RE: Employment question

Subject: RE: Employment question
From: "technical writing plus" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 12:11:41 -0600

No, it would not be ethical, in my opinion.

But there is a related important matter, I believe. Given that your current
group is pretty much of a similar mind, more or less, how are they going to
get along with the new person, who is different? How is it that they are
going to accept the new person? Professionally, in a professional manner
that is conducive to everyone working together. Hopefully. I would trust
them in this regard.

OK, so the candidate has different political views. I do not see this as
being a problem; indeed, it should make for interesting water-cooler talk,
if that person is a good communicator.

However, from your comments it appears that he or she is not very good at
expressing opinions. In fact, you say that disasters could occur (should you
go ahead and try to make the person a part of the team). Communication,
especially in-team communication, takes a lot of cooperation and desire to
get along.

I'd say that you should ask yourself whether the person exhibits the
characteristics of a team player, of someone you and the others would like
to have one the team.
It will be interesting to see what comments others on this list will have.

-----Original Message-----
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We are a five person documentation group at a mid-sized company. I
started here as a lone writer eight years back. The team grew to its
current size, over the years as the need arose. Though I have the final
say in the selection of a new writer, the team members are involved in
the screening and interviewing process, and the final decision is a

We are a pretty close-knit team, and fit in together well. Though each
writer works on individual books and products, the rest of the team
pitches in whenever necessary, like in a crunch at release time or when
some one needs time-off with a scheduled release coming up. Our regular
table in the cafeteria is called the Doc Table where people stop by to
chat us up. Of course, we do enjoy our private jokes about the rest of
the company. :-)

Now we are in need of another writer and have been going through a round
of interviewing. Been a bit frustrating till we found the ideal
candidate. Articulate, good language skills, in-depth knowledge in our
technologies, friendly nature. The interviewing team were exchanging
gratified smiles till we took the candidate for lunch.

The contrast in views couldn't have been any greater. And the person was
not the least bit reluctant to express them either. Like it was a given
that no one could ever disagree with those opinions. (Did I tell you our
team all fall into the same side of the political spectrum?) The visible
strain the team was under to keep the situation from sliding to an Al
Franken date with Ann Coulter would have made me smile if I was not
under the same strain.

The question is, would it be ethical to deny employment to a person
(otherwise eminently qualified) based on his/her political views, though
the real reason is never mentioned? On the other hand, is a new person
(however well qualified) worth the possible disruption (97% possibility)
to the sense of good will in the team?


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