web geekery & autodidactism

May 26, 2014

During job interviews, one of the most absurd questions the interviewer might ask the interviewee is this: “If you are hired, do you plan to stay permanently?”

The default answer should be a ‘No’. There are a few things in this world that are permanent – death, legacy (not in object sense), the continuity of time, and change. Anything else is ephemeral.

If they are to revise the question and ask if you plan to stay long-term or short-term, you cannot answer this either. Not during the interview. Unless you just want to impress them or you desperately need the job, you would automatically respond the safest answer. By answering ‘long-term’, you are either fooling yourself or fooling the company – or both. It is NOT an honest answer.

If you were asked the “Long-term/Short-term” question, you can politely say that it is not the best time to answer it. This is why most employers alot a 3-6 month evaluation period. Most people (mostly employers) think that this ‘evaluation period’ is just for them to evaluate the new hire. This assumption has brought not only fear on the new hire’s side that they should be impressive on the first few months of their new employment, it is also NOT authentic.

This evaluation period is both for the employer and the new employee. The employer will observe for a period how the new employee performs. And the new employee will observe how the employer and the company as a whole perform. It is a two-way road, not one. This shouldn’t be a ‘to-impress’ phase. What happens when the evaluation period ended? The tendency in this ‘to-impress’ fallacy would be that the new hire will stay less pressured, and relax. And there’s a big possibility that after the evaluation period, the new hire will perform less than when she or he is evaluated. This should NOT be a ‘to-impress’ phase.

As I mentioned, it is a two-way road. In case the new hire’s expectation of the company or how they function doesn’t compare with what took place within the evaluation period, it would be a smart move for the new hire to part ways early on this stage. I have personally experienced this. On the first 2 months, the company is fun. It is a great place to work at, and you get along well with your co-workers. Then, as most companies grow, there are changes. Change is always inevitable. But, there IS a but.

They set new rules as they grew. But some people do not like following rules, and that includes me. I actually hate rules. It is a barbarian term for me. Unless it is law or traffic enforcement, I see no point in setting and following new rules. It felt like I am playing the game, then there’s new mechanics. They didn’t even ask us if it’s okay if they change mechanics while we’re still playing. It’s rude. I mostly accept ‘guidelines’. Rules? Mostly NOT.

And so the company changed. But what if the things you liked about the company, the mostly reason why you applied and took the job in the first place, were a part of this change?

Plus ca change,
plus c’est la meme chose.
The more things change,
the more they stay the same.
- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

We Are The Company

This is one of the misconceptions of employers. Most of them think highly of themselves and assume that THEY are the company. This is wrong. And this employer mindset always became the reason why their business fail.

Before setting new rules, ask your employees: “What makes you stay with the company?” “What qualities of the work environment do you like most?” After getting all of their responses, look at your new-rules draft and see if they are approriate with all of the responses. If the new rule is really necessary, converse with your employees whose answers conflict with the new rules you need to set. Early on this stage, it would save a lot of time and money if both parties settled an agreement – either the employees will follow the new rule even if it conflicts with ‘what makes them stay with your company’, or they both agree that it would be best to part ways. If the employee answered the first, you are lucky. They are willing to sacrifice their own preferences, or even principles (in moral sense) for you. But realistically, those who answered the latter know themselves better.

This is also why the “Long-term/Short-term” question I mentioned earlier should be asked after the evaluation period. If they decided that they plan to work for you in a long-term period, congratulations, you just passed your employee’s evaluation!


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