Interviews & red flags

Subject: Interviews & red flags
From: "Sherry Michaels" <sherry -dot- michaels -at- docntrain -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 08:12:41 -0700

<<I've been following the sample discussion with interest. Just curious
about what others in hiring positions have seen as red flags - or reasons
not to interview or hire a candidate.>>

Yes! It's been a really "loaded" issue!

Here's the deal: some questions, or information, are not only dangerous
(like volunteering your sexual preference), but they are illegal. Also
illegal is demonstrable preference for gender, religion, age and race. Lots
of things that are said or done in an interview can appear to "demonstrate"
an illegal preference.

The Mensa certification is a point of pride for the candidate. The question
is, how much pride? That's a question you can ask outright. "What are your
feelings about dealing with "menial or trivial" tasks? How do you handle
working with people who are obviously not as bright as you in the same way?"
I certainly would! It shouldn't be an eliminator. On the contrary, it could
signal a particularly talented person who may also have developed some
sensitivity over the lifetime of experience; or not. The interview should be
structured to probe these types of things, not eliminate. The hiring
position is the gate for getting the best talent on the market, not
screening out the worst (although lots of hiring officials have been burned
by the worst, too).

The portfolio issue of the women in bathing suits: I'm sorry, I have to
respond to that. A portfolio presented in a professional office environment
for a job in technical writing (or web design, or graphics art) requires a
professional portfolio. Unsuitable for that portfolio would be pictures of
children, flowers, monuments or women in bathing suits and any number of
other "hobby" type stuff. As a hiring professional, I'd shorten the
interview significantly, not so much because of the content, but because of
the lack of professional capability represented by such a portfolio. And the
candidate would not be considered for the job. Regardless of my sexual
orientation, race, religion, age, etc.

Sherry Michaels
Michaels & Associates, LLC
11639 E. Wethersfield Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
480-614-8440 Local
877-614-8440 Toll free
480-614-2775 FAX


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