How to Manage a Job Interviewer Whose Knowledge is Outdated & Unfocused
September 28, 2012 6:16 PM Subscribe
I am presently going through interviews for an IT consulting position with a nationally known firm. I've been through two extended phone interviews. The initial call with the recruiter went great, but I just had a call with one of the main staff members and it was a train wreck. Extra library/MLIS snowflake details...
Keeping this anonymous because I need some input while still going through the interview process.
I am one of those library/MLIS folks who have switched over into working with IT, especially with helping organizations do a better job of managing their digital information. Anybody who's got the background but also been working with technology can probably agree that there is a screaming need for better organization/management, but that there is still a lot of jargon and misinformation out there. For the past 2 weeks, I've been interviewing for a job with a well placed IT firm to come on board as one of their specialists in this area, and I'd be pretty stoked to be in a position where I could use my library/organization skills to actually make systems work.
My first interview was with the main recruiter from HR and it went really well. I went through the job description and wrote up notes for each bullet point as examples of my work experience and education that related to it. We had a good conversation and she said I was a strong candidate for the position. The next step is to do more interviews with their staff and after the first one, I'm wondering what my take-away should be from that meeting.
If you went to Library School (or have worked in a library), did you have tech guys whose experience is based in 1960s/mainframe computing? These were the professors that my advisor told me to avoid because their knowledge was based on a completely different worldview and model than what's happening in technology during the present day. Well, the interview I had yesterday was with a senior staff member who is that guy. And who this position would report to until he retires in a few months and would be expected to mentor. My concern is not that somebody is old or that they cut their teeth in technology 40 years ago. It's that his knowledge of the actual area of expertise and specifically the standards/practices that come out of the Library/Information Science appears to be zero. Instead a 45 minute phone call turned into a 90 minutes of him asking me details like why I had my undergraduate major in X topic, what year I graduated from high school, why I had taken a certain job not related to the position, "let's do role playing," and absolutely nothing about the specific topic at hand. I tried to politely ask him when it was my turn for questions what his knowledge/experience was in the area and got the story about how he was "an old hand" because he's worked on an ANSI standard related to it back in the early 1980s. Oh and when I was asked about a specific technology I'd managed for a project, he kept interrupting me with "Is that the Cloud?" and when I tried to politely say no and steer it back to the more relevant details, he kept trying to push the point.
So far I've been told that they'll be scheduling more calls and I'd at least like to talk to the other staff members. But after that call, I'm wondering how this guy is going to evaluate me given his behavior and lack of actual knowledge as was stated in the job description. Also if he's that bonkers in his approach (which surprised me because it's a reputable firm), what can I expect for the rest of the calls? Or was this just a courtesy situation where he's retiring anyways, but has to be included in the process?