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Hiring through interviews is like....

picking up a girl/boy in a bar and getting married on the spot.

Seriously though, there are a lot of similarities between hiring, and dating.

Least of which is the fact that it is a lot easier to get a new mate or job, when you already have one!

The worst thing that normally happens after a night on the pull is you wake up, scream and run. Actually sometimes you are tempted to gnaw your arm off as you can't risk waking them up.... that bad!

Hiring though, is the equivalent of having them wake up at yours, and be wearing a ring. They might be exactly what you were looking for, but if they aren't, you can't get rid of them without major expense! You can't leave either, because it's your house.

Just as people have become more liberal, and women don't normally demand a contract !ahem! ring, I think the job market will one day loosen up.

The "us vs them --> men vs women --> employers vs employees" will give way to relationships in a lot of western societies where the union exists only as long as both parties are happy.

As one night stands are common today, so shall one month or one week work gigs.
As one dates for a while before committing, so shall employers and employees try each other out before making a long term commitment.
As multi-dating is common today, so shall the multi-employer individual exist.


Thursday, November 27, 2003

  "The only difference beetwen a job interview and a date is that there aren't many job interviews where you expect to end up naked."

  Jerry Seinfeld. 

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Thursday, November 27, 2003

>> "As one night stands are common today"

Not necessarily true.  This is what is portrayed by the media and so people tend to believe this.  My guess would be that the vast majority of people do not go out and have "one night stands" because their position in life does not allow for that life style or that lifestyle is against some of their beliefs.  The ones that do probably do not do so any more often today than people like them did 50 or 100 years ago.  (Of course there are numerous other factors involved,. age, friends, alcohol, social ability, religious stance, etc) 

Distinguishing between what the media presents to you and what actually occurs in reality is becoming more difficult especially for people who were "raised on the TV and the computer."  At any rate this is way off topic.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

I don't have any data, but I'd be extremely surprised if one-night-stands were just as common in 1953 and 1903 as they are today.

J. D. Trollinger
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Someone hasn't watched Bridges Through Madison County lately.

By the way, is mentioning that movie to make a point one of the Signs of the Apocolypse? ;-)

Thursday, November 27, 2003

  Back to topic, I've heard a lot about the "finish of the tradition employment model" in the last few years.

  In fact one change that you can notice is that peploe nowadays tend to have shorter lasting jobs.  In the old days you'd get a job in a company and stick with it for decades.  Although this still happens, I think it's getting rarer.

  My brother, a few of years ago, got a new job in a big firm.  After the training period, he came to me talking that he was planning to stay no longer than 7 years in that job, because sticking to it more than that would imply to the market that he was accomodated, and that would struggle his chances of growth.


Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Thursday, November 27, 2003

>> Hiring through interviews is like....
>> picking up a girl/boy in a bar and getting married on the spot.

Here, here.

But I think this is the case because of several erroneous assumptions made in the hiring context, and also some reality:

- There is a premium placed on the employer's "decisiveness". The employer is assumed to have perfect judgement re: the candidate's suitability. IE, a trial employment or contract period would imply that the employer was incapable of this spot decision making and therefore tainted.

- The job is assumed to be "forever," therefore a trial period giving either an "out" punctures the "fantasy."

- Likewise, the candidate is assumed to be personally absolutely committed to the job. Ditto.

- A fully employed person's schedule won't permit the degree of ambiguity that a trial employment period would entail, and overlap of two situations would be extremely difficult in most cases. Everyone is addicted to that guaranteed clockwork salary like crack cocaine.

In fact, my very last point (widespread employee semi-insolvency) probably stands in the way of reality ever taking over the full time employment picture.  Most full time programmers you talk to look at contracting as being way too risky to ever consider for a primary income, even if they're absolutely dissatisfied with their current job.

What you're describing sounds a lot like temping. Don't neglect the fact that most people look down on temping, and most true "temps" in many fields are abused, never get insurances, etc. 

So, I think that the debt-driven consumer lifestyle, plus strong business culture assumptions, stands in the way of a "dating" model taking over employment anytime soon. Even if it's an abusive, dishonest farce, it's a model that most people are too accustomed to to accept anything else.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, November 27, 2003

Good points, BB.

And if all employers went with a trial-period system, changing jobs would be a much more risky proposition, and that would increase the difficulty and expense of recruiting.  Because if you get a new job and things don't go well in the trial period, you're now unemployed.  Not many people will leave their current job to join your company if they know that a nontrivial percentage of candidates don't make it past the trial period.

It's much easier to convince someone to leave an existing job if the new job being offered is perceived as fairly secure.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

If hiring employees is like marriage, consulting must be like prostitution.

T. Norman
Thursday, November 27, 2003

hey T. have't you ever told one of your customers you have a friend who will perform Database Maintenance for them for an extra 50 bucks/hr?

the artist formerly known as prince
Thursday, November 27, 2003

"Most full time programmers you talk to look at contracting as being way too risky to ever consider for a primary income, even if they're absolutely dissatisfied with their current job. "

Is this really true? The only decent programmers I know are either contractors or those working for tiny firms.

Tom Vu
Friday, November 28, 2003

My hope is with the top dudes out there. They're the ones that don't have trouble finding jobs, and maybe they're also sensible with their money. If they start moving around a bit, expecting a bit more, then it could start a trend.

Too many maybes. Shit, it's not going to happen.

Friday, November 28, 2003

One of the things businesses need is reliability and stability.

The owner or CEO or HR head of a firm wants to employ a person, and wants that person to perform a task well for a long period.


Because they don't want to spend the energy and time and money to hire somebody again, when that person leaves the company.

Businesses want "set it and forget it" (tm) departments, employees, etc.

Friday, November 28, 2003

In a downturn, I don't think the "set it and forget it" holds any water.

Friday, November 28, 2003

A trial period can be expensive.  A lot of times, the new person is learning the ropes, finding their way around the existing codebase, and so on.  So they're not going as productive as a long-time employee at first.

So unless they're really bad, the marginal utility of getting in another person, who's going to now have to learn the ropes, not be so useful, etc, may be really low, even if the new person you get is a tad better than the one you're getting rid of.

Now, I've seen cases of one or two complete incompetents getting hired, and my employers (big companies) have had no hesititation in getting rid of them after a very short time, even without an official trial period.


Friday, November 28, 2003

So who is pushing the "set and forget" more, business or the employees?

Friday, November 28, 2003

Let's be blunt - the interview stage of hiring someone is the *least* effective and the *most* prone to bias. 

Psychometric tests have some value but again can be culturally biased - the classic example being a test from California used by a London Council including the question "Are you afraid of earthquakes?".  Since London is built on clay and is several hundred miles from nearest (even faintly) active fault system, this is not the best question to determine someone's recruitment.

The most effective way of hiring is to use practical tests or exams to test the main part of the job.  I've seen this used properly twice - both in the public sector.

Trial periods are common here - mostly tied to employment rights since it is harder to sack someone once they've been with you a while.  They do have some value  - but only if you've really made a bad cock-up. 

A cynic writes
Friday, November 28, 2003

I see a situation where two people are on 'trial' for the same job, both work their guts out for a week, month, whatever - they both deliver something and then at the end nobody gets a job.

It would happen all the time.

Hell, why stop at two people on trial lets make it fifty on trial for the same job.

It would ayways be the employee on trial, rarely would the employer be on trial. The power relationship doesn't work like that.

Trial This
Friday, November 28, 2003

>"In a downturn, I don't think the "set it and forget it" holds any water."

At least the "forget it" part still holds.  As in "get rid of it" so they can forget it.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Companies that use trial periods do pay the people who are working through the trial period.  So it's not cost-effective to bring in fifty people to put them on trial.

T. Norman
Friday, November 28, 2003

On trial means that there are working, albeit with little commitments.

A bit like dating. You kinda do the couple thing, with no marriage.

How exclusive the relationship is, is up to the parties involved. Whether there is a promise of marriage/job at the end of it all, is again up to the parties involved.

Friday, November 28, 2003

mmm...Perhaps trial periods mean something different in different countries. 

Here (UK) the usual deal is a 3-6 months "probationary period"  during which the notice period is lower  - a week rather than a month say  - and grounds for dismissal not as rigourous.  Once over an employer has to have "reasonable" grounds for dismissal.   

There also was a thing a few years ago for rolling fixed term contracts - mainly to avoid increased employee rights once you'd been there 2 years - but I think that as far as the law concerned now you keep continuity of employment. 

A cynic writes
Friday, November 28, 2003

Tapiwa, well,

All your jobs will be 'one night stands', as in:

Well, he looked good,
But he turned out to be useless.

As in, less than useless,
A complete idiot.

He wasted everyone's time,

I wish I'd googled his name,
For then I would have known,

Tapiwa is a Cunt.

Of the highest order.

bow lock
Friday, November 28, 2003

That reminds me of a quote!

"Is this thing on?"
- Albert Einstein

Jimmy Jojo
Saturday, November 29, 2003

what can I say??

Monday, December 1, 2003

the apology of Tapiwa .....

When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking, that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and still wiser by himself; and thereupon I tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well,although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off than he is for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him.
-- Plato, Apology

Monday, December 1, 2003

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