Weed out Foolish Candidates and Erase More Headaches

Foolishness is rarely a matter of lack of intelligence or even lack of information. – John McCarthy

For just a moment, I have to step back and say, “Seriously?”

I believe we’re a fair employer.  We do our level best to find the right person to fit each position and we attempt to hire nothing but thoroughbreds.  (Incidentally, other thoroughbreds dislike working with donkeys.)  We tend to compensate at or above market based wages.  When possible, we put rewards-based compensation plans in place and provide opportunities for self-education. We celebrate when a team member outgrows us and moves on to bigger and better things.  We’re not Google but we do our best to create a warm inviting place to work.  Mostly, we care.  But we do have rules and we expect they are followed.

Given this, why should we, after have a full week off for Christmas (much deserved and earned I might add) have to face a team member who after limping though the week of New Years with barely-made deadlines and half-ass showing in the work place, be faced with that very same team member deciding to not show to work on January 5th.  Adding insult to injury, we received a 9:09 notice by e-mail that he was sick. On January 6th, he was a complete no show.   We sent text messages, e-mails, and a team member even stopped by his house to check on him,  still received no reply.

We assumed he quit, wouldn’t you?  That night we invoked our security policies regarding passwords and such, moved his desk, and heck, I even switched his monitor with one of mine so I could have a matching pair (I dislike when my monitors don’t match…yeah, the O.C.D. still rears its head).  So, it surprised me when at the end of our weekly marketing meeting Jon said, “Wouldn’t be funny if ‘he’ showed up to the office today?”  Yeah, right.

Son of a gun, when we walked into the office, wasn’t he sitting there, looking confused as to why his desk was gone.  He must have been there for 30 minutes because we held our meeting off premises (another writer downer by the way).  We brought him into the office, and I looked at him and said, “What are you doing here, I thought you quit?” He had nothing to say other than “I didn’t quit”.  I said “did you call off sick?” He said “no”.  I said “did you let anyone know, on our team, in any way, that you wouldn’t be in and did you receive all of our worried about your well-being communications to you?”  He said “No, I didn’t let anyone know, I completely cut off communication and yes, did see that everyone checked in with me”.  He said it as if it was all OK, as if this was somehow a normal response and that his actions were without fault.  Seriously?

I then went as far as to point out in the employee hand book that he signed where we address this code of conduct breach. He admitted understanding that this behavior was unacceptable.  I asked him if he was unhappy working for us, he said “No, he loved it here”.

Seriously?  I give up.

We fired him, period.  What can I blame it on, youth, nurture, laziness, society?  It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is, the world is rife with this type of behavior.  It just reminds me, it’s so much easier to win today than ever before.  For the record, this young man does not come from a position of means, he lives on his own with roommates and to my knowledge we were his only form of income.  Mind boggling.

We had to replace this unfortunate representative of today’s youth.  OK, we decide we will not allow this to happen again and we post a new ad.  It has all my normal bells and whistles and hoops the prospective team member must jump though and at the end, we require they call a phone number to give us an example us how they communicate.  The ad ran for a week, we had over 50 applicants and guess how many people followed the instructions?  Two.  Yep, two people who applied actually called the phone number.  Seriously?

So, I figured there must be something wrong with the ad, so I changed it and I put this statement, just as it reads with asterisks and all at the top:

**You will have to call the number at the bottom of this ad to apply. In order to be considered for this position we must hear how you communicate***

I thought for sure this would do the trick, right?  Well, about a dozen more people applied and guess what, only ONE left a voicemail. Seriously?  As a matter of a fact I just conducted his initial phone interview.  He’s asking for about 50% more than we expected to pay and we’ll probably find some middle ground.  He assured me, he’d show up for work…

Here’s the point folks, it’s easier to win than ever these days.  Work hard, live right, find something to believe in and you’ll beat 90% of the people you compete against.  You might not think that attorneys don’t act in this manner but think again, they’re out there and you’re competing against them.

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