IMHO Installment #67: Don't Ignore Diamonds in the Rough

09 Jul 2007


For as evil as I can be in the HR field, I'm also sometimes a helpful advisor. For example, this afternoon, I pre-interviewed a kid (a step I do before sending candidates to my clients for consideration). Let's call the guy Johnny Honest.

Well into the interview, I asked, "So, why'd you leave your last employer?"

With a straight face and complete sincerity, he responded, "They called me in one afternoon and basically said, 'Johnny, we hate you. Please leave.' "

I only wish I were drinking something at the time so I could have written about how I sprayed the kid, the table, and the wall behind him as I burst out laughing. "Dude," I said (though, somehow, professionally), "that's the worst answer you could possibly ever give to the question I just asked you! I mean, do you realize that's a fatal answer?!"

"Uhhh ... "

"Oh, it may be an honest answer, and I suppose I commend you for your honesty. But, if you ever want to land a position, you're going to have to rethink your strategy."

"I should?"

"You should."

We then went over it. Turns out he had developed some warped internal sense that honesty is admired in the business world. Gee, where'd he ever get an idea like that? Especially in today's climate.

Turns out it's good, as an HR person, to have a background in marketing and PR. I schooled the young lad on "spin." "So, when you're asked that question, you need to make your firing into a positive. Let's see ... where to begin ... Okay, was it a good atmosphere there?"

"Oh, it was awful!. It was a pressure cooker and they never kept a manager for more than a year."

"Aha!!!! Don't you see that that's your answer??? It was their fault you left, not yours!"

After a pause for the epiphany to descend upon him, "Gee ... you're right! Thanks!"

Employing my natural literary gift at witty subtext, I capped it all off with, "Don't mention it."

Part of the secret to headhunting is to find diamonds in the rough and polish them. Then sell them for lots of money!

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On July 9, 2007, anandamide wrote:

this is what passes for a diamond in the rough these days? what would someone have to say to be classified as a turd (i.e. beyond polish)?

On July 11, 2007, Rhythmballer wrote:

I would hire that guy in a heartbeat.

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