Kelly is a partner at a recruiting firm in Chicago, Illinois. She explains that a job candidate’s behaviour comes under careful watch the moment he or she arrives at the placement firm. “We use whatever data we can to build a portrait of you.”

The receptionist notices whether you areusing your cell phone to make calls and send and receive text messages. We also look to see if you are scrolling through apps on your smart phone rather than reading the employer’s annual report. She may also keep tabs on your

hygiene habits, such as whether you sneeze into the air instead of a handkerchief or facial tissue. Suppose a candidate is escorted to an inter- viewer’s office door, and the candidate marches right in even though the interviewer is involved in a call. Kelly thinks that’s a faux pas, with it being better to wait outside the office until the call is completed. After you get started with theinterview, and you peek at your smart phone from time to time, you can appear socially inept. Kelly says that several times in recent months, aspiring vice presidents have pulled out smart phones during interviews with one of the partners at the placement firm. The candidates were told sternly that it was time to shut down their device. It is better to check on a work crisis before and after the interview.

Kelly will often suggest that candidates take their car to a restaurant for lunch because the car is parked nearby. First Kelly observes the cleanliness of the vehicle both inside and out. When a vehicle looks like a dumpster on the inside or is excessively dirty on the outside, she assumes that the candidate is sloppy and disorganized. Kelly, as well as the other partners in the firm, also makes a few inferencesabout the way the candidate drives. A candidate who drives beyond the speed limit or races through yellow lights is regarded as possibly irresponsible. On the other hand, a candidate who drives too slowly might be perceived as too cautious for a job requiring high imagination.

Kelly has observed that a few candidates will swear at other drivers who cut them off or wait too long to start driving when the light turns green. She regards such behaviour as reflecting poor emotional control.

Similar with many other recruiters, Kelly asks the receptionist how she was treated by the candidate. She notes, “One time we immediately disqualified a candidate because he started ordering the receptionist around.

Offered a soft drink, he insisted on a fresh fruit drink. Later, he asked the receptionist to bring up the MSBN Website on her desktop so he could check the stock market results.”

Discussion Questions

  1. How fair is it for the recruiters described here to reject candidates because they display poor manners, such as receiving e-mail messages during the job interviews?
  2. Of what significance is it if the candidate who is waiting scrolls through applications on a smart phone instead of reading the company annual report?
  3. How valid is Kelly’s belief that the way a person drives is related to job performance in aspects of a job that does not involve driving?
  4. What lessons do these recruiters have for graduates seeking entry-level technical and professional jobs?

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