Criteria For Hiring – A Rant

I’m going to admit something up front; I’m writing angry right now. I’m angry for a business reason, not a personal reason, and I don’t believe my anger is misdirected. However, it’s something to think about overall, which is why I’m writing about it.

For close to two weeks I’ve been working on landing a project out of state. It would have been a big project that could have lasted upwards of six months or so. Overall it’s the kind of project that can make or break a good financial year.

It started out strangely, seemed to end but didn’t, then picked up steam once more. I have the credentials for the job. I have the skills for the job. It was supposedly me against one other person, and the other person’s skills turned out to be lacking; seems she’d never done any of the work they needed to have done.

But I have, multiple times. I’ll tell you that it was a health care project, and I do have the skills for it. Let’s just say that I helped one hospital earn an “extra” $736 million in one year, and I actually created the product that was needed in my field for a 5-hospital system in another country some years ago. I’ve been doing this particular type of work for almost 25 years; I’m easily qualified.

On Wednesday I spoke to someone about the gig and it went really well. You know, whenever you speak to candidates about something you just get a feeling on how it goes. I knew my stuff; heck, she knew my stuff. We discussed tactics and the like and what the overall scope of the project was. She said it was a lot and she couldn’t handle it; I said I could.

Once that happens you have to wait. And I did, all through yesterday and into this morning. I knew that if the call came through I was going to have to scramble to get everything collected because it was going to be kind of far away. But I was mentally prepared for anything.

Except not getting it. Just a little while ago I heard that I didn’t get it, and for what I’d have to say is a very stupid reason. My qualifications aren’t in question as to whether I can do the job. What’s in question is whether my skills can translate to a larger organization like theirs.

And you know what the kicker is? The person that made the ultimate decision has no clue what I do. He works in a department that has nothing to do with what I do, but since they’re missing the person in the position that would normally make this decision he made it. Pure idiocy, and I’m angry.

I get it; people make decisions every day on stuff they don’t know anything about, or may not know much about. The reasons we do this is because we need stuff but can’t know about everything. I know nothing about plumbing, roofing, electricity, etc. So I have to hire someone I don’t know, whether I get a recommendation or not.

At the same time, I understand that there are sometimes other, outside factors that might lead us to not want to hire someone or to work with someone. If they’re unkempt and work a job that doesn’t keep them that way we might be hesitant. If they smell or seem creepy, and y’all know that happens, I got it. If you get a bad vibe and the Spidey senses are telling you to beware, that makes sense as well.

But if you don’t have those issues, and all things are equal, at least make sure your criteria is sound. I’ve given leadership presentations to as few as 10 people and as many as 250 at a time. Does that mean I’m not qualified, if I got lucky enough, to speak in front of 500 to 1,000 people at a time? If the message is the same and the information is the same do the numbers really mean all that much?

So let me ask you this. If you needed services and a person’s qualifications were sound and you checked references or previous work and it all came back stellar, but you didn’t really fully understand what these people were going to do for you (kind of reminiscent of our SEO discussion some months ago) would you just make up criteria based on a flawed perception or would you take into account what someone with the skills and knowledge (like the woman I talked to) had to say about it?

Yeah, I’m at the end and I’m still mad, but less so now. lol

32 thoughts on “Criteria For Hiring – A Rant”

  1. I can feel your frustration Mitch.
    I recently applied to a job that was essentially a permanent version of the termed position I had been doing for the same organization. The application had a set of multiple-choice questions on level of knowledge/skill for various specific aspects of the job, which is in scientific research. The HR department does the first screening of candidates purely based on the answers to the questions, whether or not the answers are supported by the information in the CV because the HR personnel are not scientists. I was not ranked as “best qualified”, so my application was not even forwarded to the actual hiring person – even thought I had 3+ years experience in the exact job. Likely whoever was ranked as “best qualified” had just checked the highest box on every question no matter their actual abilities – a known issue for this application process. They only verify qualifications after the rankings, so I was penalized for being cautious not to oversell myself. Despite this being a known problem with HR, they have no means to allow you to argue your case – meaning no one with knowledge of the job can affect the candidate rankings.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Marianne. I created an employee ranking module with the express purpose being to help those that either need to evaluate talent hire new talent can select from criteria based on what they really need. Thing is it only works if you know what you need, and if the person making the decisions has no real clue what you do, it’s going to fail. I’m sorry for what happened to you, but I’ve seen that type of thing happen before.

  2. Is it even remotely possible that the decision-maker felt that his/her job was threatened by hiring you? I mean, if you are that good, the ‘higher-ups’ COULD make you a permanent offer (in that person’s mind) which COULD put them out the door.

    I’m just sayin’ …….

    Hey… I might have a favor to ask of you which could possibly lead to income for you down the road – I’ll get hold of you in a few days!

    My best to you, Mitch!


    1. Althea, in this case the guy who made the decision wasn’t even in the department I’d have been working in. That’s why it’s frustrating. But so be it; if I got the call now I wouldn’t go, which is why I’m not afraid to write what I write; not like I ever let any of this stuff stop me anyway. lol In any case it’s something that’s got to get me pumped up and pushing forward.

  3. Hey Mitch,
    I feel your pain and know how you feel about this matter. My take on this would to be let go of the anger, let go of what could be and just focus on the fact that something better is coming your way.

    Every time something doesn’t work out as I had hoped I noticed that something better, and in the case of a job, better paying as well.

    1. Thanks Justin. That’s what my wife says most of the time but this time even she was angry to a degree because she recognized the reason I was given was stupid. Still, I will push forward; I have to, right?

  4. For many years I have problems hiring workers. Nearly 99% I know if the person have the required knowledge. I don’t ask for qualifications, but for personal portfolio and projects covered before. To be honest it takes me a lot of time to find the right person, usually 2-3 months. Sorry to hear that you have missed this project, I also lost one recently, got mad, but I think I’ve found better opportunities after that.

    1. Carl, that’s how I’m trying to look at this thing, that better opportunities that I’ll like better are coming. But man, I was really angry there for awhile.

      1. There is always a better one, but after frustration it always looks like it will never come. Believe in the power of positive thinking.

      2. Carl, I’m going to be positive starting Monday… well, as I’m writing this it’s already Monday but I haven’t been to bed yet. But when I awaken, it’s a new world!

  5. I feel your pain here, this is exactly the reason why I hate the corporate world (and I would go as far as saying the people who embrace it). I cannot wait until I am in a position to turn my back on it all, it is full of people who get paid too much and have no idea what they are doing…. morons!

    1. Danika, then the problems really escalate because you still have to deal with these people, as I’m still having to deal with them. And not all are bad, but sometimes someone without the qualifications for making a decision is the one that’s going to make it; that’s when it’s really frustrating.

  6. Hi Mitch,

    It is still much better to let go your anger first before taking into another action. Sometimes we just realize that we are not happy on the results of actions taken when Angry.

    1. Probably true Ashley. I’ve not made any major mistakes that I’ve regretted while angry, but I’ve come close. And one can only dodge those bullets so many times in life I figure.

  7. I completely understand the situation of having to wait, it’s one of the worst parts about dealing with others, where you’re ready to go and if it was for your own project you could start, but when you work with others you always end up waiting.

    1. John, sometimes even if it’s your project you’re made to wait. Waiting is part of business, even personal business. I don’t mind that so much.

  8. Well, if it was in the state I live in and they saw a “picture” of you, then I would be willing to bet my next client’s check that I know the reason why. Some people get upset when being accused of racism but the bottom line is it still exists and especially in hiring practices. There is no way someone else could make a critical decision like that without getting the input of a person who clearly understands the field. Then they hide behind the philosophy of “know, like and trust” as long as the color is right.

    OK—that’s all I’m going to say about this—unless further comments are warranted.

    1. I hear you Bev, and trust me, it’s the thing that always comes into your mind when nothing else makes sense. And when you mention it to people the first thing many folks say is “oh, it can’t be that.” But you and I definitely know better unfortunately.

  9. Hey, Mitch,
    I would also be angry if it was me in the same situation and you have the right to feel frustrated about the unjustice thing that you experienced. As many before me had already told you in their comments (including your wife)- let go, and focus on something better. Think of it that you didn’t get the job, because it just wasn’t the right job for you. The right one (even a better job) will find you. And from what I learned, from my personal experience, it will find you when you least expect it! It’s just always like that, as life is what keeps happening to us between our plans.

    1. Thanks Kristina. I never give up and two days later I’m not angry anymore. Just have to get focused and work on that next possible project, right?

  10. Hi Mitch,

    I try not to spend too much time wondering about the mindset that these corporate fat cats have. America’s business landscape has got downhill in the last couple of decades, and it’s because the people in charge are completely stupid.

    All I can say about this situation is that they obviously made the wrong decision, and are obviously too stupid to function as a company. Looks to me like you dodged a bullet, because I wouldn’t want to work for someone like that. Take care.

    1. Thanks Trey. The anger lasted close to 24 hours but by the time I went to see Harry Potter for the second time I was over it. I just wish companies that didn’t want you stated as such up front; I mean, it’s certainly not like they didn’t have all my credentials before the interview, which means they were impressed enough with what I’d done to go through with the second part.

  11. I can empathize with you Mitch. When I have sought technical contracts, I occasionally came across companies that require candidates to pass through their vendor. I have come across position descriptions that read as though they were written just for me–a perfect match for my skills and background–yet the vendor is unable to see that because they do not really understand technology. So see, I think can relate to how frustrated you must feel.

    I mirror Kristine Lā€™s sentiments. Be willing to just let it go for right now and put your focus on what is working for you. It is their loss.

    1. Thanks Rachel. You know, over 10 years I’ve heard some interesting reasons why I might not have gotten a gig but this one took the cake. Two years ago I put in for something and they loved my credentials, then after the interview they said I wasn’t qualified for the position. I keep wondering why they called twice for the interview only to then tell me I wasn’t qualified. Idiocy, but we push forward.

  12. Hi Mitch. I understand your frustration. But however, I think it’s something that will always happen to anyone, at least once in their life. So why don’t you just take it positively, as a valuable lesson for you? šŸ™‚

    1. Andrew, I’ll do what I can. There’s nothing directly positive that can come from it but hopefully it’ll spark some better action from me as I push forward.

  13. Of course I can’t really give any opinion in a field I don’t even understand, BUT I can confirm that sometimes you lose projects for the most various and pissing-off reasons. Here in italy 99% of the times it’s because the project has been already assigned to some nephew or cousin, but I doubt it was your case :p (rather, I hope not).

    1. Gabriele, I know it wasn’t the case here. Matter of fact, I know they don’t even have another candidate for the gig right now, which is why I’m really irked. In my mind it can only be one reason, which I’m not going to say but it’s been alluded to. That might not be true, but the reason I ultimately got isn’t true either.

  14. I sure as hell can tell you’re upset Mitch because I found a couple of mistakes in your post, something that hardly ever happens.

    I know it’s only a small consolation, but knowing that they have hired someone who isn’t as qualified means that they’re going to get a crappy result. As for that guy who made the decision, he could well get his ass kicked šŸ˜‰

    1. Sire, the thing is they haven’t hired anyone; they have no other candidates. He could have gotten someone with my skills at a discounted rate, even if that was a mistake, and he blew it based on something really stupid. More power to them; I’m done.

  15. I believe that most people applying for jobs with me are equally skilled. Sure, each person may be a little better or worse than the other but generally the differences are negligible. And I feel that most skills are hard to validate until after someone has been working for a quite some time.

    Subsequently, I hire based on two criteria: passion and integrity. After reviewing resumes and phone screening the final candidates I interview face-to-face are basically equal. I want someone who cares, someone with desire, someone that I can trust.

    I would hire the least skilled person if he/she seems to have the most passion. Most skills necessary for most jobs can be trained but you can’t train personality.

    I don’t know if that answers your question. It sounds like you’re very frustrated.

    1. Levi, I was really angry when I wrote that post. I’m not as angry now but you know, it’s the extra element some of us have to deal with. It’s like having all the qualifications for a job, coming out on top, and having someone say “Yeah, but he’s too tall” when height has nothing to do with it. If the reason I’d been given had been somewhat legit, I could have handled that. Probably the mistake was the guy who was the intermediary sharing what the other guy said to me, but once Pandora’s Box has been open… well, you know.

      I would do what you did; I used to do what you did. If you have a vibe about someone positive or negative then that makes sense. But the guy making the decision in my case wasn’t even in on the interview; the person I talked to was impressed. That’s why I know it was bogus and why I was irked.

      Unfortunately, it does happen all the time; that’s why I say often that things just aren’t quite equal yet, Obama as president or not.

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