Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Men's brains and the hiring process

Someone emailed me an article titled "In Job Interviews and Life, Actions Speak Louder Than Words" by Dan Miller.

It says that job interviews are becoming more creative. For example, by asking such questions as "Why are manhole covers round? "How many barbers are there in Chicago?" "If you could be an animal, what would it be?" My instant response to these are..."How is this relevant?"

The article gives several illustrations: "Jeff O'Dell of August Technology often asks candidates out to lunch - and suggests that they drive. "How organized someone's car is provides an amazing indicator of how organized the rest of their life is," he says. O'Dell believes that the best job candidates not only will have clean cars - "no Slim-Fast cans or tennis balls rolling around in the backseat" - but will also excel at the casual conversation in a restaurant. "It's a way to learn the personal side of things - whether or not they have a family, do they smoke, etc." - that doesn't come out in the formal interview."

Again, how is it relevant if my life and car are organized, unless you're hiring me to be an organizer. I am positive that I can have a messy unorganized desk and still get my work done on time and done correctly. I am also sure that unless you're hiring me to have casual conversations with people, by ability to do so is not relevant to the job. Finally, you're hiring me to do a job, not be your friend. So in addition to being illegal to ask me about my family, it's not really any of your business whether or not I smoke. Now, Shaunti Feldhanh (author of "The Male Factor") says that "Generally, especially as you rise through the ranks, no one is incompetent - so it falls to other factors. It's not just talent, because everyone has that." I find this annoying. To me, ability to do the job comes first. I've met (and worked with) too many people who "interview well" but in the end they just can't get anything done.

The next illustration in the article is, "Dave Hall doesn't mind making employee candidates a little more nervous than they already are. Hall, a principal at Search Connection, likes to place want ads that list his company's name but not its phone number; he wants only candidates who'll bother to look up the number. When he's not entirely sure about candidates after their interviews, he instructs them to call him to follow up - and then doesn't return their first three calls. He says he's looking for employees who'll persist through a million no-thank-yous in making recruiting calls." I don't know about you, but I was trained that it is RUDE to call someone more than three times unless it is an emergency. I would consider it UNprofessional for someone to hound after a hiring manager. It looks desperate. In addition, if this person is being hired to make recruiting calls, do you REALLY want the person he recruits because he harassed them to death with call after call?

Fascinatingly, this article was written by a man and cites only examples of male hiring managers. I wonder just how different this article would be if written by a woman and using examples from women hiring managers.

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