Hiring Preferences (was "Programming partnership wanted")

Sean Kirkby skirkby at concentrico.net
Tue Mar 29 23:32:18 MST 2005

Just because someone doesn't vocalize doesn't mean they don't have a
position.  Someone may be offended, yet silent.
But I do, so I will... sorry, it's a little long.
I don't see how saying "I prefer to work with Mormons" is equal to "I
have a policy of refusing to hire people who are not Mormon."
Suppose I prefer to work with people who don't stink.
Generally, people who smoke stink.  (To me, anyway.)
If it were my preference to work with people who don't stink, and I
were hiring, and two candidates were presented that could do the work,
and one smoked, and stank, I'd likely hire the other one.  Maybe.  To
further extrapolate, I might say that I prefer to interview people who
are LDS because there is a very high likelihood that they don't smoke
(though I can't say it guarantees that they don't stink).  And that
could save me a lot of time.  And time is money.  (Then again, such a
preference could seriously shrink my potential hiring pool, so maybe
that preference could work against me.)
Suppose I also prefer to work with people who are most likely to be
their sharpest on any given day - that could be considered a shrewd
business advantage.  And generally, people who regularly kill brain
cells with alcohol and drugs are more likely to perform at less than
their sharpest.  Generally.  And again, I might say that I prefer to
interview people who are Mormon because there is a very high likelihood
that they don't use alcohol or narcotics regularly, if ever (though I
can't say it guarantees that they will be all that sharp).
Google likes to hire people with high IQ's (for certain positions).  I
don't know if they actually make you take an IQ test, but they do things
akin to it.  And some might argue that high IQ (or lower IQ) is the
result of a lifestyle choice.  Their characteristics are a result of
their lifestyle.  Should they be discriminated against just because they
are stupid?  Why should Google narrow their candidate pool by only
granting second interviews to people who have a brain?  Probably because
they prefer people who like to learn, or who sport a personal culture of
continuing education.  (How might they feel about adherents to a
religion that overtly teaches its young men that they should obtain as
much education as possible, then?)

I might even say "I prefer to hire people who have long range career
plans that mesh with what I want - I don't prefer to hire people who
want raises, or who feel like they might some day be in a leadership
position in my firm.  Or people who think that they would like to own
their own business some day."
Generally, I don't like to work with people that I don't like.  (Is
that bad?  Or illegal?  I only ask because now-a-days, you never
I think I read a study about how people with a belief in God are
generally happier, and more productive at work, and live longer.  Three
qualities that I might prefer in my employees.  If there is a
relationship between these qualities and a belief in God, wouldn't it be
good business to say "I prefer to hire people who believe in God"?  What
if there isn't such a relationship, but I THINK that there is?
If a Chinese restaurant wants to gain a competitive advantage by
creating a truly authentic atmosphere, should they be shackled into
hiring a fat 6'3" white guy with great big ugly round eyes, like me, to
wait tables?  If their business plan says that they will succeed by
truly transporting patrons into an authentic Chinese dining atmosphere? 
If they had a choice between Dolph Lundgren
(http://www.dolphlundgren.com) and Jet Li (http://jetli.com), and both
could wait tables, would it be wrong of them to say "We choose Jet Li,
because we prefer to have Chinese waiters."?
I am not an expert on such matters (yet), so I don't know if such
preferences would get one into trouble, if they were preferences (and
not policies).
My $0.025.

>>> jcoates at archive.org 3/29/2005 8:36:54 PM >>>

>I think what he was trying to say was "no one can claim that he only
>hires LDS  because most of his employees aren't".

yes, i know what exactly what he was trying to say.  my point is,
that's a
nice rationale and all, but he can tell that to the judge and see how
goes. ;-)

>Also, company size is a factor

the federal law stipulates a 15 employee minimum, but most state laws
in the gap with more specific laws that address the minimum employee
obligatory disclaimer: IANAL

>Thanks for the "free clue".  You must be a hiring genious!

um...no problem - but this is pretty basic stuff covered in every
hiring training course.  it's kind of an ethical no-brainer that you
run around saying "i'm looking to hire some people, btw - did i mention
i like to hire based on [gender,age,religion,race] ?"

and i guess what i am really irritated by is the original "i like to
mormons" comment anyway (not that i have anything against mormons -
not the point), and on top of that you don't seem to really understand
care that it's offensive.  but then again, maybe i'm the only one that
noticed and/or was bothered by it.

Josh Coates

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