Saturday, January 21, 2006

Part Three: Singapore Job Interview

Reality Versus Rosy View
What I was taught about Global HRM best practices includes several concepts of interview guidelines which would perhaps be useful for Singapore Ministry of Education. First, that I dragged my ass over, up, and down the mountains into Seoul from rural Gangwondo Province in Korea just to get oggled by a bunch of big-wigs with few real negotiation skills was an indication that I was interested in working for Singapore MOE, but only contingent on that salary offer being reasonably high enough to exceed that which I was already earning.
Previous experience in Singapore contract negotiations had not proven that Singaporean employers of ESL professionals are at all aware of the competitive pricing required to acquire truly experienced workers, as in, those with many years of experience internationally. All previous experience with Singaporean contract negotiators has indicated to me that there is perhaps a group metanoia there in terms of reasonable estimation of salary versus perceived benefits of living and working in Singapore. Naturally, Singaporeans take pride of their place in Asian cultural milieu, but excessively over-estimate the cultural draw verus the salary competitiveness factors.
Furthermore, the more a potential employee reminds a Singaporean that they must compete salary-wise to engage competent, experienced, internationally far from innocent in the educational foibles of government employment, then Singaporean employers become very difficult to negotiate with.
Singapore MOE outsources its hiring of English teachers to at least one government agency, for the sake of descriptiveness, let's call it, "Archway Redundancies Pte." The fact that this agency is mediating hiring means a few things to me. Namely, that if Singapore MOE cannot contract independently it is because it does not have the base human resources skills or employees required to process such affairs successfully. In addition, it is a screen of contact if you will, like that of cloistered nuns and friars, all cosily nestled within revealing few of their competencies.
The Interview
My "Archway Redundancies Pte." recruiter, let's call him "Smock Fin" was not even present in the videoconference interview, but naturally I expected that he would be there. No indications were made to the contrary, that of the three panelists, the one in the centre was not him. Naturally I assumed the master and commander was Smock Fin himself. But it was not. This fact was not even made clear to me during the interview itself. And when I complained vehemently that this misunderstanding should never have occurred, Smock Fin blamed me for it. However, my preparation was quite merely in my view, proven by my willingness to simply show up for that event. Considering it was a full day of return trip travels what else was I supposed to prove other than willingness to attend?
So as it turns out, the man in the middle of the table was not Smock Fin, it was a to this day un-named godi-like man, I though of him as Sukarno, but he actually now seems to me to be more like a "M. Telelink R. Strictanramputanunam."

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