To Hire or Not To Hire – That is the Question

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"Trahey's Simple Rule: Would You Hire You?" – Jane Trahey

The latest employment numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that the jobless rate remained unchanged at 5.6 percent in June, but most experts see a trend of companies continuing on a pace of cautious hiring in the months ahead. However, cautious is the operative word and the desire of employers to hire only the best qualified people has an increasing number of companies using a strategy more often seen on the playing field than the corporate office park: they are having would-be employees "try out" for their jobs.

The DiMassimo Brand Advertising agency in New York, held a job competition last fall in which ten people participated in a weeklong competition for an entry-level advertising job. The group worked on pitches and ad strategies and each day management voted two people out "Apprentice" or "Survivor" style. Karine Ng made the cut for four days before being eliminated but got a referral out of the process that netted her a job with another agency. Still, some workplace experts call the practice exploitive and warn that there may also be issues with how or whether to pay such workers.

We used to do similar hiring for some leading companies in the UK a number of years ago. It wasn't a week, but one particular hiring project was to find two marketing graduates out of over 1,000 applicants. We managed to get the numbers down to 100 to interview over 2 days!

We achieved this by creating a group interview and then the client had a number of tests they put the candidates through and they had to achieve a certain pass mark. By the end of the first day we were close to our target of 12 candidates to take forward to day 2.

The final group at the end of day 1 were treated to a full five star dinner in the boardroom and then back to a local hotel. What truly amazed me was how many of the candidates assumed they were no longer being assessed, my job was to stay up and see who went to bed the latest! The final candidate went to bed at 2.30am after several drinks – with an 8.00 am. start for Day 2 – talk about poor judgment – they did not look healthy at breakfast!

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