Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Employers & Applicants: Both Sides

There's something I need to get off my chest because I'm not sure what or how to think about it. The issue is weeding out potential employees in not-so-nice ways. Example:
You are hiring 60 temporary employees for an upcoming project. The staffing agency recruits and hires a little more than that (we'll say 70) just in case some people don't accept the position or quit in the middle of the project. Then the training sessions are scheduled. New employees are informed that if they want this job, they will need to come to an 8-hour training session on either Superbowl Sunday or Valentine's Day (both of which are on Sundays). On top of that, if there's inclement weather that day and employees cannot leave their home that day, the training session will not be rescheduled. If they cannot attend the session for any reason, their employment is terminated.
Part of me feels that this is completely justified from a business standpoint. After all is said and done, we only want employees that really want to work for us and have shown us that nothing can stop them from getting this job. We only want the best of the best and since there's such a large applicant pool we can do that.

But I overheard a coworker say something to the effect of "Well, they're all so desperate for a job that they'll come anyways" in regards to new employees coming to a training session during/after a snow storm. It hit me as terribly insensitive. These are real people too. I pride myself in being able to see both sides of a situation and when I looked at it from each side I didn't like what I saw. From the employee's perspective I saw a hard-ass employer who doesn't care about its employees' lives outside of the job (there's no rule stating employers can't be considerate). From the employer's perspective I saw selecting for only the most desperate individuals looking for work.

I really don't think that it's good hiring practice to select only the most desperate applicants. Desperate does not equal the best. Some of my best staff have not been good because they were desperate; they were good because they were interested and they showed me they were interested. There are better ways of selecting the best of the best who really want this job. We should be giving every applicant a fair chance at showing us their stuff. We should be weeding out based on lack of results during or after a training period, not leaving it to circumstance.

What do you all think? Any Hiring Managers out there who deal with these issues? Can we be nice or considerate to applicants and still test their dedication to the job? Would you rather hire someone who is so desperate for the job they'll show up no matter what or someone who you know you'll get results from when they do show up?


  1. Over the past six months, I've been reading a lot of information by Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Not only has he helped to streamline my finances, but he will also be teaching me how to make freelancing deals.

    One of the first things he went over was "Do Not Undervalue Yourself." I think that by the employer "weeding out" those employees who would rather stay home in dangerous conditions, they are doing themselves a great disservice. Instead of choosing employees who value themselves, they are choosing desperation, and desperation either a) doesn't stick around long or b) does shoddy work.

  2. You want people who want to do *your* job; you don't want people who want *a* job. There is a difference - and the way you distinguish between the two is during the interview. If the hiring manager doesn't interview each and every one of the people that the staffing agency recruits, he's not doing *his* job.

  3. Do you feel this insensitivity is coming in response to the economic climate? Because the job pool is so large employers are tending toward being incredibly arrogant? This is a reflected in the housing market too, where home buyers are incredibly arrogant, asking for more discounts and moving on fast if the seller can't deliver. In both scenarios the business side of it sounds "ickky" but it is happening. Can a comparison be made for outsourcing to India?