I've had three people in a month comment their concern about my blogging's impact on my job search. Now I'm concerned and looking to readers and fellow bloggers for your thoughts.
When I started this blog, my wife and I discussed my open style of management and communication, and agreed to apply my same style to this more public forum.
I then discussed this approach with senior editors, Meridith Levinson and Esther Schindler. They both agreed that an open and honest dialogue from a CIO in a job search was what readers of this blog wanted. And in fact, the highest reader counts have occurred when I have detailed how my job search has personally impacted my family and me.
However, I've made one concession since starting this blog. That is, after only a few weeks of writing I decided to stop listing the name of the companies I was interviewing with. I did this specifically to preserve the anonymity of these firms and the hiring managers.
The first instance of concern was brought by a hiring manager in a face-to-face interview. After 3 rounds of prior interviews, in which either positive or zero comments were made about my posts, the hiring manager noted a concern that perhaps I was interviewing with them in order to get an angle or "scoop" for a new post.
I was floored by the question, and more so by the directness of the assumption of my character. When I asked if the manager had read my articles, the reply was "a few". I reassured them that in fact this firm was a company that I was targeting as one of my top choices in the area, and listed several reasons why. I also assured them that I do not ever shop for interviews solely to write about the experience. Ultimately, a few days later, I was declined as "over qualified". The irony is that I remain very interested in this company for lots of reasons, but I fear my writing, as a concept, is seen there as a negative rather than as a potential for positive marketing opportunities.
The second instance was someone I'd recently met, who was certain that we had actually met before. Afterwards I realized that he was confusing my writings with my more well known cousin, John Cummuta, who writes and speaks extensively on personal finances. He obviously didn't like my cousin's financial advice, because he laid into me. At the time, though, since he was deriding articles and blog posts, with only a rare reference to finances, I assumed he was referring to my posts where I talk about the finances of a job search. It didn't occur to me until later that I wasn't his intended target. But, even then, the point I took away from this onslaught was how name recognition can be a two-edged sword.
The third instance was from a networking contact whose opinions I have come to trust and value. Further, he is a fellow blogger within the IT blogosphere. He commented to me recently that perhaps my open communication in these posts might be scaring prospective employers away. This could be like the hiring manager above who did not want to be the subject of a pre-directed article, or perhaps from a cultural perspective that does not see or value such openness in its executive ranks.
My immediate reaction was that I write with the same openness as my management style. The vast majority of my prior employers and clients hired me at least partially because of this same style. And I know of many referencable members of my teams that flourished because of my style. So if any particular hiring manager pre-judges against me for that style, then I probably wouldn't want to work for them anyway. At least, that was my initial thought.
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