In Just how good are your references anyway? I suggested that we might all raise our standards by applying the extreme methods that President-elect Obama is using to screen candidates for cabinet positions.
Reader Lucille asked if I was being sarcastic and titaniumtux pointed out that I’m the guy who suggests withholding salary history information. So what gives? Should the hiring process now include a proctological exam?
I admit that I am trying to prod everyone into discussing this. The President-elect’s candidate-review process is extreme, and maybe it needs to be. I do believe, as someone said, that it’s more political than practical. When you become a cabinet member, you give your life up to the role. When you take a job, you’re devoting your professional time to it, not your life. Does an employer deserve more than just that part of your life?
Only if they’re willing to compensate you for it.
There is probably some level of compensation you’d be willing to take in exchange for a top-level role in some organization. But should HR subject people to the kind of intense scrutiny that has become common? I think it’s common because HR can now easily outsource ridiculous levels of background-checking. HR behaves like the proverbial jet pilot at 50,000 feet pushing a button that releases a bomb that will drastically affect thousands of lives far below – it’s all too easy. “Hey, I just pushed a button. I didn’t fire any gun.” HR finds a comfortable distance from the act and claims it’s just doing its job.
You need to think about this because in the current job market, employers will feel empowered to subject you to all sorts of indignities. Decide now how far you will let yourself be pushed.
And employers should decide how much they’re willing to pay for extreme levels of compliance from job applicants. What is full disclosure worth?
In back-to-back editions of the Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, I raised a bigger question: Does HR go too far when screening candidates? Comments from readers were astonishing. But the best was one savvy reader’s method for avoiding trouble when the HR department goes too far in screening candidates. He has come up with a way to protect his privacy that also helps him “weed out the lookers from the serious bidders.”
Here’s my disclosure: I am not being considered for any cabinet posts, nor would I subject myself to that kind of scrutiny. Unless the money were right. Or if my doctor ordered the exam.