Re: Hiring Practices

Subject: Re: Hiring Practices
From: Pete Kloppenburg <pkloppen -at- CERTICOM -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 14:52:28 -0500

Arlen P Walker writes
> If I'm hiring someone, if behooves me to get as much solid info about
> technique and capability as I can.

Oh, I agree. But there are all sorts of ways to get that without resorting
to an Internet search engine. Do you want more writing samples? Ask
for more. Do you want to know if the candidate has online help
experience? Ask her. Do you want to know if this person is
thin-skinned about criticism? Ask her references and former managers.

Internet searches would, I should think, turn up all sorts of things
which are none of the employer's business, and may influence a
hiring manager in all sorts of unsavory ways. And despite your suggestion
that this influence can go both ways, I think that interviewers have all
the tools they need to get the information that's relevant to the job
at hand, without resorting to Internet searches.

Maybe it's paranoia, but it seems to me that the possible abuses of
this sort of screening procedure far far far outweigh any possible
benefits to a job applicant.

> The prospective employer is expected to bare all about the
> company working conditions, and is villified for not doing so (has happened
> many times on this list); yet the prospective employee is allowed to
> provide as little information as possible, and is protected in doing so.

Huh? What? I've been asked all sorts of questions in interviews. The
only ones you are not allowed to ask seem to be ones which are purely
irrelevant, or which should be. I would say that the advantage is
entirely the employers in hiring situations. I can't think of one example
where you would find out something about a company that you
couldn't legitimately use as a criterion for taking the job. I can think
of all sorts going in the other direction.

> Why are newspaper articles about a
> company OK, but your personal web page off-limits?

What would you find out about a company in a newspaper article? That
it is on shaky financial ground? That the president is under investigation
by the securities commission? Fair game, I say. Any investor would use the
same information, and just as legitimately. What will you find out about
a personal web site? That the candidate has three small children? Okay,
I was looking to see if the page was designed well, but come to think of
it, wouldn't those children mean this candidate couldn't work loads of unpaid
overtime? Nice page, too bad I can't hire her.

> All I'm saying is that
> both sides deserve a level field.

Me too. We differ in the way we see the field slanted, is all.

Pete Kloppenburg - pkloppen -at- certicom -dot- com
Technical Writer
Mississauga, Ontario

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