This past week has been filled with various experiences I must say. My good friend stayed with me until Tuesday, even though I had to leave her to her own during the days. It was so nice to catch up and have conversations about things outside of IMD, so when the time came to say goodbye again I couldn’t help but feel a bit bummed out. We have known each other for years and have maintained a very strong friendship even though we have spent most of that time on different continents, so I am used to saying goodbye to her, but its never nice.
For the rest I spent most of my days in my corner in the library, working. During the breaks I would listen to my classmates, sharing their experiences of interviews. It’s amazing to see how different one interview can be from the other and how much, ultimately, your image of a company is determined by the person holding the interview. Some companies chose to play the nice guy, some the tough guy. Others use case studies. I must say that I find a case based interview the most fair of all of them; everyone is equal in these types of interviews, because it doesn’t matter what industry or profession you are from. Everyone gets tested on the same thing and background makes little difference (that is, if you prepare well). I also never understood those people who choose to play the though guy during interviews; when I did interviews I found that if you are kind and open, the interviewee relaxes and shows much more of their true self which is what you need to know as a company. Fear will make most people clam up or become equally aggressive in response.
The subject of positive discrimination also came up in a discussion. Most of the leading companies are putting a lot of focus on diversity nowadays, proudly stating that their employee population is a reflection of the melting pot that is the world and designing their employer branding in such a way that it appeals to all demographics. But if you ask me, focusing on diversity is in many ways not too far off positive discrimination. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that. If we lived in a perfect world we wouldn’t have to give certain races, religions, genders etc. a helping hand, but we don’t so we have to get the ball rolling some how. But I wonder how companies do this when at the same time recruitment procedures are becoming more and more watched from an anti-discrimination perspective? In a lot of countries it is better to not include your picture on your CV and stating things such as date of birth are almost forbidden. Granted, in some areas it is getting a bit extreme with companies being almost forbidden to state requirements such as “must have a minimum of 5 years work experience” because this might imply ageism. I personally feel that such legislation is veering on being patronizing; I would like to assume that the majority of people do not discriminate and those who do will not be stopped by such a ruling. But coming back to the diversity / positive discrimination issue though, I would hope that companies maintain a policy whereby if there are two equally good candidates, the preference would go to the individual from the underrepresented group as has been discussed in the case of increasing the number of women in management. But then again, being a woman, I would hate to ever have the feeling that I got a job because I am a female. That brings me back to the point of living in a perfect world; ideally we wouldn’t have to do these things, but in the absence of such a world, I guess something is better then nothing. No better alternative has been found so far, as far as I know.
This discussion was followed up with 2 exam papers to write; one on innovation and the other on negotiation. So as you can see, enough things to digest within 5 days. Which is why I decided to zone it all out and submerge myself into something completely different; a museum. Tonight is museum night in Lausanne and you can visit any and all museums until 2 a.m. for only 10 CHF. This afternoon I went to the museum of fine art (a bit disappointing and veering on depressing) and tonight I am going to a photo museum which has a special band playing. Hopefully round two should be better then round 1! It makes me miss my two buddies though, Ruben and JJ, with whom I would always do museum trips with. Enough said for now though; it’s time to get cooking. Lemon sole, baked potatoes and green beans are to be cooked and devoured first, before I am off to the second museum!