Wooing For Work
January 3, 2011 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Am I Being Courted? (In the professional sense)

I am a PhD candidate. My research is in a pretty niche topic. I won't say what it is exactly, but it would a akin to the "the impacts of social networks on education" (i.e. small but with practical implications). In addition to my research, I also write a respected blog related on my research topic. The combination of my niche research focus and my blog has made me relatively well known in my little area of expertise.

A year ago, the director of a small but influential government institute directly related to me research, we'll call him "Steve", introduced himself to at a conference. He had recognized my name tag and wanted to meet me. We had lunch and he seemed very interested in my work. I would be very interested in working for Steve, but we never discussed anything like that.

Over the next year we occasionally exchanged emails. Then, last week I happened to be near Steve's office (I live across the country), and I asked if he wanted to have lunch sometime. He replied and said he'd like to buy me lunch and was going to "bring the whole office so they could meet [me]".

Is Steve "courting" me by bringing the whole office (maybe a 5-10 people) to meet me and wants to hire me? Or am I reading into it?

Any guesses would be appreciated.
posted by LudgerLassen to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it's hard to say. He could just be interested in the subject and want to network with you. If you're interested in working for him you should just ask him if he knows anyone hiring in the field.
posted by delmoi at 4:43 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Certainly sounds like it. As a PhD candidate that is the only reason people at Nat'l labs have contacted me, though usually they have been explicit about recruiting.
posted by pseudonick at 4:47 PM on January 3, 2011

I would guess since you are known and respected in their field, that Steve and the rest of his office are interested in the work you've done and are excited to meet you.

Seeing as how he does seem to be favorably impressed with you, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to put out some feelers in regard to potential employment. But my impression is that he's not "courting" you at this point.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:53 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, you're being courted. Basically he's going to show you off to the whole team. If they like you he will probably make you some sort of offer.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:54 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whether he is or he isn't, your response should be the same. Put your best professional face forward and put out the feelers for either a position with their institute or another one that Steve might be able to refer you to. Perhaps say, "I would be interested in furthering work in this field by doing x" where x is something you might be able to do with Steve's institute.

Even if he is courting you, he's obviously not being fully open about so that if it doesn't seem right after meeting with you there's no need to withdraw an offer.

Any professional meeting holds the potential for future employment whether directly or indirectly.
posted by waterandrock at 5:08 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sounds like it. I hear about this sometimes about NIH; there are always lots of very high quality scientists, but intramural they need someone a) working on the mission congress gave them (read: applications anyone can understand) b) not going to slack off once they're a public servant, which is sometimes difficult because very driven people can climb the traditional academic ladder and be a full professor at Harvard (or imagine doing that anyway). I suspect the education world has a similar hiring dilemma.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:48 PM on January 3, 2011

I'm going to give a dissenting opinion. The way it looks to me, it's the opposite of offering you a job. What he wants is to get some insights and ideas out of you for free. Or rather, for the price of a lunch.

But, as waterandrock says, whatever it means, don't be coy. Come right out and say "I would be interested in working with you". Over dessert. If it hasn't come up by then.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:03 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Sound notification for Wordpress hits?   |   Someone smashed into our parked car and drove away... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.