Friday, September 12, 2008
Here's a thought exercise for the day.
Let's say you're the HR manager for a company. In walks a job applicant -- let's call her "Sarah" -- for an interview for a top management position. In that interview, Sarah makes the following claims in her case for why she should be hired on at your company:
1. "Faced with a wasteful and expensive IT project forced upon my predecessor by the board of directors, I stood firm and said 'Thanks, but no thanks' to what we dubbed the 'IT Project to Nowhere' in order to trim the budget and reduce costs."
2. "The office building of my old company sits right across the street from Google, so I am obviously qualified to take on the role of chief negotiator for your company with respect to contracting matters with Google."
3. "In my prior position, I took great pride in my integrity and I always treated my employees with fairness and dignity."
4. "One of my chief concerns was always how our company did its part to address mankind's contribution to climate change."
After the interview is over, you reflect on Sarah's answers, make some calls to her previous company, and do some research on The Google. Doing this, you discover the following:
1. In spite of her claims, it turns out that Sarah repeatedly championed the "IT Project to Nowhere" before she was promoted to her current position. Some time after the project was authorized, it became a laughing stock among the company's employees and the board ultimately deauthorized the project just before Sarah was promoted. To top it all off, Sarah took the money designated for the project and spent the entire amount on other company priorities, thereby slashing no money from the budget and contradicting her claim to be a cost cutter.
2. Upon further reflection, you realize that Sarah's claim to be qualified to take the lead on negotiations with Google simply because her old company's office park was right across the street from Google is, well, f*cking ridiculous.
3. The manager of Human Resources at Sarah's old company told you that Sarah is currently fighting an unfair termination lawsuit brought by Bob Smith, her company's former Director of Company Security. The suit alleges that Sarah fired Bob in retaliation for not caving in to Sarah's repeated attempts to force Bob to fire Sarah's ex-brother-in-law, who still works for the company as a security guard.
4. Contrary to her claims, you uncovered a recent interview given by Sarah to a regional newspaper in which she denies that mankind has anything to do with global warming.
With all that in mind, would you hire this person to be a manager at your company?
How about electing her to the second-most powerful job in the world?