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I am absolutely sure that:

- success of each person is in his own hands,
- success of an organization depends on its leader,
- success of a leader in many ways depends on a cooperating with him Adviser (Consultant).
Konstantin Y. Smolentsev
SMOLENTSEV & Partners » Press Centre » Inverviews & Comments »

Game on downturn

Careerists, who come to conquer Moscow, realize the necessity to get serious Moscow experience by going on a downturn in their posts sometimes. But such approach does not always justify itself. It happens, that the company management rejects candidates with leadership qualities. Why does that happen?

From provincial chiefs – to Moscow subordinates.

There’s a disturbing question, asked to be consulted.

The main idea is that I can’t find a job for a pretty long period of time as a marketing manager/brand manager. Besides obvious weak sides (not ideal foreign language, didn’t work in Moscow before, there was a work break, I’m a woman), there was pointed out another one – pretty big management experience. A couple of times on interviews, I have noticed fear in my potential boss’s eyes that I will overtake the company.

Please, give me an advise how to convince people that it is more important for me to do my job very good and be useful than to be titled as “the main chief”.

Elena E.

There was a resume attached to the letter.

During the conversation Elena cleared that she was looking for a job since January 2006 and at the same time was working on a non-commerce family project. Recruiters have hints a couple of times on the negative role, that her management experience can play in present employment, and once, right after the interview, it was said straight-forward. Companies in which she has noticed that were different: from large ones to small, but rapidly developing. Elena remembers a case like that. “During the work at “Promcable-Electrika” company in spring of last year, I was discussing my moving to Moscow and that I had to get fired with my boss. He, who wanted to keep business contacts, offered me as a candidate for work at a Moscow company IEK, which was our supplier. At that same time IEK was celebrating an anniversary and was holding seminars, celebrating events for their partners. My chief, Vache Hamletovich, was invited to hold one of the seminars and I went along as his assistant. We met the Marketing Director of IEK there. During the conversation, I have noticed not clear bias of this person in the attitude towards me and I couldn’t understand the reason until she said that has been working in this company only for 3 months. After the conversation, Vache Hamletovich told me that he has an impression that she was afraid of me. It was a pity – I like the company very much and had co-worked with some employees pretty well.”

Edgy situation. On one hand, Elena’s requirements seem underestimated – an expert in marketing should ask for more than 1200$. It seems logical, why not turn a minus in a plus, applying for a higher post, even in a small company? Moscow employers treasure stubbornness, loyalty, and making career as a goal of province-living people in the past. It reminds of a famous broker Gecko from the movie “Wall Street”: “I need hungry young guys”. Only one possible quality of Elena’s professional experience confuses. Belarus confectioners and cable specialists hardly have ingenuity qualities in marketing strategies. At least, Moscow has a reason to doubt. Low salary expectations of Elena naturally confirm his threats. And why should he go on a risk like that when he can take a graduate student from a very good Moscow university with almost the same salary and with a practically guaranteed return after a few first couple of months of training?

It appears that without work experience on Moscow market you can hardly apply for a top position in a large or a middle company. Elena’s colleagues – marketing specialists and brand managers, more likely, support her opinion about threats of incompetent bosses, recommending her to aim for high positions. Personnel selection and  management specialists estimate Elena’s experience more critically.  

In whole, there are two ways for the candidate. First variant: a pretty low position in a large Russian company, developing one’s skills and knowledge, and after – a career in a Western company or a leading position in a Russian company. Second variant: leading post in a small company and either growing with the company or transferring to another bigger structure with time.

Konstantin Smolentsev, Ph.D., the Academician of IIA, Certified Management Consultant (CMC) in accordance with the Amsterdam Standard of the ICMCI:

- I don’t think that the reason of rejection of the employers is always because of the management experience. First of all, maybe it happens because of several of factors. Secondly, you can convince almost anyone. It’s a technology and human resource specialists must teach Elena how to do that concretely on every interview.

In my experience I had a case like this. Woman, 40 years old, General Director of a regional consulting company (marketing and hr) with a huge management experience, finished Academy of National Economy (MBA), and decided to stay in the capital. Trying to find a job with the help of many recruitment companies took a couple of months. She had almost the same fears as Elena did. Age factor was also not on her side. But she did manage to convince the Personnel Director of a large trade-industrial holding that her experience will be really useful to the company and to calm down the director offered him to sign a contract for a low position in the company with a deadline. The work was done on a very good level. Personnel agencies trace work results and career path of their client, so even during the contract she was offered a job as a Human Resource Director in an opening Moscow office of a large regional industrial holding. Her management experience, flexibility, knowledge of regional specifics appeared to be demanded. Four years have passed. This holding is widely known in Russia. And the HR Director is still that hero from my story.

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