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Monday, October 13, 2014

Pants on Fire

My Monday business centered blog is not all about business. It is an effort to connect a recent story or article from the work world and apply a faith perspective. So when I find a blog headline like, “Why You Must Lie on Job Interviews and What You Must Lie About,” I’m ready for game time.

By title, this article would be seemingly easy to judge. Encouragement to lie? Oh, please.

The author, Mark Stevens, is CEO of a marketing firm known as MSCO, Inc. He is a bestselling author. And an insightful thinker.

Stevens cites two specific HR questions that commonly arise in a job interview:
  • Do you work well with others?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
The problem with question #1 is that many very skilled and qualified people DON’T work well with others. They work best by themselves. There needs to be an HR category for those folks without turning them away as trouble makers.

The problem with the second question is that the employee does not answer truthfully. Most people are seeking a job with lots of benefits. But they won’t say that. Instead, they spew words of praise on the company, the reputed culture and/or the quality leadership.

Before I move on to another HR issue, let me comment on the ethical issue of lying in job interviews. Let’s do our best to avoid doing that. As to the first question, a reply that might be more effective is, “In my work history, people have always commented on the quality of my work as a contribution to the team.” As to the second question, one SHOULD be able answer truthfully, “The most meaningful kind of work is one you can put your heart into and be compensated for it. I will commit to being an excellent worker and I would hope that a good compensation package would follow.” No lies. Just the facts. Assuming this is the truth.

Another problematic HR type question is, “What qualifies you for this job?” Quite frankly, some of the best people out there are “unqualified” for jobs by a false standard. I’ll explain.

In my last job, I found a superior candidate in terms of the kinds of skills needed for a radio producer. He had no real background in this. When a job opening for a producer came up with our organization, HR sent him a rejection letter. He wasn’t “qualified.” And in the strictest HR sense, he wasn’t. But in the truest sense of what was needed, he was.

Shortly thereafter, I needed a person with his skills. The short story is that we were able to get HR to let us take the rap if this was a bad decision, and we hired him. It was a great decision. He thrived. He’s moved up. He’s considered one of the best talents in that role.

Often, we look at the “outer” distinctives of a person and their career, rather than the heart of the person and their giftedness. And so it is with God. King David was not considered worthy material for a number of reasons. But this is how he was assessed by God: “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t look at how handsome Eliab is or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NCV)

So David was the truly hot prospect. AND he could play the lyre. Ok…I can’t resist it…the end of my story goes….lyre, lyre, pants on fire.

I know…it takes a sick mind.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays, 4-6 pm on AM 1160 WYLL in Chicago. Check the web for WYLL and the app for AM 1160 to listen live. Or by podcast.

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