Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alpha Male Up in the Labor Market

I pointed out the parallels of the "check list" women have for men in the dating world versus the "check list" HR departments have for employees before in a brilliant (yet underappreciated) piece.

But mercy me almighty. It's like they're the EXACT same list here. They didn't even bother changing it for an employment purpose. It's the exact same thing as a dating check list.

Notice the emphasis on clothing, attire, appearance and youth. Also notice if you show up too early for the interview, that's like an overly eager nerdy beta boy nearly stalking the poor girl. And yes, who doesn't google or bing you before you go on a date.

It however, also confirms a theory I have about the labor market today that is ALSO similar to courting. That renegade Alphas stand a better chance at employment than conformist betas (or at least will as time goes on).

Say you are a goodie two shoes perfect employee with the perfect resume, so what? You're nothing new or unique. There's a million of you out there all desperate for a job. How do you stand out from the crowd? Well try all you might, in the end the HR department or hiring manager is going to choose the "best" candidate out of what is essentially a limitless pool of perfectly sculpted MBA graduates with 5-7 years of recent experience and certifications fresh off the assembly line. You know, like all the other drones that led the economy into a meltdown because they couldn't muster up an independent line of thought if a $14 trillion economy depended on it?

Yeah, one of those guys.

Well, in the end it's a crap shoot who has the "most bestest bestest bestest resume" and actually ends up being decided on something as stupid as a tie or your watch (or more likely who you know).

However, even though it sounds counterintuitive, if you get in their face or are at least unconventional, they'll at MINIMUM remember you. In short being notorious is better than not being remembered at all, and even though they may not like it, they REMEMBER IT and that has a statistically higher chance of you getting the job. This is the Alpha male approach.

Now, admittedly, it's anecdotal, but I've gotten more contracts and jobs since the recession hit NOT by being the "good little boy who plays well with others in the sandbox," but rather eviscerating potential employers and interrogating them worse than they've ever interrogated an employee. I remember pulling financial statements of a bank that lost $7 million in one quarter and while being interviewed asking them,

"Are the bankers who are responsible for this still here?"

When he said "well, yes, some." I responded, "Why?"

Another time I received a call and was admittedly half in the bag (just bought Modern Warfare I believe and had a bottle of Rumpleminze with me). He asked me if I would be available to come in for an interview. I said (and I quote best I can remember),

"Look, I'm not coming in if you're another run of the mill little community bank where a bunch of middle aged bankers who can't read financial statements whine and complain about me not approving loans. I don't want to hear any more bullshit about real estate deals or real estate developments that are doomed to fail and I'm not tolerating little cry babies who are incapable of realizing there's a housing crash."

I actually DID get that contract.

The reason why? I was an alpha. I was different. I stood out from the rest and laid it down.

Now, whether that's because women are attracted to alpha males (or men respect alpha males) or I just set myself apart, the larger point is that it seems to work. And if you're having trouble finding a job, yes you can go the regular route of going through HR, and saying, "Oh yes, I've always wanted to become an level 3 dataentryman." But realize that's like being on a date and saying, "Oh yes, I've always wanted to get married and hyphenate my name and do whatever my future wife would tell me to do."

It's totally beta and chicks do NOT dig it (not to mention the definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result).

Therefore change your game. Don't interview beta, interview alpha. You have to lay down your law, your standards. And when the HR manager says,

"Have you ever had a problem with a client, how did you resolve it and carry me through your thought process."

"Babe, babe, babe. Stop asking all these questions. Put on your on your helmet. I'm taking you for a motorcycle ride."


Unknown said...

Heh. I started getting a lot more jobs when I started handling interviews by short-circuiting the canned questions and started saying "Look, you want a systems engineer, I'm a systems engineer. Give me a problem you're having, right now, and I'll solve it for you. Right now. Let's go. If I fix it, you give me the job. If I can't, I'm out of here. It'll save us both a lot of time."

The inevitably female HR drone in the interview always gets all shocked and offended that I'm short-circuiting her precious process; the inevitably male IT manager always thinks for a minute and throws me something ugly and complex that he's been grappling with for months, to see if I'm bluffing.

I do have to say, though, that while the similarities are amusing, I don't think being an alpha in hiring interviews works if you have to get by a female hiring manager or HR drone. It works on men because men instinctively recognize and respect alphas. In the IT field, in my experience, a lot of women you meet have massive inferiority complexes and will use any opportunity to put a man in his place. Generally, playing alpha in that situation will cost you the job.

Then again, if that's how they're hiring, you don't want to work there anyway.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I am looking for scut work at the moment and I'm wondering how to try this approach with something inane like an office monkey or call centre job? When they ask me how I worked through a difficult customer what the hell should I say?
I've worked through plenty of difficult customers but who the fuck wastes brain space remember boring shit like that?

I miss labouring jobs. You rock up and you have a two minute interview which goes something like:

"Hi, do you want to work for us?"
"I'm here aren't I?"
"What about previous experience?"
"Here and there."
"Why do you want this job?"
"For the money, like every other worker you have."
"Ok, ever killed a man."
"Ok, when can you start?"

- Breeze

Anonymous said...

Back again and I'm intrigued. Could you post an example of how you would write an alpha cover letter and provide a sample of how you would conduct an interview as an alpha?

I assume the abundance mentality helps. I.e, plenty more jobs out there so need to be a supplicating beta.

- Breeze

Captain Capitalism said...

Breeze, I guess the alpha thing to do would be to not even bother with the cover letter. If you can skip that you get to apply for more jobs.

As for conducting an interview as an alpha, it really is quite simple. Be truthful.

When they ask, "why do you want to work here?"

"Because you're going to pay me."

"Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?"

Say, "I really don't know."

"Have you ever been in a situation where blah blah blah"

Ask her, "Really, what is the correct answer to that? Why don't you just ask me a direct question instead of hiding it in a question I don't understand?"

No guarantee you'll get the job, but has interviewing the traditional way got you one?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice Capt. The job is actually through an employment agency, which if you've never dealt with them are a conglomerate of HR lovers, ex salesman, and ditzy blonds. It is the most false, bullshit and pretentious environment ever invented.

- Breeze.

kurt9 said...

The fact that these kind of BS social games have any role, whatsoever, in the work and business culture is evidence that American has turned into the pathetic, decaying empire that it is. People who require that you pay these kinds of games to get work (even though these games have nothing to do with productivity) should not exist in the business world.

This is the reason why I despise any kind of "protectionism". Protectionism will only protect these shit people in the dysfunctional corporate America.

As long as the American business culture exists like this, it will only fail to compete with the emerging economies like China.