Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How I Got Hired On... (long)

... after a mere six-and-a-half years as a temp.

Okay, this is what I did. My circumstances are unique. This will not work at all companies, or in all circumstances. Heck, change one person in my story, and the outcome could very well have been very different. Badly different. But I know some people out there are really curious, so... here's the very, very short version.

In chronological order:

First, I worked. Hard. I did everything that was asked of me. Seriously. To this day, I don't recall ever telling someone "no". I not only fulfilled my job responsibilities, I took on more. And more. And more.

I did my work well. It didn't take long for co-workers and management to realize that I did a good job, that they could count on me to produce quality work. And I still do.

I worked efficiently. The phrase "Man, you're fast" is still heard around my desk. I can turn out projects, with quality work, in record time.

I built relationships. When asked to work with other divisions, I accepted. I treated everyone with respect, no matter their title, even when I didn't feel like it.

I learned new skills. I asked for classes. I took classes. I developed myself. I found free classes and asked to take them. I found expensive classes and asked to take them. I got additional certifications. All Mostly job-related, of course.

I made it known that I wanted to be a permanent employee. Repeatedly. And again. And one more time.

I very politely explained why it was not in the company's best interest to keep me as a temp. This included financial reports, morale surveys, and stability of someone with my responsibilities.

I formally requested to be hired on (verbally). Set a meeting with my company supervisor, and presented my arguments. When he said he had tried repeatedly to hire me on, and kept getting blocked by someone higher up in the process, I informed him I would begin looking elsewhere.
And I did
**note** already having a decent paying job allowed me to be picky. Combine that with the job market going downhill fast, and the only job offers I got increased my commute by 60+ minutes, with no increase in compensation, so I stayed. But the point being that I was prepared to leave, and willing to do so

I formally requested to be hired on (written). This one almost got me in trouble. I wrote a four page letter to my company supervisor outlining the reasons I should be hired on permanently, and requesting a response in writing. When I did not receive a response within 10 days, I sent an identical letter to his supervisor. Another 10 days had followed, and I had already printed the letter to his supervisor, when a meeting was called with HR.

See, when you're employed by an employment agency, they worry about the legality of this little thing called "co-employment". For some reason, when my boss received this letter, he sorta panicked about how to handle it, so he contacted my employment agency, who contacted the HR department of the company I was contracted to.

So when in the middle of the day my boss asks to speak with me (not unusual), but then as we start walking to the conference room I see the rep from my agency, and a member of HR, yeah, I actually thought I was being let go. I. Was. Terrified.

But... I was also ready to fight this battle. Strapped my balls on and stepped into the room.

I let them say what they wanted to say. I let them finish, not saying a word, except to nod when they asked if I understood. Then they asked if I had any questions.

I turned to my agency rep and asked why she was even here. I explained: I wrote a letter directly to the company asking for employment. Nowhere in the letter do I mention the agency. I outline my skills, my strengths, the logical reasons they should hire me. I included a copy of my resume. What does the agency have to do with that?
Silence. Stutter, stutter, stutter. Somebody muttered something about "co-employment".

I turned to the company representatives. "So, your answer is that you're not going to hire me?"
"Not at this time."
"Then I'd like you to leave"
Shocked looks. They left.

I turned to my agency rep and asked her when we were getting our base pay back (18 months prior we had taken a 10% reduction in our base pay that permanent employees did not have to take). She said she didn't know, but that the issue was "on the table" every time she talked with HR. I asked her how often. She said it varied. I asked her who she spoke with. She said she couldn't disclose that. I asked her why. She said privacy. I told her I thought that was very cowardly of these HR ghosts to hide behind her like that.

And then I left the room.

I spoke with a high-ranking company executive. Very high-ranking. I can't express enough how high this guy ranks. He talks, people jump. Sometimes literally. A lot of people are afraid of him. He walks into a room, people literally jump out of their desks to see what he wants. Remember that "building relationships" thing I talked about before? Yeah, we got that.

I ask him what I must do to be a permanent employee (I worded this very carefully, not asking him to hire me, but asking what I must do). He looked confused. I briefly explained the situation. He said he needed to think, and left the room.

He returned about 10 minutes later and called me over to his desk. He said he was confused. You see...

are you ready for this...

when I was pregnant....

the minute those words came out of his mouth, I knew why I hadn't been hired on, and I knew who was responsible (story later, this post is long enough as is).

Anyway... when I was pregnant, the issue of hiring me on was brought up, and he was told that I would no longer be interested because now I was a mother and that was no longer important to me, as if I had expressed this myself. So it was dropped and from then on when it was brought up to him... he had in mind that I was not interested.

I told him no, I was here. I have been here. I am here.

He said "okay"

A few minutes later he asked me to check the schedule of my General Manager, to see if he would be here the next day. He would. He said "I will discuss with him tomorrow. {pause} No... I will order".

And walked away.

Three days later the position was officially approved by HR, and for a company that notoriously takes a loooooong time in its hiring process, this has been shoved thru in record time (although I did still have to go thru the normal application & interview process just like anyone other outside hire).

So now, after six-and-a-half years as a "temp", I am a permanent employee. Doing pretty much the same job, with some increase in responsibility. And a huge increase in employee benefits.

And that... is how I got hired on.

1 comment:

Melissa said...


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