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Obama vs. The Job, Redux

Well DJ's gone and thrown a hanging curve in my wheelhouse with his item down below. I've been a professional recruiter in agencies (~5 years) and on the corporate side (~9 years), so I know a thing or two about interviewing and hiring. Voters would come away with a better feel for a candidate's suitability for office after one hour of questioning from me than they would if they watched ten moderated debates.

There are indeed many managers who are afraid of making hiring decisions. A bad hire costs time and money. It reflects poorly on the hirer - I'm looking at you fifty-some-odd percent of voters whose children will be taxed at a 60% rate. Then the entire process must be repeated. Without a sense of what to look for as an indicator of future success in potential employees how does an untrained interviewer make the right decision?

Science, ubiquitous as it is, has given us a solution to this eternal question - the behavioral interview. The best indicator of an individual's potential to thrive in a new position is their past behavior. So you identify several functional, technical, and behavioral requirements, then create a questionnaire that allows you to score each candidate based on their behavioral indicators. Situation, task, actions, result. The candidate can clearly articulate their actions or they can't.

By grading every candidate based on the same pre-identified criteria you can ensure consistent, quantifiable, and - as is important in the world of HR - fair results. Plus it's a lot more fun and interactive than just having them recite the collection of career highlights and buzzwords that are on their resume. I don't even look at the resume when I'm interviewing anymore. Just imagine how much we'd have known about our presidential candidates if they'd been asked some questions like these:

There are times when we work without close supervision or support to get the job done. Tell us about a time when you found yourself in such a situation and how things turned out.

What is the riskiest decision you have made? What was the situation? What happened?

Developing and using a detailed procedure is often very important in a job. Tell about a time when you needed to develop and use a detailed procedure to successfully complete a project.

Tell me about a time when you demonstrated too much initiative.

Describe a time when you took personal accountability for a conflict and initiated contact with the individual(s) involved to explain your actions.

Give an example of a time in which you had to come to a decision quickly.

What was the biggest mistake you have had when delegating work? The biggest success?

What are some of the major decisions you have made over the past (6, 12, 18) months?

Sometimes it is essential that we break out of the routine, standardized way of doing things in order to complete the task. Give an example of when you were able to successfully develop such a new approach.

On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace. Tell about such an occurrence and how you handled it.

Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?

Describe the most challenging negotiation in which you were involved. What did you do? What were the results for you? What were the results for the other party?

Tell us about a time when you took responsibility for an error and were held personally accountable.

Tell us about a time when you used your leadership ability to gain support for what initially had strong opposition.

What do you consider to be the most urgent crisis situation you were required to manage? How did you prioritize? What was the outcome?

Have you ever been caught unaware by a problem or obstacles that you had not foreseen? What happened?

Can you recall a time when you were less than pleased with your performance?

When have you had to produce results without sufficient guidelines? Give an example.

Tell us about a time when you anticipated the future and made changes to current responsibilities/operations to meet future needs.

On many occasions, managers have to make tough decisions. What was the most difficult one you have had to make?

No where for campaign rhetoric and teleprompters to hide there. I wouldn't hire a friggin' sales manager without hitting him with 8-10 of those questions, but we elect a president based on inanities asked by Gwen Imus and the leather Muppet looking dude. You'd better dazzle me with brilliance because you're not going to baffle me with bs. I've seen it before. I've heard it all. Don't insult me by trying.

Especially if you're a public figure and your behavioral indicators are pretty well documented. WYSIWYG.

So it's no surprise that voters, not having pre-determined a set of key performance indicators and lacking access to interactively address questions to the candidates, make uninformed hiring decisions. Of course, when the game become R vs. D any concept of informed decision making is as common as a shaved armpit at a Code Pink rally.


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Comments (25)

It's reassuring to know tha... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

It's reassuring to know that you, Baron, are smarter than the voters.

Next time, we won't bother holding an an election. We'll just ask you, a corporate recruiter and a blogger on Wizbang, to interview the candidates. If you say they're OK, we'll install them in their respective jobs.

That ought to work.

And Obama's answers are in ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

And Obama's answers are in Bold

There are times when we work without close supervision or support to get the job done. Tell us about a time when you found yourself in such a situation and how things turned out.

I got elected President. The country went into a 5 year recession.


What is the riskiest decision you have made?
What was the situation? What happened?

I had to throw my Chicago preacher under the bus. I was getting too much heat from the white folks for listening to him. He forgave me for a piece of the stimulus pie.

Developing and using a detailed procedure is often very important in a job. Tell about a time when you needed to develop and use a detailed procedure to successfully complete a project.

Swindling money for ACORN.


Tell me about a time when you demonstrated too much initiative.

Became a father - twice.

Describe a time when you took personal accountability for a conflict and initiated contact with the individual(s) involved to explain your actions.

I nominated tax cheats to my cabinet and then I threatened them to back out when they were found out by the press.


Give an example of a time in which you had to come to a decision quickly.

Michelle said "/yawn Are you finished yet?"

What was the biggest mistake you have had when delegating work? The biggest success?

Letting others pick my cabinet choices.
Letting Pelosi and Reid write the Stimulus bill.

What are some of the major decisions you have made over the past (6, 12, 18) months?

I decided to look for a door handle before I try to walk through a window.
The model of my teleprompter.
Making sure that my suits match my teleprompter.


Sometimes it is essential that we break out of the routine, standardized way of doing things in order to complete the task. Give an example of when you were able to successfully develop such a new approach.

Destroying the country's economy by stimulating it and calling it a recovery plan.


On occasion we are confronted by dishonesty in the workplace. Tell about such an occurrence and how you handled it.

Well I know a lot of tax cheats.
I nominated them for my cabinet.


Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?

Yes.
I told them that I won.
Well they didnt accept my ideas but I got the votes I needed for the bill to pass.


Describe the most challenging negotiation in which you were involved. What did you do? What were the results for you? What were the results for the other party?

Having my aides pick out my teleprompter.
I choose the big, shiny one.
Great. I can see better.
I fired the aide that selected the smaller one.


Tell us about a time when you took responsibility for an error and were held personally accountable.

Tom Daschle. I fired him.

Tell us about a time when you used your leadership ability to gain support for what initially had strong opposition.

Harry Reid said he doesnt work for me.
I bribed him with earmarks.


What do you consider to be the most urgent crisis situation you were required to manage? How did you prioritize? What was the outcome?

Again, picking my teleprompter.
I chose the bigger one.
I can see the words better now.


Have you ever been caught unaware by a problem or obstacles that you had not foreseen? What happened?

ummu umm ummm ummm Yes the questions you are asking now.
I am winging it.
The democrats still love me.

Can you recall a time when you were less than pleased with your performance?

No but Michelle says she is displeased all the time with my performance.

When have you had to produce results without sufficient guidelines? Give an example.

Umm that is too personal. You have to ask Michelle if I can talk about that.


Tell us about a time when you anticipated the future and made changes to current responsibilities/operations to meet future needs.

I joined a church that would give me political cover for 20 years.


On many occasions, managers have to make tough decisions. What was the most difficult one you have had to make?

The red teleprompter or the blue one. I love both colors.

BruceRef post number... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce
Ref post number 1.

THey cant do any worse than what we have now.

Another stellar contributio... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Another stellar contribution to the running commentary brought to you by Bruce Henry.

You were even the first one to post, and this was the best you had in you?

Perhaps if some of these questions were posed to Obama's cabinet members, he'd look just a smidgen less like the incompetent boob he has made himself out to be.

Hey Bruce, sometimes you ju... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Hey Bruce, sometimes you just can't fix stupid. The Brits used to say that "God takes care of fools and Americans". Guess he was taking the day off on Nov 4th. If nothing else, it at least show's He has a sense of humor. A little twisted, perhaps, but a sense of humor none the less.

Bruce,I just want ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Bruce,

I just want to ask the questions, the voters could then make their own informed decisions. Not to brag, but I'm a lot better at my job than any stooge you'll ever see moderating some charade of a debate.

Have you had a negative experience using behavioral interview techniques? I'm curious which of the questions I picked you believe wouldn't be useful in determining a person's suitability to be POTUS.

Bruce,And as one o... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Bruce,

And as one of our resident dissenting voices, I take it from the tone of your comment you don't believe Obama would have fared too well if questioned by a skilled behavioral interviewer...

Hey guys, take it easy on B... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Hey guys, take it easy on Bruce. He's been dishing it out for several years now. Going to take him a while to shift gears now that The Omnipotent One is at the helm. You know the one, "clean, bright, articulate". Has a VAST amount of executive experience.

We might even see some of that one day. Maybe.

Ain't holding my breath on ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Ain't holding my breath on that one, Garandfan...

No offense to those who swe... (Below threshold)

No offense to those who swear by the behavioral interview but asking about what a person has done in the past is only valuable to the extent that it can provide some insight into what that person will do and how they will perform in their new position in the future. In my 30+ years of interviewing and hiring people, and living with both the good hires and the bad, I am more interested in finding out how the person plans to go about their new job. Do we share a vision as to what we want the organization to do and how we want to get there? Do we agree on how resources should be utilized? Do we agree on the right way and the wrong way to accomplish our goals? Do I see them fitting in with the people they're going to be working with (as opposed to trying to figure out how well they worked with the people at their old employer)? Do we agree on appropriate rewards for accomplishing the goal and the timetables for doing so?

And the same holds true in voting for a President. I want to know what the candidate wants to do and how he plans on getting there and I care less about how he got along with their colleagues while in the Senate or how he handled not getting his way. My not liking Obama has nothing to do with any of the answers he would have given during a behavioral interview and everything to do with what he declared he wanted to do once he became President. Those interviews are great for filling staff positions and hiring 'managers' but, in my experience, not so great when you're trying to find a true leader.

Very few people voted for O... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Very few people voted for Obama himself. They voted for the positive media caricature over the negative one.

Every time he makes a speech, they should change the music out from "Hail to The Chief."

"Nearer My God to Thee" would be more appropriate.

Relax, loyal conservative W... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Relax, loyal conservative Wizbangers. That's what I do. You should thank me. It gives you something to say besides, "Me, too!"

I also wanted to poke some fun at conservatives who keep screaming that people should be "trusted with their own money," given "choice" on where to school their children, be allowed to carry concealed weapons, etc., while simultaneously claiming the voters were hoodwinked by "Obamessiah." Are the people smart enough to choose their own leaders or not? If not, why should we let 'em carry a hogleg into a 7/11?

By the way, RM, that was a clever and funny comment in # 2.

Bruce"I also wante... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce

"I also wanted to poke some fun at conservatives who keep screaming that people should be "trusted with their own money," given "choice" on where to school their children, be allowed to carry concealed weapons, etc., while simultaneously claiming the voters were hoodwinked by "Obamessiah." Are the people smart enough to choose their own leaders or not? If not, why should we let 'em carry a hogleg into a 7/11?

"

Did you kinda have a brain fart on this comment?

After all
The people who wanted to be trusted with their own money,
homeschool their own children, and
carry concealed weapons,

ARE THE ONES WHO MOST LIKELY DIDNT VOTE FOR OBAMA.

I think you made the convservative viewpoint precisely.


steve,In one hour ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

steve,

In one hour I could coach an applicant to bullshit their way through your kind of interview. Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words. Which was the point of the OP - for 18 months Obama (abetted by the media) covered up his past actions and sold America a bullshit vision of moderate, post-racial and post partisan centrist government.

Not that I'm complaining. The guy is freakin' comedy gold. And I won't be the one paying for his liberal revolution. Let the young reap what they sowed.

RM, I know what I said. So ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

RM, I know what I said. So you're saying only CONSERVATIVE voters are smart. That the 26% who still love Bush, listen to Rush, and watch FOX are smart enough, but the rest of us are suckers.

Obama got 10 million more votes than McCain. I'm pretty sure that lots of Obama voters are reasonable, intelligent folks, not zombies brainwashed by the "Liberal Media." Just as not every McCain-Palin voter was a Neanderthal. Just the ones who went to the campaign rallies.

There are pendulum swings in politics. Blaming an election loss on brainwashing is fooling yourself and playing victim. Your side lost, fair and square.

And, before you point it out, I know McCain got more than 26% of the vote. What I'm saying is that the 26% were joined by 1) reasonable people who disagreed with Obama, 2) diehard Republicans who would never vote Democratic, and 3) diehard racists and xenophobes who would never vote for a black man with a Muslim name.

Although group 3 has a lot of overlap with the 26%.

Bruce, being a disingenuous... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Bruce, being a disingenuous boob to make your point isn't gaining you any credibility.

You carefully break those who voted for McCain down into "Fox news watching, Rush listening Bush lovers", "xenophobic racists" and "diehards who would (mindlessly mind you) never vote Democrat". And oh yeah, the 26% and Group 2 and Group 3 far outweigh the "reasonable people who disagreed with Obama."

And your critique of those who voted for Obama? "I'm pretty sure that lots of Obama voters are reasonable, intelligent folks,..."

Is that the best you can do? Try defending your own with the same zeal. Didn't some vote for Obama because he's black? Isn't that "racist"? If not, why not? Weren't some who voted for Obama "diehards who would never vote Repulican?" What percentage still love Jimmy Carter, listen to Keith Olbermann and faithfully watch CNN? How many of them eagerly pulled the lever for Obama and still don't know who the Vice President is?

C'mon. There's plenty of ignorance on the right and the left, but to keep in the spirit of the tone you've set - Just more of yours voted.

BruceIn your first... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce

In your first comment you basically implied that conservatives are complaining about Obama as President AND conservatives think that people should have the right to vote, home school, etc.

I merely pointed out that the people who voted for Obama probably dont fit in the 3 categories you mentioned.

Obama was elected because he had the media behind him, he is black, and he wasnt republican.

McCain lost because he didnt have the base behind him and most of the folks who voted for him saw him as a barely palatable alternative to Obama. As it turns out people in that last category are being proven more and more right every day.


I couldn't agree with you m... (Below threshold)
JB:

I couldn't agree with you more. I think that's why we Recruiters don't fall for con men like this guy.

I've been a Recruiter for a Retained Search firm for 10 + years and utilize Behavioral Based Interviewing. From the buzz words you used, it sounds like you've been certified in DDI's Targeted Selection, which is what I use.

It's the way to go if you want to separate style from substance. And this guy has no substance.

Well DJ's gone and... (Below threshold)
Well DJ's gone and thrown a hanging curve in my wheelhouse with his item down below.

Welcome to the club, Baron. If you knew how many times he did that to ME...

J.

You're right of course, Oys... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

You're right of course, Oyster in that plenty of ignorant people voted for both candidates. In my inarticulate way, I was trying to make the point that blaming an election loss on the "liberal media" is so very very lame. How come the "liberal media" couldn't put Kerry over the top? Or Gore? Or Mike Freaking Dukakis?

Likewise lame is claiming that Obama voters are too stupid to know why they voted for him. Doubtless some are, but others aren't. Ditto for McCain-Palin voters. And I said "lots" of Obama voters, not "most" Obama voters.

And RM, I'll go further. I say Obama was elected almost ENTIRELY because he wasn't a Republican. A ham sandwich could have been nominated by the Dems in 2008 and won after 8 years of Bush. The voters saw what true Republican (mis)rule looks like, and rejected it. They didn't need a corporate interviewer to tell them they didn't want any more of THAT.

Oh, and Oyster? I've made a... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Oh, and Oyster? I've made a resolution never to call another commenter* names on Wizbang. Sarcasm, yes, but names, no. Wanna join me?

*except wee willie.

Bruce sez: I was trying ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Bruce sez: I was trying to make the point that blaming an election loss on the "liberal media" is so very very lame.

To an extent, but answer this:

How many stories did the media report involving Bristol Palin's pregnancy? How many stories were reported on Obama's only executive experience as head of the Chicago "millions of dollars down a rat hole with no appreciable results" Annenberg Challenge?

Compare and contrast.

Bruce sez: I was trying to ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce sez: I was trying to make the point that blaming an election loss on the "liberal media" is so very very lame.

So umm why did Dan Rather run the NG hit piece 3 weeks before an election? He couldnt have waited for further sourcing? Or umm type up a copy of the letter using a computer and see if it looked the same? Nope not with a presidential race to try to rig.

Come on Bruce. You are being a bit disengenuous.

You have a press that basically covers one candidate as the next Messiah, all bright, hopeful, intelligent, clean cut, and can charm a songbird out of a tree and the other candidate as a washed up dirty old man. GIven a generic choice between the two who would you have voted for?


Well, RM, I guess you and I... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well, RM, I guess you and I were watching two different Mainstream Medias.

During the last election season, I saw and heard lots of stories about Obama and Ayers, Obama and Wright, Michelle and "whitey', Michelle's thesis, Tony Rezko, etc., etc.

I also saw lots of stories about Bristol Palin, mostly on Entertainment Tonight and the like. There was the brief non-story about Vickie Iseman, but most of what I saw about McCain was about what a fucking "maverick" he was. Excuse my French. Oh, and are you aware that McCain is not only a former POW, he is also a former Prisoner of War? You didn't see the same?

By "mainstream" I mean ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, my local McClatchy newspaper, and the odd Newsweek or Time article in the dentist's office.

BruceSave me the f... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce

Save me the faux outrage. You can look at the studies done that showed Obama was given much more favorable press coverage.

Shall I showing the literally dozens of OBama Messiah photos taken by the press showing the Halo. All the talk about the Obama's gym time?

And yes they did mention that McCain was a POW and wondered how a tortured man may handle the pressure.

Compare McCain POW stories to Kerry's POW stories.

Give me a break Bruce. I thought you were better than that.




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