Hiring Practices

Subject: Hiring Practices
From: Lisa Higgins <lisa -at- DRDDO1 -dot- EI -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 09:27:00 +0000

DoreenM520 -at- aol -dot- com wrote:
> You, and many others, are guilty of "select reading" of my original post. I
> stated that "all other things being equal" I tend not to hire people who
> would rather write novels or who were English majors. I never said I
> "eliminate all tech writers who want to also write novels and all tech
> writers who were English majors." A hiring manager has to make tradeoffs. And
> if a hiring manager has found a formula that works, hey, "if it ain't
> broke...." I'll put my staff of non-novelist, non-English majors up against
> any in the country.
> I love it when people jump to flame before reading! As for your accusation
> that I am "flame baiting," quite frankly, I have better things to do with my
> time. It is amusing when a reader not only cannot correctly interpret what is
> written, but then has to project a motive onto the writing as well.

First, you posted an opinion. Many people disagree with that opinion,
and they have a right to argue that. (Personally, I'd guess that
someone who has actually published a few fiction works or shopped a
screenplay is going to be even more thick-skinned than your average
tech writer.)

So what? I think it's a silly criterion you have there, but that's my
opinion, and I'll let you keep yours.

Again, in my opinion, the REAL point of contention comes in when you

>I got a chuckle out of Eric's recent post stating that he knows
>employers who search the archives of techwrl looking for candidates
>who have posted. I haven't tried that bit of candidate research, but
>have used search engines to look "in general" where a candidate may
>have posted or to see if they have a home page. This is risky
>business, however; with all the legalities involved in hiring, next
>I fear there will be a protected class called "Can't design a
>webpage to safe life."

Using a search engine to try to find a candidate's postings and/or
personal web page when they have not specifically volunteered this
information is not just unethical, IMO, but potentially illegal.

How do you justify using a search engine to discover personal
information on a job candidate? Is where they post your business? Are
you visiting their personal webpages to gather information that
you're not allowed to ask them in interviews? Personal webpages are
personal. They include information about kids, location, religion,

What would you do with the information that a potential employee was
a single parent with seven kids, an active Wiccan, and posted
regularly to depression support groups? While it may be true that a
bad match doesn't do anyone any favors, that's not your decision to
make. It's the candidate's. I choose to volunteer certain personal
information to potential employers because I have no interest in
working for a xenophobic jerk. But if you failed to hire me after
finding out something about my personal life, you'd be on VERY shaky
legal ground.

I would very much like to see you address this issue, as it is
something that bears addressing.

lhiggins -at- lucent -dot- com

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