Interview 51: It’s bad to cheap out when you’re in trouble.

This interview was one of those places I’m not really sad didn’t go better. A multistate construction company called me up about an application I had sent in.. truth is, I had actually applied there a couple times, but as I was to find out there was a reason I never heard anything back from them.

So I get a call from HR on a Friday afternoon and we start talking. She was a very easy person to talk to and I had enough interesting and pertinent things to bring up so that I was able keep the conversation moving along. At a certain point the HR person sorta hesitates and asks “So… uh… how much do you know about our company?” I sorta laughed slightly and said I had researched them enough to see that they had their hands full with a number of significant legal issues. In fact, there were a great number of recent news articles talking about some horrible employment issues they were being sued over and certain government offices were getting involved as well as some other internal strife that sounded as if a subsidiary was suing the parent company. It sounded like a really big mess.

The HR person suddenly acted as if a huge weight had been lifted off of them and the information came gushing forth. Apparently they had been worried because their marching orders were to ignore the information unless we were already aware of it. In effect, the HR person was a decent person because she was worried whoever she was interviewing wouldn’t know what they might be stepping into. It had turned out that the company had this job posted for several months prior, but no one in the legal department had the time over the last 3 months to look at a single application due to the massively increased workload brought about by the afore mentioned issues. That was in addition to the attrition of a couple people who decided the better course of action was to jump ship at that opportune moment.

So I was aware. It didn’t phase me mostly because I understood the litigation cycle they were going to be subject to and probably how to navigate it and reduce or at least ease the workload. So the HR person decided to fasttrack me to someone in legal after our interview. Almost as an afterthought they asked what I was looking for in terms of salary. I gave them a fair range, which honestly was on the rather low end for in-house; in fact the range included me taking a pay cut from my prior positions. Two days later I get a call back, and the call started by saying, before we get too far in, I wanted to tell you the salary range for this position. They said 70-80. I actually laughed slightly and said, “Oh.. no. Sorry. I’m not interested in anything close to that.” I followed it up saying I made more than that in my first job as an attorney, and considering what they were currently dealing with, they should seriously consider what caliber attorney they would be onboarding for that salary.

The person on the other end of the phone quite literally sighed. And said… ‘yeah. This isn’t anything I don’t know.’

Ouch. Sounds like I was dodging a bullet on this one. At least I saw it coming a mile away though.

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