Monday, November 26, 2007

Is That a Requirement or a Cover Story?

We're all familiar with the "halo effect" in which a favorable part of a person's background blinds us to other, perhaps less desirable, factors.

Linked to that, however, is a tendency to seize upon non-qualifying characteristics as a way to justify an employment decision. In the horror show known as Recruitment and Selection, cries of "He has an MBA" or "She worked for the governor" are used as crucifixes to fend off queries from sharp-toothed skeptics. Once the statement is made, tradition dictates that the matter is closed and all present are expected to defer to the selection board's wisdom.

Mixing real job requirements with political ones may be justifiable. Sometimes, doing so helps to sell a worthy selection. The fluff, however, should never be confused with what is truly required for successful performance of the job.

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