A Preference for Perfect Postulants

I recently read on a website an article about a hiring manager who discarded the application of any applicant who had less than a 3.0 grade point average (GPA). This manager was quite proud of this fact. So let’s take a look at some of the critical qualifications of hiring and compare some of the good points and bad points. Included are some other characteristics that might on the surface demonstrate great qualities, but there might be some other considerations. This reminds me of a person that I spoke with once who had a particular motorcycle that had a great reputation as a race bike. The person who had owned this motorcycle said that it was a great bike, but if you weren’t a very experienced rider, it was a nightmare, because it only performed well at very high speeds, and if you weren’t capable of holding the throttle wide open and slamming it around, it would torture you. The bike was essentially a production model of the bike that had won the world championship the year before. If you were world champion class rider, it was good for you; if you weren’t a world champion rider, it would punish you.

 

First, 4.0 GPA. GOOD: This person obviously has some brains, and is willing to work hard. They studied a lot and earned great grades. Applicants with 4.0 GPAs are probably very smart in terms of IQ. High IQ does not always mean a person who gets along with everyone. I once spoke with a Harvard Law graduate who said that he didn’t finish very high in his class, but there were some people in his class that pursued perfect scores all the time and were very boring people who understood everything as long as it was in a book, and weren’t as successful as him when it came to the practice of law. This reminds me of the question “What do they call the person who graduated last in their class in medical school? Doctor.”

 

BAD: Some of the 4.0 graduates have zero people skills because all they did in college was study. They didn’t participate in any other activities, and more than likely do not possess many social skills. Many of the 4.0 graduates are complete perfectionists, who see everyone who did not score as high as slackers or rather dumb. Some of the 4.0 people are very hard to work with, as anything that has their name on it (like a group project) has to be of the highest quality, and they will create considerable problems and slow down the process in order to ensure that everything, down to the last piece of punctuation, is perfect. Calculations and formulas will come under their review, and lord help anyone whose figures don’t match up precisely with the 4.0 genius figures. By the way, as of 2016, Google does not hire based on GPAs. They found out that people with bad GPAs actually know a thing or two. You may have noticed, Google has had a success or two. The following narrative explores some other less-than-perfect characteristics that might have a god side.

 

Job-hopper, BAD: This person has had too many jobs, and is not likely to stay once hired. GOOD: This person might have come from a high-turnover industry, too many to name here, and if you’ve ever had many jobs you know what job sectors we are talking about. There are many reasons to quit jobs, advancement being one of the most important. Many times firms that stress that they “promote from within” are offering nothing but balloon juice. These firms hire from outside because none of their employees are “qualified,” while they do not train any current employees for promotion to higher positions, and have no line of succession for promotion within the organization, so they are always hiring from outside, depleting morale and creating the feeling that there is nowhere to go in the organization.

 

Some jobs are classified as “3-D” jobs, meaning dirty, difficult and dangerous, which, as described, are probably not highly coveted jobs. One last reason for not keeping employees is compensation. Low compensation jobs also tend to be high-turnover jobs. One of the traditional high-turnover companies, after decades of high turnover, found that offering wage increases based on seniority for employees would mean that they would stay longer. Image that, paying people more money would actually keep people in the company. Who knew? Certainly not the people earning generous salaries with great perks making the managerial decisions.

 

Standardized test scores, GOOD: Standardized tests scores measure, usually, across a spectrum of skills, knowledge and abilities. There is a reason that colleges and professional schools have requirements of standardized tests, but always within a range of scores. You generally have to be able to do certain tasks or know certain information before you are accepted into academic or professional learning or training programs.

 

BAD: It has come to my attention of late that passing standardized tests are usually important to a hiring manager who also took that test and did well on it. There seems to be some vague resentment with hiring managers who could not pass the test that you might list on your resume as passing, or on that test scored exceptionally well. We have standardized tests as an indicator of knowledge or abilities, but I find managers who did not do well on them tend to discount them.

 

Staying with an organization for a long time, GOOD: This is a measure of loyalty and devotion, where a person decided that they would help the organization along and progress in their career along with the organization. BAD: They might have been very good at politics to have stayed so long. This person might be quite adept at dodging difficult assignments and making sure that their name got on everything successful in the company, many times after all of the hard work was completed. This person might have forged friendships with the upper-echelon in order to gain the choice assignments with very visible accomplishments, thanks mostly because of who they knew, and not necessarily on their skills, knowledge or abilities.

 

By the way, for all of the “new school” job interviewers, we do not appreciate you staring at a laptop during our interview. You wouldn’t tolerate it from us, and we are not impressed with you when you do it. If you want to tell me you have $75k on CMG, then I might suggest you put in a stop limit with your broker and communicate with me for the thirty minutes or so that the interview takes.

 

We don’t live in a fair world. Black dogs and cats, while being possibly the greatest companion one might ever find, are the hardest to find homes for, because of their attractiveness, or lack of it. In Japan, a black cat is good luck. Cursory judgments are about all anyone has time for, in this age where so many things are done for us that we previously had to do by hand.

 

Allow a small amount of logic here. If all you hire are 4.0 GPA people, and one of them does not do a good job, then your reasoning has failed, because the premise did not play out as expected. The failure of one 4.0 GPA disproves the belief that all 4.0 GPAs are the best. The other consideration is that if you never hired a person that didn’t have a 4.0 GPA, you have virtually no evidence to indicate that a person with a less than 4.0 GPA will not perform well, since you never tried one to see. If you hired some less than 4.0 GPAs and all of them failed, I would support your line of reasoning, but I would place money on a bet that not everyone hired was a 4.0 GPA. The same people who claim they do not have qualified applicants are the ones who will not hire anyone without some spectacular qualifications.

 

I was just reading about the valedictorian Josh Allmon of East Wake High School in North Carolina, who graduated with a 5.31 GPA. I’m not sure what a 5.31 GPA means, unless the student blew away the 0 to 4 point grade scale. There are other grade scales, so I am sure that is the case of Mr. Allmon. It was some time ago that I spoke to several college freshmen who had GPAs of 4.2 to 4.5 on a 0 to 4 point grade scale. I asked them how they could exceed the 4.0 boundary, and they said that they had taken “hard” courses so they deserved to have a grade even greater than perfect. This is called grade inflation, and it is rampant. It is common for high schools to have several dozen valedictorians, or even more than that in our present day. I asked the greater-than-perfect college freshmen if they thought it was fair for them to have GPAs exceeding the accomplishments of former graduates, and they insisted that they studied hard and that they deserved the grades greater than 4.0. This assumption of deserving even more praise and recognition, by the way, for those of you who do not know, is called a “sense of entitlement” and we are institutionalizing it. Perfect just doesn’t describe our incredibly talented youth, so we’ll just describe them as better than perfect.

 

I could be wrong, but perhaps the hiring manager who was discarding applicants with less than 4.0 GPAs was one of the 4.0 + graduates as well. Maybe that was why a 4.0 GPA was the standard.

As I have said many times before, one of my best employees was a former bank robber who had served time. Google stopped looking for high GPA applicants because they realized there just might be someone out there who makes a good employee who might have done a few other things than just studied night and day in college. By no means am I stating that 4.0 GPAs aren’t good employees; they just aren’t the only employees who can do a good job. The complaint that companies cannot find “qualified candidates” is an indicator to me that the people making that complaint are setting the bar too high, and are far too selective than what would be good for them. Expectations and reality are often quite far apart, and those complaining are often just expecting something that cannot be realized. 

 

 

Comments

Dave Volek Added Jun 15, 2018 - 8:35am
Good article Jeff
 
I think those who insist on hiring mostly on high academics are mostly justifying their own choices in college. 
 
Not all 4.0's are hard workers. Some are exceedingly bright. I used to party with some of them. They could drink me under the table and write a perfect exam the next day. And I struggled with a 2.5! 
 
I work alongside a nursing faculty. Some of the nursing students have a very busy home life (i.e. kids). I often have to coach them that once they are in the faculty, they only need to get C's to get their nursing credentials. And the instructors often say that the high marks in nursing often do not translate into who become the best nurses. 
 
I had a friend who became a pipeline engineer. This engineering field is not high status, so it has trouble finding good engineers. He says many hirees have to be trained on how to read a map.  Relating these maps to what is happening in the field is another challenge. 
 
I think industries that claim a lack of qualified help are often trying to get a subsidy from government. If an industry cannot find the experience it is looking for, then it has to train its new hires. 
Ryan Messano Added Jun 15, 2018 - 8:49am
Abraham Lincoln had a solitary year of second grade for a formal education.  Yet, because he read a lot, and didn’t engage in the typical degenerative habits today’s American is often caught up in, namely, psychotropic drugs, porn, and hellivision, he was a very wise man.
 
Due to the liberal agenda of today’s schools, the value of academic excellence has decreased tremendously.  It has gotten to the point where a college education now makes ones moral and intellectual grasp suspect.  
 
“If you educate the mind and not the morals, you create a menace to society”
Theodore Roosevelt
 
”A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education”
Theodore Roosevelt  
 
George N Romey Added Jun 15, 2018 - 8:55am
Good article Jeff. The problem is testing is about memorization not understanding. The 4.0 might be great for technical jobs but they often don’t have the ability to reason and communicate. One of society’s biggest problems is that wisdom and reasoning are no longer valued believing an Excel Spreadsheet tells all.
 
 
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 15, 2018 - 9:00am
What is not mentioned is that HR can get thousand of resumes and they use programs to reduce the stack to manageable levels.  Grade point is one of the common filters.  Sorry but that is just a fact, Jeff J..  I was laid off in 2008 and again 2014 so I had my resume in those piles.
Leroy Added Jun 15, 2018 - 9:06am
Interesting article, Jeff.
 
A 4.0 graduate, from my experience, is just as likely to be as personable as someone with a lesser GPR.  We often assume that beautiful women can't be intelligent.  I find that to be false.  To the contrary, most beautiful women I know have it all.  But, of course, there are beautiful women who use their looks to get by in life.
 
I knew a number of engineers in college who pursued a perfect GPR.  They took courses over and over until they received an "A."  They viewed GPR as a determiner of their future prospects.  I can't say that they were wrong.  All I can say is that my previous employers didn't give a damn.  I knew one engineer who started college two years before me and graduated at least two years after me pursuing his BSEE.  He was in school for at least eight years.  He had a full head of hair when he started.  He was completely bald when he finished.  He went to work for a missile manufacturer.  It always scared the hell out of me.  He is personable, however.
 
I had a colleague who had too many jobs to count.  He finally found a home at my previous employer.  He was a really smart guy but had a confrontational personality.  He was too concerned with doing the right thing.  That was enough to get him fired from every other job.
 
Some of the smartest, ablest people I have known didn't do well in college.  My roommate spent six years with his engineering degree--and barely graduated--a very smart guy and an inventor.  It's been a subject of debate whether the ablest person I have ever known ever graduated.  In my first job after college, I worked with a brilliant co-op student.  Our boss had to intervene numerous times to keep him at Georgia Tech.  I don't know if he ever graduated.  He is one of these guys who could write assembly language code as easily as someone might write an article here, and he didn't it without comments.  The code itself was documentation for him.
 
Along with GPR inflation, we have had degree inflation.  I couldn't be hired today by my previous employer because I don't have a masters.  When I started, you could rise through the ranks without a high school degree.
George N Romey Added Jun 15, 2018 - 9:14am
Steve Jobs the father of personal technology dropped out of college. Today a young man in his position would be working at a Best Buy.
 
I think Jeff did hit on something. At least when I was in college ions ago the 4.0 students often didn’t participate in activities or even have much of a social life. 
Leroy Added Jun 15, 2018 - 9:15am
I would like to add that many of those who pursued a perfect GPR were also cheaters.   In fact, I am inclined to say all.  I am not talking about the true geniuses.
 
I knew one guy who partied all the time.  He was a team wrestler who was always looking for a fight.  He was a genius.  He had a perfect GPR.  Be became a doctor.  If you come across a doctor named Mitch, don't walk; run!  He destroyed so many lives of those who tried to keep up with him.  His motto was, "Sex, drugs, and rock and roll!"  He was an ugly bastard.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 10:11am
Dave: I think industries that claim a lack of qualified help are often trying to get a subsidy from government. If an industry cannot find the experience it is looking for, then it has to train its new hires. Absolutely. We hear how few qualified people there are, but we never hear of companies instituting new training programs. Thanks for your comments Dave.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 10:15am
Thanks George. Most of the management wants it in a graph or table. I had one boss who jut wanted to make sure where the problem started, and spent almost no time resolving them, probably because he didn't want to solve the problems. I don't care where the problem started in urgent situations, we can document that after we solve the problem. I don't remember any college classes that were titled "Problem Documentation 101." Thanks for your comments George.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 10:20am
Thomas I'm in that pile myself, and have been for a long time. The filters look for "key terms" that are used to sort out resumes. All of the consultants will tell you that you need to get those "key" terms in in your resume all the time. I never put a GPA on my resume, even though I had a perfect record in graduate school. Thanks for the comments Thomas.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 10:23am
Great comments Leroy. Yes, we have grade inflation and degree inflation as well. Pretty soon you won't be able to drive a bus without a bachelor's degree. One of my best friends is presently in that very situation. Employers need to look for personality as well as brains. Thanks for your comments Leroy.
Katharine Otto Added Jun 15, 2018 - 11:06am
Jeff,
That manager who required a high GPA just to look either had more resumes than he could handle, as Thomas mentioned, or was as narrow-minded as a needle and would be a terror to work for.  It's unfortunate that so many people use GPAs and standardized test scores to make hiring decisions.  It seems most jobs need special training, anyway, for the specific job, even if you have the basic credentials.
 
If I were in a hiring position, I would look for versatility, competence, reliability, honesty, willingness to learn, and attitude, none of which show on GPA.  
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 11:22am
Katherine, exactly my point. Yes, GPAs reflect diligence and commitment, but they are not the be-all and end-all of selection. Thanks for your comments.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 15, 2018 - 11:39am
Jeff excellent post.  
 
Part of the issue here is if an HR department is hiring, they have to provide "objective" measures to support their decisions. They cant use subjective ones.   Moreover,, most of them are quite unfamiliar with actual skills needed in the job.
 
But if I was going to find a good employee, GPA would be a curiosity. It would have more to do with character. 
 
That 2.4 out of high school got me into a scholarship to an Ivy league college because of my SAT scores and that 2.3 out of college got me into graduate  school because of the impression my teachers had when i took graduate courses as an undergrad.   After graduate school,  I now work in a field where no one cares what your GPA was or even if you got a degree.  They only care if you can produce and are pleasant to work with, some of them dont even care about that.
 
Mustafa  
 
 
 
George N Romey Added Jun 15, 2018 - 11:44am
For college grads that haven’t done much in life there’s just the GPA. Unfortunately business has been smitten with the belief that a high school grad only is a useless human being. Therefore young people take on tens of thousands in debt to get a degree that is not a good return. Yet without that degree they end up in the minimum wage jobs. Sadly this situation is only getting worse.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 11:45am
Same here, Mustafa. I scored well on the ACT, and then on the Praxis II graduate school admission test, I scored 188 out of 200, the upper 15% of all who took it. After seeing the Praxis score, grad school didn't care less what my GPA was. As mentioned in the essay, someone with a 4.0 might be a terrible person to work with, and willing to throw anyone under the bus in order to make themself look good. Thanks for your comment Mustafa.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 12:09pm
Yes, George, not all of us are cut out for software engineering jobs. What amazes me is some of the sloppy things I read written by people who aren't good at explaining things and are probably making very good money. As DaVinci said, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" but I don't see a lot of that. Thanks for your comments George.
Dino Manalis Added Jun 15, 2018 - 1:44pm
 No one and nothing's perfect, we strive for perfection!
Pardero Added Jun 15, 2018 - 3:39pm
Jeff Jackson,
This subject is not on my radar, but you covered very well, and got some knowledgable comments.
Well done.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 6:30pm
Thanks Dino. Perfection is hard to come by, and some live very frustrating lives trying to achieve it.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 15, 2018 - 6:35pm
Thanks Pardero. I just ran across this accomplished genius (although those were not mentioned in his article) who tosses out less than perfect GPAs as job candidates. I fail to see his reasoning, and said as much in the essay. Thanks for your comments.
Tamara Wilhite Added Jun 15, 2018 - 11:32pm
I can think of problems the high GPA expectation sets up.
One would be filtering out people who worked their way through school and thus have real life experience,  often in the same industry. But the mechanic who has become an engineer or nursing assistant who is now an RN has the experience employers crave plus the credential. Oh, and they know your industry and may know the company. Not hiring up the ranks is a mistake.
If he's going by GPA for applicants who graduated 20 years ago, the 3.0 then is worth a 3.5-4.0 now due to grade inflation.
If he's just going by GPA and generic degrees, he could end up hiring people with a 4.0 in grievance degrees over people 3.0 in a challenging, serious degree like engineering. Which one do you want working in your HR IT role?
It also opens the door to filtering out great candidates who made mistakes before finding a fit. If they bombed out of engineering but found success in business, is he going to ban the 2.9 GPA holder though they have a 4.0 in subsequent classes?
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 16, 2018 - 12:02am
Great points Tamara. Not all of us have had the luxury of having nothing to do but study while in college. My last year in college (for degree number one, that is) I had three part-time jobs, one of them 7 days a week. Some colleges have "weed-out" courses, which are courses that have high failure rates, though few colleges would admit that. Not hiring up the ranks is almost always a mistake, but some of the firms where I have worked claim to promote from within, while consistently finding reasons not to do so. Thanks for your comments Tamara.
opher goodwin Added Jun 16, 2018 - 7:12am
Some of the most intelligent people I have come across have been the most incompetent. Some of them are positively dangerous and some are unemployable.
I had a boss who would reject people purely on appearance - if they had a pony-tail they had no chance. One rejected applicants on spelling and presentation. One mistake, one bit of scruffiness and you were out. My old man rejected people on a racial basis.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 16, 2018 - 10:24am
Yes Opher, I've seen those folks who are so smart they take ordinary situations and create dangerous situations in their place. I met a bank official once who was not allowed to touch very many files; they had the conversation, but someone else entered everything into the computer, and it was because they were downright dangerous entering things into the system. I always wear suits and ties to interviews, I would never think of wearing anything else, but I hear of interviewees not even shaving before they go to an interview.
I have, on occasion, noted to potential employers misspelled words or incorrect words on their job descriptions in their job ads. I am told that in some instances, one error on a resume means you're summarily rejected. I have done the same with employers; if they're that sloppy, it's probably not a nice place to work. Thanks for your comments Opher.
Michael B. Added Jun 16, 2018 - 10:26am
For some reason, I'm reminded of what German German Kurt von Hammerstein-Equard had to say:
 
"I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 16, 2018 - 3:47pm
Interesting quote Michael. GPAs, unfortunately, do not always reflect intellect. I agree the stupid and diligent are dangerous, because they will "do their duty" without the ability to project (an aspect of IQ, incidentally) what will happen, so "doing their duty" usually ends up disastrous. I think we've all seen those folks in authority who "do their duty" and only make more of a mess than ever needed to be. Thanks for your comments Michael.
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 16, 2018 - 4:41pm
Michael B.
 
I read almost the same description in Rommel's Letters. 
His only difference was that the stupid and diligent are dangerous and they need to be gotten rid of. 


The second I read it, it made sense. Maybe it was a WW2 German thing.
 
Mustafa
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 16, 2018 - 10:47pm
Creative Genius is what companies are looking for, but they don't recognize it even when it is staring right at them.
 
I have many patents and worked in R and D along with some of the smartest people in the world while at a large Semiconductor Firm.  I also guided management when they couldn't see the forest for the trees.  
 
It was not unusual at all to see creative genius types get fired for inane reasons.  These people are less than 1% of the population and often do not have advanced degrees.   Many were/are college drop outs.
 
How many monkeys typing on a typewriter will create a Shakespearean sonnet?  Answer:  None
 
Synergy can happen in teams, but you need that one genius to create ferment and point the way for those normies who cannot quite get there.  If the other's get jealous, then that becomes a management intervention.  
 
Katharine Otto Added Jun 17, 2018 - 12:56pm
Mefobills,
I wonder if creative genius fits into corporate structure.  The "creative geniuses" I can think of started their own companies, people like Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, or Bill Gates. 
 
If they weren't creative geniuses themselves, they knew how to find and promote them.  You might argue that Rockefeller's "genius" was in the strategy of partnerships, and that Carnegie's was in attaching himself to people who could help him, plus an ability to sell himself.
 
It seems that as companies grow, they get stodgy and jealous of upstarts who threaten their bosses' and co-workers' egos.  
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 17, 2018 - 2:13pm
MEFOBILLS I'm with you. Lots of creative people have no place in the corporate workplace, with, the obvious exceptions as in advertising and the like, where creativity is cherished. I think nit seeing the forest for the trees is indeed often the case.
George N Romey Added Jun 17, 2018 - 2:21pm
Even in advertising creativeness has been replaced by bait and click algorithms. Most of the old guard has been shoved out by the techies.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 17, 2018 - 2:26pm
Great point Katherine, and allow me to offer an example. That Harvard graduate, excuse me, dropout Bill Gates. While having a commanding lead in the tech sector, Gates allowed many startups to eat Microsoft's lunch, and eat it they did. The internet, cell phones, the apps and games all of which Microsoft could have gained a great advantage, were all initially ignored, much to the detriment of Microsoft. Microsoft has since changed its strategy. Since new management took over Microsoft in 2014, they have been involved in more than 50 mergers and acquisitions. Far too late, in my opinion, but the jury is still out on than one.
Bill liked sitting on all of the cash. But cash in corporations, when not used to pay fair wages to their employees, is for investment. Thanks for your comments.
 
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 17, 2018 - 9:52pm
That's very true George. The gigantic advertising firms are losing revenue by the millions. The jobs of copywriters are disappearing as digital advertising takes over. Google and the others have disrupted an industry that prided itself as being in control and almost unstoppable. This is more of the Digital Age taking over. Thanks for your comments George, always insightful.
Ari Silverstein Added Jun 18, 2018 - 3:19pm
If a hiring manager discards every applicant with below a 3.0 grade point, he or she would be losing out on some really good candidates.  However, if that same hiring manager included those with below a 3.0 average, he would receive a lot more resumes, many of which won’t be very good.  So if a hiring manager receives thousands of applications for a position, it makes total sense to have standards such as GPA average. 
 
After weeding out resumes based on grade point average or other standards, the hiring manager can then weed them out based on the other things you mentioned in your article. 
 
However, if a hiring manager only received a few resumes for a job posting, it would make no sense to weed a bunch out based on low GPA.  If this were to happen, everything you wrote about in this article would be true. 
 
My advice to all hiring manager is to really focus on location the applicant resides.  An employee with a short commute to work is going to be much more difficult to steal away or hire on the cheap, than one who has to commute a long distance.
MEFOBILLS Added Jun 18, 2018 - 3:30pm
re from Katharine,

I wonder if creative genius fits into corporate structure.  The "creative geniuses" I can think of started their own companies, people like Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, or Bill Gates. 
 
They don't really fit, but they are crucial.  Management is often filled with peter-principle types, who were promoted up so they could do no damage.  The genius at lower levels is then fired because dullard managers are incapable of seeing talent.  The genius type is often irascible and doesn't take fools lightly.  
 
Think of it like this, if you brain starts malfunctioning, then the body soon follows.  Well run companies have managers at the top that are able to find and keep talent.  
 
All of that said, if the genius steps over the line into ass-hole territory, you have to fire him anyway.  There is a book called the ass-hole rules, the premise of which is that one bad apple will rot the whole barrel.  
 
So, really it boils down to management ... they have to find the talent and then keep it.  HR people are incapable of this task.
George N Romey Added Jun 18, 2018 - 9:35pm
Without a doubt it’s the cheerleaders that get promoted because they validate and cheer on what’s being sold-often a load of crap.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 18, 2018 - 10:50pm
Thanks Ari.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 18, 2018 - 10:51pm
MEFOBILLS-the book you are referring to is The No *sshole Rule, by Robert I. Sutton. I have a copy of it in my extensive library. Thanks for your comments.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 18, 2018 - 10:54pm
George, looks like we've both been exposed to the "shameless self promotion" coworker, who takes credit for everything that goes well and separates from anything that remotely looks like it might work, and just about the time when it nears success, they insist that they knew it and were working on it the whole time. Love those guys. Thanks for your comments George.
Ward Tipton Added Jun 19, 2018 - 12:29am
Somebody hands me a college degree these days and I carefully weigh the benefits of daring to hire them, lest they should demand a safe space or demand free speech and opposing viewpoints be made illegal ... or worse yet, be traumatized by chalk markings. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 19, 2018 - 7:54am
Ward, that probably won't happen if the degree holder is over the age of 45. Thanks for your comments.
Ward Tipton Added Jun 19, 2018 - 8:39am
Jeff Jackson,
 
I did say I would weigh the benefits. Yes, there are certainly exceptions. While my family was horrified by the (lack of) quality of the public educational institutions I attended before the introduction of the DepEd by Carter, while it may have been lacking, it was not nearly as bad as it is now. Over 45 would probably also give me much more indication than a simple degree would as well though. I would imagine by that time, they would have at least some work experience ... but if they did not ... well ... yeah, there are always exceptions. I concur. 
Don Allen Added Jun 19, 2018 - 4:28pm
Very good article.  In my experience, looking for someone to fit in is very important.  As well, I look for someone who’s not just looking to earn some money while looking for a better job.  Overqualified is not a good sign.  In looking for someone innovative, you must be lucky.  It’s difficult to determine anything without a personal interview. Even then, you must be lucky.
 
The 4.0 student is usually someone that works hard, can learn and often work independently, and doesn’t require that much supervision.
 
In admitting grad students, the GPR is very important.  Personality? Many are kind of “off top dead center,” anyway. However, I did admit a 4.0 student from UC Berkeley.  This person was perfectly stupid but approached grades as something to be argued for relentlessly. I guess it works at Berkeley. 
 
A modern trend among many is the feeling that employment confers entitlement.  Not good. A low GPR is an indicator, though not perfect.  Some folks take a sick day every time one is earned. Measuring previous job attendance records is important.
 
So many factors are involved. You never really know.
 
Luther Wu Added Jun 19, 2018 - 4:33pm
Jeff, That was a great read, many thanks.
I have sometimes been in discussions with people who were making hiring decisions for their own enterprises and three incidents stand out.
 
The first was a remark by a man rationalizing his employment of illegals, who said he had to resort to hiring illegals because he could not find American workers for hire at any price.
I asked him what price was he offering. His eyes narrowed and he only replied, "It doesn't matter what I pay." I asked him again, "What salary are you offering"? This time, with reddened face and anger in his eyes (he knew he'd been caught out,) he said, "I just told you, it doesn't matter what I pay".
I simply turned and walked away. I don't easily suffer fools and liars among fellow professionals upon whom I might have to rely for their services.
 
The second was by a man who operates an employment agency of sorts, more accurately, he's a headhunter and he remarked about a prospective client who had been invited to take one of those tests that HR types employ. The applicant had scored so high in every segment of the test series, that the agency head remarked that he had never seen such high scores and didn't previously know that such scores were possible. 
What followed was stunning. The head hunter said that he had decided to not pursue that client further. He said that such brilliance should have led him through a history of employment at far greater capacity than what he had so far achieved and that there might be some greater flaw, unrevealed.
I didn't exactly find that logic impenetrable, but thought his decision was exceedingly shortsighted and ill informed, if not outright prejudicial.
 
The third, came from a man who was starting a new venture in a nearby town and at a social gathering, he mentioned that the sort of employee he most hoped would walk through his doors was an older craftsman, even of retirement age, who might be slower and less able in some ways, compared to eager young men, but would be prone to achieve the results he was looking for. His business thrives, perhaps a decade and a half, later. Smart dude.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 19, 2018 - 10:04pm
Many thanks Mr. Wu. I love that the man doesn't want to reveal pay. That said it all. When they can't talk about it, you know they're not willing to face the truth. To your headhunter who "created" a flaw that might not have existed. Maybe the person with the impeccable score had never been given many opportunities. I know someone like that. It also could be that the person in question solved too many problems and earned resentment from colleagues. I know someone like that as well. When you solve too many problems, you gain resentment. Been there, done that. I think we need at least a few more of that last successful person. Great examples of real-life, which I love to bring to this website. Many thanks again Mr. Wu.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 19, 2018 - 10:16pm
Mr. Allen, very interesting points. Yes, I know some 4.0 folks that argued with the prof every time they received a grade less than 4.0, and many times the prof just capitulated rather than argue. I had a law class where I was 2nd highest on the midterm and 9th highest on the final, the top 10% of the class, and got a "B." When  I went to talk to the prof he said I should feel lucky I got a "B" because he didn't really think I deserved it. With all of the grade inflation, a 4.0 has lost its significance, and the people promoting the grade inflation have no understanding of the impact of their actions. They think they're better than anyone before them, and they deserve it. This is "entitlement."
My job attendance in my last four jobs was perfect. I have to be very sick to call off. It doesn't happen often, never did. the same goes for school. In my last two degrees, I never missed a day, however I was late one day because of jury duty. I consider a job an obligation.
As I have mentioned, my grad entrance test score was high enough that GPA hardly mattered. Thanks for your comments Mr. Allen.