Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is It Easier to Hire Good Workers During a Recession?

Dare I say the word “Recession?” In the late-1970s, Alfred Kahn who was Jimmy Carter’s chief economic advisor used this word in one of his discussions with the press. He was quickly summoned to the White House for a wood-shed moment and abandoned the word. He replaced it with the word banana even singing the song, “Yes we have no bananas, we have no bananas today.”

Now assuming that we could be in for one big banana, how does this affect the hiring process? It would seem that with more people looking for work, good people would be easier to find.

Many job candidates in 2008 may be looking for a new position because they are facing serious financial problems, some may be facing foreclosure, and some may have less than excellent credit reports. A lot of times candidates are automatically disqualified because of their credit rating. The truth is that many people are in trouble because of circumstances, not irresponsibility. For example, it could be the housing meltdown, it could be a serious illness in their family, it could be that they started a business that didn’t work out. It is better to judge applicants not by their credit report but by their work-related attitudes.

Are they entitled versus unassuming?
Are they adversarial versus accommodating?
Are they egocentric versus people oriented?
Are they judgmental versus accepting?
Are they vindictive versus forgiving?
Are they insubordinate versus respectful?
Are they undisciplined versus self-disciplined?

Overall, there is not much good about a recession but there are tools to help the interviewer in these challenging times. The Workplace Attitudes Test looks at several of the attitudes listed above, and more. See:

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