Friday, September 08, 2006

The Law Requires . . .

I was in a meeting yesterday with 5 very smart people, working on hiring an Executive Director for a nonprofit. We were discussing setting up interviews for each of the candidates, and the consultant who we are paying good money to just tossed out there, "The law requires that you ask each candidate the same questions."

This is one of those things that is like fingernails on a chalkboard or squeaking styrofoam to me.


"Where is there such a requirement?," I politely asked.

"Oh, it's in the employment laws," she replied, as confident in her bogus knowledge as she could be.

I suspect that some sweaty, overpaid associate in some office tower somewhere wrote a memo that said that one way you can avoid even the mildest hint of discriminatory intent is if you asked the every candidate for a job the exact same questions. And someone told someone else that this nonsense is required by the law.

I think that I'm going to start telling people that the law requires that all interviewers should wear blindfolds, too. How long until my halfwit idea will be cited to me as a legal requirement?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very few Fortune 500 companies use the same questions during the hiring process. In fact, most use a system called targetted selection where each interviewer asks different questions. However, the exact questions are usually preplanned. If I was being interviewed, I would have serious questions about joining an organization where you had the same exact questions being asked over and over again. The only rules that really apply are ones geared toward questions that you are not supposed to ask around age, marital status, national origin, religion or disability. I hope your not-for-profit board finds another consultant.

9/08/2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Completely bogus, I'm sure.

But you must admit, her pronouncement had "truthiness".

In the the good ol' U.S.D. (United States of Dubya), truthiness is more important than actual truth!

9/08/2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I have done this on occassion. I have found that if you act like you know what you are talking about people actually believe you! Very few people bother to double check. Of course, being a librarian gives me the "truthiness" edge and I usually go back and tell people that I made something up (or got it wrong, but that happens so rarely:)

I also have two (mostly smart) friends that catch me with this all the time. They always sound so sure of their fact that it will sometimes be weeks later before I double check and find out that they didn't know what the heck they were talking about!

...I would have signed in but blogger hates me this morning and keeps telling me that I don't exist.

From Alicia

9/10/2006 11:17 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I'm a 51 year old, 6'2", white male with a deep "radio announcer" voice and more than a touch of gray.

Truthiness is my bread and butter!

If I looked you in the eye and told you that the reason the sun rises in the east is because of the way we set up the time zones, you'd start thinking "Jeez, I know that's wrong, but it sounds so RIGHT! I'd better go look it up just to be sure!"

9/15/2006 7:07 PM  

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