I started my career in the IT field. It was not until fifteen years ago, into my third job before I even realize there was an AV field. Since that time, I have been proud to call myself an AV guy. The biggest reason I consider being an AV Guy a compliment is that AV Guys and Girls (#AVTweeps) are just darn nice people. I think that many people have the typical view of the grouchy, mean and not helpful IT guy. Few people have that same view of the AV groups. Far and large we are known to have a better “bedside manner” and more focused on helping than IT people.
However, what I learned this year at InfoComm disappointed me about some of the MAJOR manufacturers in the industry. I am writing this a call to those companies to review some of their human resources practices.
First, a story. Several years ago I was considering a move into a manufacturing company as an educational representative. I had two possible opportunities. The first time this happened I had a disappointing, but not-horrible experience. I was invited for an interview with a manufacturer to be one of their education representatives. The company flew me to their location and did what I would expect. They paid for travel, food and expenses. We had a full day of interviews and I flew back home. A week went by, and no word. Then a second week went by, again no word. I wrote to the director (a person about 50 percent of the industry would know by name) I interviewed with and asked him about the position. I did this because it had been made clear to me that there were a few positions open and they would hire someone when they found the right person. After that email, I had no response. Three weeks, no news. At that point I knew that I had not gotten the position (and probably for good reason). However, it took the company seven weeks to send me a letter to that effect.
The second company (a MAJOR company) I interviewed with was even a worse story. I am closer to the company so I actually drove several hours to the headquarters. It is far enough away from me that I did need to stay in a hotel paid for by said company. However, they never made any offer of paying for the travel or for any food needed. I was on my own for that. I was appropriately early to the headquarters on the morning of the interview and was still forced to wait twenty minutes past our scheduled time (9:00 a.m.) to meet the person I would interview with. The interview lasted about one and a half hours and I was on my way. When I left this location I was so upset by the entire experience that I knew I would not take a job, even if offered. That ended up not being a problem because after that time and personal expense, I NEVER heard back from the company.
Now, back to InfoComm this year. I was having dinner with a few friends and we started chatting. I started telling them about my experiences, and they were not surprised. From the three other people, I heard several more horror stories. These included experiences like mine, and several even worse. One of the people I was talking with had travelled back and forth to a company for several interviews over the course of three to four months. That person, too, never heard back from the company. In the course of discussion, at least four or five names of the most significant companies in our industry were mentioned as companies that people had horrible experiences with. To be clear, none were upset they did not get a specific job. They were upset with the way they had been treated.
So my appeal to the human resources departments, and the directors that are hiring people, at all AV companies is to please adopt the “bedside” manner of the rest of the AV world. The very skilled people in the industry who are looking at your company as a possible home are balancing as many things as you are. They are considering leaving a job, moving their family, changing their salary and starting up somewhere new. To treat these people so rude as to not even follow up after an in person interview is not how we do it in AV.
I would love to hear the stories you may have of such experiences. Did the group I talked with have uniquely bad experiences? Have you had different experiences? The same kind? Tweet me and let me know about them.