RUDE VC – Last question: gimme your password

Mar 27, 2012
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Imagine this scenario: You just completed a full day of second-round interviews at the Company’s premises following your successfully making the first cut at their on-campus recruiting session. It was a long, grueling day, but you feel good about the positive impression you made on everyone. Your well-prepared questions clearly hit the mark, and you even aced the unconventional case interview thrown at you by some over-zealous middle manager that thinks his Fortune 500 firm should emulate McKinsey-style recruiting methods. The informal dinner at the end provided you with a chance to meet other employees with whom you didn’t interview, and you found them witty, collegial, and overall representative of a company culture that feels like a good fit. All that remains in your mind is to await the call from HR next week to hear the collective feedback on your candidacy and hopefully review the details of a job offer. You acknowledge that there’s still some uncertainty, but you’re optimistic.

The call from HR the following week came as expected, but their request was one you did not expect. The HR manager conveyed the positive feedback on your candidacy, but then informed you that in order to continue the process, they require the keys to your apartment for a few days.

The Company intends to examine your personal affairs before making a final hiring decision. They will have an opportunity to examine the cleanliness of your living quarters, check the expiration dates of the perishables in your fridge, sniff the mildew on your dirty laundry, and perhaps find that 1980’s copy of Playboy with the Farrah Fawcet centerfold stashed under your mattress (yes I’m thinking of you, Brian Miller from the 8th grade). The Company may riffle through the papers in your filing cabinet, thumb through your photo albums, jam to your Bob Marley cd collection, and watch the latest recordings on your DVR.

But don’t worry, they won’t take anything, and they’ll be careful not to break anything. This exercise is merely standard procedure to ensure that you’re a good fit before their final hiring decision. They won’t even make copies of anything they discover; after all, the Company respects your privacy.

{Note: My portfolio companies’ recruiting methods are limited to obsolete techniques like merely asking candidates for references.}