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The prince charming/ugling duckling chronicles, Part Deux.

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5ksandcabernets: The prince charming/ugling duckling chronicles, Part Deux.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The prince charming/ugling duckling chronicles, Part Deux.

I came in from my run Thursday morning all ready to blog about how much better my legs have been feeling since I've been seeing a massage therapist.

And then I logged on to my computer and saw that my Wednesday post, the one about Community Impact Newspaper deciding I was not good enough to hire, was getting a lot of hits from computers in the Austin area. Immediately, I knew that a person or persons from Community Impact Newspaper was reading my blog. (One of the search terms that said person(s) used to find my blog was, "Community Impact Newspaper" rejection letter.

By 10 a.m., I had more than half a dozen hits about the post from, according to Google Analytics site tracker, computers located in Pflugerville, which just so happens to be the home base of Community Impact Newspaper.

Ok, I thought. That's fair. I had a lot of strong opinions. Surely, there would be some opposition. Finally, at 10:18 a.m., an anonymous poster left this note in the comments section:

The idea that you would be turned down for a job because you're over-qualified seems ridiculous but then again, so is everything else involved with getting a new job. I wonder though — and I say this meaning to be honest, not to insult — if maybe you didn't come across as arrogant. No one wants employees who think they're too good for a job because they'll jump ship the first chance they get.

As writers, we need to be reminded to drop the pretensions: News writing is a trade, a skill one can be taught. We're not artists and you're not Ernest Hemingway. When reporters are losing jobs left and right, a certain degree of humility is in order — a realization that we're not as valuable as we once were and we should be thankful for any chance to do the thing we love.

I would also point out that blogging negatively about a job (saying you're more interested in another publication) while you're still in consideration, might not be the best idea when your thoughts can be retrieved with a simple Google search of your name.

Anyways, I say all of this not meaning to insult you but to wish you the best of luck. It's sad to see how many excellent writers are being forced to change careers because of the state of newspapers. I hope the job you're really after works out for you.

I thought about what this poster said for a few minutes then replied. Basically, I said that perhaps my post was arrogant, but I was not arrogant during the interview, that I would have worked my tail off, and that my latest blog post didn't come until after I'd already been told I was not getting a job.

Blink. Sigh. Deep sigh.

I wondered if that post came from the HR lady, whom i thought was pleasant (and stunningly attractive) or from management (which would have been really low considering that I signed my name to the personal letter i sent them - and they have yet to reply.)

Turns out, the post came from one of the paper's reporters. At least that's what the anonymous poster wrote in another comment on my blog at 4:35 p.m. Thursday. (And since he/she is not management, I can understand and accept the fact that person would want to remain anonymous. I mean, newspaper management always wants their reporters to have opinions and not put up with b.s. and be critical thinkers, but let one of them criticize one of their own editors/managers and its, "off with their heads.")

Anyways, anon's new post in my comments section read, in part, "@Kevin Thanks for your response. I did not mean to say it was ridiculous to assume you did not get the job because you were overqualified. To the contrary, I would be willing to bet that is exactly what happened. I meant that it is ridiculous that employers decide someone is somehow too good for the job they are offering."

To that and any other Community Impact Newspaper reporter, let me say this: please accept my apology. Having read and re-read my blog post, I probably came off like a little shit in saying that I can do the job that it takes two or three of you to do. You guys/gals, I'm sure, are just hard working employees trying to do your job. I don't know anything about you, your talents, or what your lot in life is. I should have found a better way to voice my displeasure with your management team.

(By the way, anon, how did you know to google my name or whatever it is you googled to find my blog right after they turned me down for a job? That's quite some timing.)

Still, I'd like to make two points about the entire "ordeal."

To anonymous' point about an employee who may jump ship the first chance they get: Look, your management team was offering low 30s for a salary, which is not even living wages. Still, I would have taken that and worked two jobs to make ends meet because it would have been a job (reporting) that I enjoyed. I guarantee you this: There is not one person at that company making low 30s who is running around shouting, "Whoopeeee, I'm making 30k a year. I'm set for life, brutha," unless he/she is a relative of the publisher/editor. Seriously, I and anyone else looking for a job in today's climate would be stupid not to try to have more than one option open to them.

To your point about my arrogance: Please explain, for there was nothing but positive, effervescent communication between myself and your HR person from the very first contact until she sent me the rejection letter. Seriously, 30 minutes after I sent my resume and clips to the newspaper, the HR lady was trying to set up an interview.

How it went down....

On Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 11:23 a.m., I sent Community Impact Newspaper a resume and letter of interest after spotting their want-ad on Craigslist.

Less than 30 minutes later, at 11:47 a.m., the HR lady replies:

Hi Kevin,

It was great to hear from you. You definitely have the qualifications we are looking for in a candidate. I would like to bring you in for an interview but in an attempt to make the interview process worth while for both parties, I would like for you to know up front that our starting salary for a reporter is in the lower 30's. Please let me know if this is something you would still be interested in and or your salary requirements.

With Kind Regards,


Obviously,at this point, they were really excited about me. But they were worried about whether or not I'd work for that kind of money. So, 32 minutes later, here was my response:

Thanks for the note about the starting salary at your publication. I'd still like to talk to someone about the open position. While the lower 30s is not ideal, neither is being unemployed. Let me know what the possibilities are for an interview, and which office has the open position.

Thanks again..



38 minutes later, the HR lady calls from her cell phone and we have our first non-email communication. We talk for about a minute. She asks if I can come in the next day at 10 a.m. for an interview. I say I have a prior engagement and can we make it later in the afternoon. She asks if 2 p.m. is ok. I say great. A few minutes after the phone call, the HR person sends me confirmation of our scheduled interview and cc'd it to the paper's executive editor. The confirmation says the HR lady and the executive editor will be at the interview.


Now, by this time, I think I'll get a job offer. I mean, in the space of two hours, I've gone from an anonymous job seeker at Community Impact Newspaper to having an interview scheduled with someone in HR and the executive editor.

But between that 1:33 p.m. Tuesday email from the HR lady until just before I stepped foot in the offices of Community Impact Newspaper 24 hours later, something went wrong.

I mean check out the verbiage when they first contacted me: It was great to hear from you. You definitely have the qualifications we are looking for in a candidate.

And now check out how they told me I was not getting the job: While your background and experience are strong, we have identified other candidates whose experience more closely matches our needs at this time.

Huh. First I had the qualifications, then I didn't. What changed? Well, it wasn't me and my big mouth. I didn't blog, twitter, or facebook about the interview until afterwards, when they had clearly already decided that they would not hire me.

I mean, they went from, "Let's get this guy in here for an interview, pronto," to, "Uh, well, you (HR Lady) deal with him. Here is a set of questions you can ask him to practice your HR'ing. We've got better things to do."

Again, my point is this, and excuse the exaggeration, but... The owner or manager of the night club does not send HR to interview Frank Sinatra as a lounge singer without talking to old blue eyes himself. Unless, of course, the owner/manager doesnt want to face Sinatra his/herself and tell him he isn't qualified.


Anyways, enough about Community Impact Newspaper. Like I told them, they are a gutsy organization and they'll be fine without me.



Blogger Kungpow12 said...

Hey Kevin, I've been keeping up with your blog for a while now through Google Reader. First of all, best wishes on your job search in a tough industry right now.

I would agree with Anon. in that in this day and age it's so easy for anyone to find your blog and your opinions in the net that something like a frustrated post about a mystifying job interview can be found quickly, unfortunately.

From your recounting of the communications with the HR person, my guess would be that while the HR person may have been really interested in your qualifications, the executive editor or someone else in the food chain may have had a different set of qualifications and experiences in mind. It seems like she set up the interview before talking to the executive editor (although maybe not...I'm just guessing) and if they had two differing ideas of what to identify in a candidate for the position, that's where the breakdown might have occurred.

Nonetheless, it's frustrating to get mixed signals like that. At least now you know that lots of people are potentially seeing your blog and they're not all runners.

Good luck with the job search!

September 18, 2009 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

@kungpow12 - hey, thanks for stopping by. I've added your blog to my google reader and will be checking you out as well. When I was a sports writer, I covered the Orioles (Summer of 1994) and loved going to Camden Yards. Love the Inner Harbor.
-I think your comments are right on. I am not sweating the fact that 'other' people read my blog, though. And in fact, I fully expected someone there to read it. I try to use caution when I am writing with an attitude or a little edge and fully accept the consequences of what i write.
Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and i'm looking forward to how your runs go.

September 18, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
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December 29, 2009 at 5:57 AM  

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