Monday, October 31, 2011

Prudential Momentum Program vs. American Idol

Have you heard of a successful graduate recruitment program?

I am deliberately not using words like "successfully-run" or "successfully-implemented" - a graduate program that would produce results positively impacting the bottom line of a company. I stopped by the Moscow Shell office a few weeks ago to have a cup of coffee with an old friend of mine. We tried to remember if any of the graduates who joined the company together with me under the auspices of the Shell Graduate Program were still working there. Fingers on one hand were sufficient.

I have successfully passed the Prudential Momentum Assessment on March 28th, 2011 (i.e. exactly seven months ago), and you can check my notes on that experience in my earlier posts:

To give them some credit, Prudential were quite quick to call and congratulate me and assure that a job was guaranteed. I nearly relaxed and started planning my summer vacation, putting my job search on hold. Fatal mistake. Once a month we would swap e-mails and one a month I would be reminded of how wonderful I am and that the job was going to be signed off for me sharp-sharp. The only timeline I was given was October 16th, the date for the global Prudential Momentum kick off. This date did come and pass and only today I received an e-mail:

Dear Sergey 

I hope this email finds you well? Today is the day when we formally close the role alignment process for Momentum 2011; it is a great shame that we have been unable to find you a placement within the business but unfortunately we are limited by the live vacancies in the business and this year the role alignment process as been the most competitive yet. I would very much like to stay in touch, you have been an excellent candidate and I would most definitely encourage you to apply again next year if Momentum is still a viable option for you. 

The very best of luck for the future, 

I understand that the decision has been taken not to take me in, but maybe a phone call after such a lengthy process and so many promises would have been more appropriate.

Moral: recruitment and dating are very much alike - don't believe anything they say until you see a ring on your finger.

Why did I start talking about American Idol? The principle hardly works: looking for talent just for the sake of talent, with no imminent business need for it does not yield worthy results. A high-potential program is only good when the business is ready and there is a need and (most importantly) available resources (positions, coaches, mentors) to take care of that incoming talent. When HR goes out on a crusade to find bright and beautiful, they do find it but then they are in a fix because the business has not asked for them or they have asked for something else… it's all about communication.

I am not bitter. After all, I am happily employed. Having Plans B, C and D does help a lot when you are back in the marketplace fresh out of school. What left a negative residue is the approach and the attitude… it's all about communication.

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