In 2006, I saw a web ad for a Head of Sales position with one of the biggest companies in Pakistan. The position was quite challenging and carried a high level of remuneration and prestige. Honestly, it would have been a dream position even for my boss. Head of Marketing had the additional charge of this slot. I threw my Big Bang Letter to the President of the company bypassing the HR and it hit. HR called me for the interview. On my question, who will interview me, HR replied that there will be a board and HR couldn’t tell me the name of the members. Now I was expecting the President along with his core management team to interview me.
I made full preparation and I had a thorough session with my mastermind group.I reached the interview place 15 minutes prior to the time I was told. I muted my cell; combed my hair; had a glass of water; took some deep breathing to put myself at ease.
Time of interview arrived; HR told me to wait a bit as members were gathering. Half an hour passed; one hour passed. Whenever, I inquired from HR, I was told to wait a bit. One and half hours passed; two hours passed; two and half hours passed; the ‘board’ was still gathering. After three hour’s agonizing wait, I was finally called in. To my utter dismay, I saw Head of Marketing chairing the interview board. There were two more people, one a dummy consultant, and other, a departmental head of equal to the position I was pitching at.
I was literally pissed off when none of the three members even bothered to apologize for a delay of three hours. It was already 6 PM and 90% of the staff had already left the office. The ‘board’ half-heartedly put a few questions. Their body language was more of winding the session as one of them was actually closing his notebook. In four to five minutes, ‘interview’ was over.
I felt severely humiliated. I could react in the interview over the three hour delay and their casualness and indifference in the whole session but reacting was no solution; it was against an acceptable corporate behavior. So I decided to inform the President that I was neither an errand boy nor a doormat that any idiot of your company could trample upon. I shot a strongly worded email to HR Head with CC to the President, both of them were Arabs.
HR Head not only apologized and promised to look into the matter but also acknowledged that his staff needed training on how to conduct interviews.
Two months after that interview, Head of Marketing was shown the door. How much my email played the role in his termination, I can’t figure out but the point is my protest was registered and a non-professional attitude met the fate.
It all depends upon the individual’s personality traits as to how he/she responds to being maltreated. But my approach is when nothing further is at stake, then don’t fear to stand up. At least, this standing up can save another person to be maltreated.