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Interview #2 Recap

with 6 comments

I had an interview with a food service management software company today at 10:00. The company is 14 years old, and is experiencing a lot of growth. They’ve just recently moved into new offices off of Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. The office area was VERY nicely, tastefully, and modernly decorated. I only saw the reception area and the conference room, so I’m not sure about the offices’ appearances nor layout.

I met with the Director of Marketing, the Creative Director, and the Art Director all at one time. They were very nice and presented themselves very professionally. I’d put the CD at around my age, and the DM and AD were probably 10+ years younger. They asked me the usual questions: What are your strong points? What are you looking for in your career? Why’d you leave your last job? Yada, yada, yada. It was all nice and relaxed. They were very complimentary of my work and said it seemed I had a nice balance of print-to-Web and of technical-to-design use of the software…which is what I like to hear. 🙂

They were VERY complimentary of and had high praise for their CEO, saying that he had a real vision for the company and was the best person they’d ever known for knowing exactly where he wanted the company to go and having an executable plan for getting there. They said he was fairly blunt, but was also very complimentary; very outspoken about his faith, but very open to people of other faiths, etc. All in all, a good report about him coming from all three employees. This is crucial since this art department reports directly to him.

Then, the brakes were applied. The CD said that the CEO had a policy of not letting graphic designers freelance for anyone else. I was like, “What?!” He said that the CEO wants an employee’s energy to be fully focused on the job there. I said that I understood absolutely that employees should not work on freelance work during office hours, but what they do in their own time is really none of his business as long as it’s not unethical. The CD said he understood that was a sticking point for many designers, but that the CEO was adamant about it. Then the CD added sort of under his breath, “But I play in a band for extra money, and he doesn’t have a problem with that, so I don’t understand it either.”

I said, “Well, if he wants to make up the difference of my not freelancing in the salary, then I’m all over that, but for me, this is probably a deal breaker.” I said that at minimum, I’d need to finish out a contract (with CBF) that goes into next year. It’s $20,000+ dollars! I’m not about to just give that up because this guy’s paranoid! THE CD said he’d need to find out if that was even an option. Good grief! The guy’s a Christian and has to be consulted to see if I can honor a contract?!?!

Anyway, after the interview is done, and I’m driving back home, thinking that everything seems really good about this except for two things: 1) They use PCs. Yuck! and 2) The freelance issue.

So I’m thinking…okay, do I agree to do the no freelance, and then do it anyway on the sly? Well, no. I don’t want to lie to anyone. If I give my word, that means something to me. Then I’m thinking, I could still get jobs and farm them out to other designers. That way, I can keep my client(s), but not be the one actually freelancing. That seems like the more doable option to me.

It might all be a moot point anyway. While I felt like it went very well, they too, are just at the start of interviewing, said that had several to consider, and it might be as long as a month to get through all the candidates. Oy.

So there it is…started off well, then ended disappointingly. We’ll see where it goes.

I’d like to know, what do y’all think you would do in this situation—everything appears to be a good fit except for the freelance issue. How do you think you’d handle it?


Written by blogicalinks

October 1, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Seeking, Sharing

6 Responses

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  1. I was working for a company that seemed like a “good fit” and reporting to a friend. We had worked together and then I was her manager and then she was my manager. The product was good, things were okay and then 3 months in they instituted a policy that made me feel like I had to lie every Friday in a weekly report. I complained to my manager every week – and she passed my concerns on to the top guy – but he didn’t listen. I resigned because of it. I was absolutely miserable – doing the right thing for my territory and having to “lie” to play the corporate game. I was more than miserable – I cried most Fridays. I was honest during the exit interview and the top guy changed his requirements for the top reps.

    If you take it and lie, you will be miserable.
    If you take it and give up $$$ you know that would not conflict with the work, you will be miserable.

    Unless the CEO changes his policy, I’d skip this one.

    Ru's Mom

    October 1, 2007 at 7:25 pm

  2. I agree – don’t compromise your standards or your goals, and don’t lie. I, for one, don’t know how this guy would find out you were freelancing unless you were doing something on company time or company equipment. But I think you’re too intelligent to try something like that. I could understand if your freelance work presented a definitive conflict of interest or hampered your ability to concentrate on this job (such as playing in a band and being up to the wee hours of the morning before coming in to work…hrmmmm…).

    I would say, continue to roll with it. If it gets to the point where that is a sticking point, ask for your next interview to be with the CEO and get his take on it. If that department reports to him anyway, this should be feasible. And maybe in the conversation with him, a solution can be worked out?


    October 1, 2007 at 9:20 pm

  3. I would write that one off. 😦


    October 1, 2007 at 9:29 pm

  4. We talked about the PC issue on Saturday. It’s somewhat of a red flag for me. But the no-freelance thing, even after work hours? That is a huge red flag. I seriously doubt this CEO will change is mind just for you – he sounds pretty set in his ways.

    I can understand no freelancing during work hours, but come on! That’s unethical and so not his business what you do away from the workplace.

    At my first official design job, it was in the handbook that other jobs, like part-time jobs and freelance jobs needed to be disclosed and approved by top department managers. That was ridiculous, so noone ever disclosed anything. This was the same place I walked out of years later.


    October 2, 2007 at 11:56 am

  5. I think you already knew a good solution in your post. See if the CEO will make up the monetary loss of your freelance work. If not I guess it would depend on how bad I needed the job/money. I might take it but keep looking for another job. Unless his wishes that you not do freelance work is in a contract or company policy then I would just continue to do it but make solid ethical choices about the freelance jobs taken. I get a whole packet every year at work suggesting what candidates I should vote for because they support the needs of my industry but it doesn’t mean I have to take their suggestions and in most cases I don’t.


    October 2, 2007 at 6:03 pm

  6. Since I couldn’t find an email for you I thought I’d post a comment here and say thanks for your comments on the Jesus Creed blog.

    O and good luck with the job stuff.


    October 3, 2007 at 12:01 pm

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