This page discusses the practice of hiring or selecting between potential candidates for a job position. It also discusses the practice of interviewing and applying for jobs, including jobs that exist within the conventional workplace culture where the interviews and application process are not necessarily carried out in ways harmonious with the values of Why This Way.
Mainstream approach to hiring
The mainstream approach to hiring, which is largely unquestioned in most modern societies, is that the decision for hiring is conducted by one or more hiring managers, who are usually the people who will be most directly involved in supervising the employee being hired.
A novel approach to hiring
We have discussed a novel approach to hiring that is more in line with our core beliefs. The approach we have discussed so far assumes that any initial stages of selecting candidates have already been carried out, and the organization is down to
- The employer can convene a group meeting, somewhat like a group interview, involving the potential job applicants, as well as people with whom the new employee will be most closely working.
- The employer shares information about the position.
- The candidates and current employees openly discuss the position, and reach a consensus about which candidate(s) to hire.
- In the case of a failure to reach consensus, the employer reserves the right to disqualify candidates who are preventing the group from reaching consensus.
Benefits of this approach
If consensus is reached, and even in some cases if it is not reached:
- Each candidate who is not hired will come away from the experience with a full understanding of why they were not chosen for the position. This can be empowering, as they will know exactly what skills to work on developing to have a better chance of being hired for similar positions.
- Each candidate who is not hired will be more likely to believe that the best choice was made, and thus will be less likely to leave the situation feeling frustrated or harboring resentment towards the employer. This can also minimize the likelihood of costly lawsuits surrounding employment discrimination.
- Candidates can work out issues amongst themselves that are typically not hashed out during interview processes. For example, suppose three candidates are equally well-qualified for a position, but two other candidates have other job prospects and the third does not. In another case, one candidate may live closer to the job, whereas the other two candidates may face long commutes if they accept the job. In these cases, the candidates may decide to give the job to the candidate for whom the job would be most beneficial. This result can benefit the employer, because the candidate will be more likely to accept the job offer and more likely to stay in the organization longer. This result can also benefit society as a whole, as people are placed into jobs that they are more content with and that are a better match for their lives on a holistic level.
- The consensus process challenges candidates to place the common good of the employer and other candidates above their own immediate benefit, when something relatively large is at stake. Seeing how candidates handle this situation could provide the employer with information that would not come out in a standard interview or even most group interviews. This extra information could help employers to assess qualities like honesty, integrity, and altruism, which can be hard to assess.
- The additional people and perspectives present, and the extended discussion, can make it less likely that employers would misjudge applicants based on their responses to questions.
Drawbacks of this approach
- This consensus-based process could be impractical for the employer if there are too many applicants.
- In a group interview, it is not possible to ask the same question to different candidates without one candidate's answer influencing the others' answers. This can make it impossible to get an accurate read of how each candidate would respond to a particular question.
Interviewing and applying to jobs
Culture of "talking oneself up"
People in American society can feel an immense pressure (often in a form of a vague sense of obligation but sometimes in a more direct fear of rejection as a job applicant) to "talk themselves up". The notion of talking oneself up is highly subjective, and it is not always clear exactly what this means. "Talking oneself up" can be interpreted as focusing on or highlighting one's positive attributes or strengths, but at an opposite extreme, it can also be interpreted in ways that are overtly dishonest, such as misrepresenting a degree or job experience. There is a lot of gray area between these two extremes: often, there is no societal consensus about whether the use of euphemisms is acceptable or not.
In Why This Way, our rules of communication specify to talk about each person (which includes oneself) as a whole person, to talk about shades of gray when they exist, to speak from experience, and to admit when you don't know something. They also specify to not exaggerate, and not state something as fact that is uncertain. These rules are rather restrictive; a guideline for conducting oneself in job interviews and on job applications in accordance with our beliefs would be to present oneself in as positive a light as possible, but without overstepping these rules of communication. That is, one can admit weaknesses and faults, while focusing on one's strengths. We would also discourage people from using euphemisms, unless there is a societal consensus to interpret them in a certain way.