Monday, August 11, 2008

thought salad

Last week, one of my hilarious profs spent a good hour raging about what a waste of time interviewing (in general, but particularly in the law/business world). "What do you do in an interview? You bullshit. Study after study shows interviews aren't an accurate predictor of success on the job. Guess what the best predictor of good job performance is? PAST job performance! Interviewing is a colossal waste of time and money, AND a diversity reducer, because people like people that are like them. So whoever's doing the interview hires people exactly like him. Colossal waste."

When I was a 1L I mentioned to a classmate that I had an intense fear of becoming a corporate bastard, getting sucked into the business world and never actually helping anyone. He rolled his eyes and said he could help more people by making a ton of money, saying something like "I can hire others to help. If I pull $300 an hour, it makes more sense for me to make that and hire 6 other people to help the poor for $50 an hour." I was appalled. I was fresh home from my mission and a firm believer in the person-to-person, voice-to-voice, one-by-one we make a change school of thought, and was shocked that it didn't occur to him that maybe HE had something to learn from THEM, that throwing money at others to help poor people robbed HIM of an important reality check. Not to mention he sounded like a total douche.

I thought of all that yesterday in RS yesterday (as usual) we had a fantastic lesson, this one about becoming Zion, "of one heart and one mind." Yeah, we talk about "cherishing differences" but when it comes down to it, most of the time our hangout friends are just like us. That's part of what was so hilarious and awesome about the mission, sitting down with people that I would NEVER in ten thousand years meet on my own. Can we help the poor if we don't know them?

Husband showed me this from Speaking of Faith the other day, talking about how Jesus wasn't in charge of the poor, he WAS poor. The author talks about how charities function as "brokers" between the rich and poor so we never see each other, and the wealthy can "pay off their consciences" bc without these "carefully sanctioned outlets, Christians might be forced to live the reckless Gospel of Jesus by abandoning the stuff of earth. Instead, thanks to charity, we can live out a comfortable, privatized discipleship."

The first paragraph talks about how this rich man wanted to be like Jesus so he got a 24 karat gold cufflink made that said "WWJD" on it. Funny, right? But maybe there's not much difference between that guy and me waxing poetic while I type about the poor on my freaking laptop.


AzĂșcar said...

Here's why I think your professor was wrong: You cannot tell from a piece of paper how a person will fit onto your current team.
The only way to do that is to meet someone in person.

Most of what happens in an interview has nothing to do with qualifications, or their past performance, it has to do with personality and the related interpersonal skills. You can tell quickly if a person bluffed on their resume or if they really do have the background to back up the talk.

If, as a boss, you hire only people who are like you, you're going to get into trouble really fast.

Ideally, you don't hire people like you, or like each other, you hire people who compliment each other and who would work well together. The fastest way to get a company going nowhere is to hire people like you, who think like you, who do what you do; it's patently stupid.

So, your professor was wrong, and you can tell him I said so :)

(You know, because I've actually created teams and managed people.)

Andrew said...

That Speaking of Faith article really rocked my world. It's amazing how we can think we're "living the Gospel" and yet we can totally be neglecting the core of the Gospel - loving our neighbor.

Thanks for this.

Erin said...

the firm i summered at had only recently started doing interviews. before that, they had based hires on like, writing samples and resumes. and it was sort of obvious who'd managed to get hired without an interview ... maybe these people were good employees, but they were very awkward to be around.

i really liked your point about learning from people that we serve, and your mission example was great.

and if that guy really DOES hire out six people at 50 dollars an hours to help the poor, well, good for him. but people who say things like that -- i doubt he really will.

i haven't read the article you linked to yet but i'm looking forward to it.

Sue said...

I love being interviewed. I'm like, "Oh, you want me to talk about myself for a while? Tell you how fabulous I am? NO PROBLEM."

megandjon said...

Yes, I must admit I like interviews too. I HATE applications and resumes because I just cannot be reduced to a piece of paper, but I've been hired for every job I've ever been interviewed for. I agree that there are things you can only figure out in person.

And I totally agree about the disconnectedness of just giving money to charity and we should all do the face-to-face kind. On the other hand though, I can't afford to fly to Africa to work with suffering people there, but I could help out with some money towards a good cause.

Mar said...

Hey Gurr! I emailed you! Where the heck are you?

Scott said...

The "Speaking of Faith" article definitely made me think. I really need to do more to extend a personal ministry to the poor, in addition to providing funds to help in areas that I can't reach (Africa, etc.). However, I have a problem with the line of thinking exhibited in one part of the article: "Because we know that we cannot end poverty without ending wealth..."

I think the idea that wealth keeps the poor in bondage is a very prideful approach to poverty, in the sense of pride looking up ("Beware of Pride" by Pres. Benson). If the poor believe that they are only poor because you and I are rich, they are wrong. Your financial success does not limit my financial success in any way. In this "world is flat" economy in which we live today, the wealth of others does nothing but create opportunities for us...if we're willing to accept those opportunities.