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  • “Horrible Bosses”

    At the time, a part of me had the naiveté to think that maybe there was some inscrutable, ineffable quality I was missing in certain job candidates—the ones who seemed fantastic to me but didn’t get hired.

    When I was a wet-behind-the-ears human resources bunny during the Cyndi Lauper era, I got a fresh shock almost every day. Never having paid much attention to the practice of HR before my boss plunked me into the department, I was struck by how what looked like a well-oiled machine on the outside was so often random and whimsical in daily practice.

    That shock was especially profound in the hiring department. I’d interview candidates and then talk with hiring managers who had also met them, so as to share impressions. Often the hiring manager and I would have similar reactions to job seekers. We’d talk about each one and discuss where we saw a fit or lack of fit between job seekers and jobs. If we were lucky, we’d agree quickly on people and assignments. That wasn’t always the case. Sometimes hiring managers and I would find ourselves on different planets. In such cases, conversations would go like this:

    Me: So, I just walked Theresa Adams out to the lobby. We had a good talk. What were your impressions?
    Hiring manager: She’s smart. Excellent ideas. But I’m not hiring her. Someone will—she’s got a lot on the ball.
    Me: Oh, I’m surprised. I thought she was terrific. I have to say I didn’t think we’d find a person with her expert Excel skills and both the financial-analyst and payroll experience you were looking for.
    Hiring manager: Oh, yeah, that’s right. We had that in the ad. Well, she’s O.K., but I’m not hiring her. She has a John Lennon bumper sticker on her car. Total granola head. She told me about her dog.
    Me: It’s bad that she has a dog?
    Hiring manager: Get me some other people.

    At the time, a part of me had the naiveté to think that maybe there was some inscrutable, ineffable quality I was missing in certain job candidates—the ones who seemed fantastic to me but didn’t get hired. I figured these hiring managers, older than me by a decade or more and with hundreds of interviews under their belts, saw something in these seemingly heaven-sent job candidates that I failed to detect.

    Irrational, Snap Decisions: “Because”

    The joke was on me. Years later, I see that those candidates had no ineffable negative quality. The managers simply decided: “There is something about you—completely unrelated to the job at hand but closely entwined with my own sense of power and control—that bugs me.” Case closed. You’re not getting the job.

    Read Full Article in Bloomberg/BusinessWeek.com

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals
    calvin.wilson1@verizon.net
    http://twitter.com/Upstart__Nation

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