Monday, October 2, 2017

Bidding Wars: The Bureau Strikes Back

A quick follow up on my last post. Short lists aren't the final word in bidding. Far from it. Posts make their list of candidates to forward on to the bureaus (around October 13th, this year). The bureaus then take those lists from all their posts and deconflict the candidates. They're looking to make sure that 6 posts don't all have the same person as their first choice. This allows them to make sure more handshakes can go out to legitimate candidates at the same time. A week later (around the 23rd), once bidding is closed, the bureaus will meet each other and do some secret/magic/shadowy 'horse-trading' to attempt to work out multiple bids across bureaus. Again, no one wants to offer a handshake to someone and then get declined, because they've lost valuable time to offer that handshake to their second choice. As with everywhere, some employees are preferred for some positions, and no one wants to get left scraping the bottom of the barrel to fill a vacancy. Of course, some of this resolves itself. In my first tour bidding, 13 of the 23 bidders got their first choice on Flag Day. With bidding priorities being that wildly different... there is a chance for everyone to be happy. In reality, some posts just don't have the mass appeal that others do.

Similarly, everyone hears stories about bureaus essentially ignoring post’s list and pushing their preferred candidate. They can do this because all IMS positions are actually held by the bureaus, rather than by the individual posts. This means that although post has a major stake in who they get, they're a non-voting member in the decision making. Some of my friends are particularly wary of this, but I tend to think it's mostly rumor and hearsay. Maybe it happens, maybe it just happened once, but either way it can’t be common. The people serving in the bureau would be torpedoing their reputation with the post in question. Similarly, the candidate would be walking into a unpleasant workplace having essentially overridden their choice to force the assignment. It's really not ideal for anyone. HOWEVER, it is an excellent scapegoat. "Oh, we wanted you, but the bureau..." or "I was totally their first choice, but the bureau..." It is such a convenient alibi that I could see it becoming a common rumor.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Question, so if post wants to interview you, that means you made their short list? Also, what happens if you had say, six interviews but as far as you know, you didn't make anyone's short list? Any idea? Thanks!