Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Recruitment Fun

Just like most children want to know if something is an animal, vegetable or mineral, most employers want to know what type of people come into their organizations. For those purposes they invent a wide variety of instruments ranging from online assessment tools to elaborate assessment center techniques. The recruiters and assessors will carefully observe everything you have said and done, classify it accordingly in immaculately looking recording forms and will pass their judgment according to the company's assessment methodology whether you are a suitable candidate for them or not. Nowadays that nearly everyone is following the same route of such evaluations and assessments, it has become somewhat trite and hackneyed.

So it was a gush of fresh air when a few weeks ago a friend of mine shared an informal (but none the less comprehensive) candidate assessment scale used by one of her senior managers. I cannot look at it without tears and at the same time admiration for the boundless creativity that is inane in the Russian culture.

According to that fine high-ranked specimen of a huge monopoly, all candidates fall into the following categories (I am trying to convey the manager's attitude as close as possible here):
  • GHOUL. These have no place in the company and should be escorted (ideally with security) out of the interview venue. Serious self-esteem issues. Can be entertaining but only in retrospect and solely because of masochistically morbid curiosity.
  • VEGETABLE. These fall into two subcategories: sad vegetables and happy vegetables. Sad vegetables make you yawn and ponder over Karen Walker's categories of why people choose to be poor or tax evasion being a victimless crime. Happy vegetables do become amusing with their eagerness or rosy idealistic categories of democracy and human rights. Both types are OK for hiring and will form the "solid citizen" pool of the company. Dispensable at will.
  • STAR. Enough said. Should hire if the salary ambitions are adequate. Top score for females.
  • ALPHA-MALE. Does not apply to women. The highest grade one can get. Issues like moral turpitude or harassment are foreign concepts for them, Machiavelli is a kin, and Joseph Stalin School of Management is the preferred academic institution. Hire by all means and costs: an invaluable asset but will eat you alive at the first opportunity. 
It makes me sad to think that this manager is up there at the senior level, that his approach and comments are tolerated and even made into urban myths, perpetuating the stereotypes of Russian management. Suppose I were to disclose the name of the company or even the name of the manager - nothing would change, as that is what others expect. It might only make that company more desirable for new entrants: to see how charismatic its leaders are, just like Boris Yeltsin's ratings went up after he got drunk and fell from the bridge.

At moments like this I can only quote a famous Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev:
You can't perceive the Russian land,
 You'll fail to measure it with measures,
From common way apart it stands,
You can but trust in Russian treasures. 

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