re: Nokia At Risk Of Joining RIM And Palm
I actually had an interview with RIM in 2009 with their product management team. After going through a 1 hour phone interview with HR and with the product manager (BBM) I was brought in for a 3 hour interview.
The Compliance Manager role was to act as the main liaison between marketing and legal. They said they hadn't done this role yet and as such, marketing efforts were not always aligned with what their legal department would advise. Things like using BBX etc.
I remember showing up and being disappointed by the nothingness of RIM business park. It was disorganized - staff were housed in whatever buildings could be found. Inside the lobby of one of the buildings, I walked along the walls of all their patents. Tons. But the foyer was so typical of a mid-class enterprise.
Then I was brought to my interviews. Through offices of sterile cubicles I passed. This was not a startup environment. It was nameless. Apparently again were disorganized and had to shuffle my interview. I was to meet with the Regional Director of Product Development first.
This guy was my age at the time, about 28-32, gold chain, real geek, and he had been a University of Waterloo graduate who rode RIM's success up. He liked buzz words and in my experience, people overuse buzz words to cover up their lack of knowledge on the subject.
I thought geeze, this guy must have hired a few hundred people already. So what does he do? He tells me to wait while he gets some interview questions. He goes on Google, searches for a site, and then I wait for him to print them out.
I was like - you are a director and I am incredibly smart, I am a designed accountant, degree in marketing management, great related experience. Don't you have specific questions to see how I will handle this actual role? Why at your level are you printing questions like strengths and weaknesses, while I already managed to BS these type of questions well with HR. Do Directors at RIM just want to hear talk, or do you want to know what I can do?
I was a bit pissed and when he asked me one of the questions, almost angry, I couldn't come up with the answer. After the interview he made fun of me for the question immediately outside his office and said he didn't think I was the right guy. What professional does that? Who is that arrogant to make someone feel that awkard? I spent the entire night taking my family out so I could buy a shirt and tie. I took the afternoon off work! Time is tight. If you don't think I'm the right fit, you take your conversation to another office - not just outside your office in the cubicles where I can hear you word for word - and he knew it. Apparently that's how the Regional Director of Product Development at RIM roles.
The hiring manager defended me and said it was just a question, but this director pushed. I think he didn't like that I was a decent looking guy, 6'4", looking stellar of course, same age or a couple years younger. And maybe he knew I thought he was full of shit after he disappointed me with his printed questions.
So I did the next hour with the hiring manager and it went great. Lots of chat on cool new features.
One thing I did observe inside RIM was that its managers were very much 25-35 years old's. This is great insight into what has gone wrong at RIM. The younger managers are great at tech and ideas, but they fail in terms of organization. RIM's struggles at present are because of two things: they grew to fast and did not take the time to organize their employees so they were a cohesive machine and second, their senior level product management was arrogant.
That was my experience in 2009.