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Source: (consider it) Thread: Affirmative Action, or "Positive" Discrimination
Barnabas62
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mr cheesy

All systems are gameable, it depends what hurdles are in the way.

I don't know the Amazon system in any great detail, but the detailed check looks like a lower hurdle than a competitive process involving shortlisted candidates. It's just a yes/no choice, with cost arguments favouring yes, since a "no" answer subjects Amazon to more costs.

Obviously I don't know these things for certain, it depends how controlled and overseen the Amazon processes are. That's the point of "All things being equal".

And so far as discovery of incompetence is concerned, the patron has the power to protect their choice, even if it is a poor one. That's part of the power of patronage.

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Barnabas62
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chris stiles

I guess it depends on "what job". If it's entry-level work in the semi-automated warehouses for example, that's a hard environment for an incompetent or a slacker. But if it's further up the food chain, there's scope for patronage and protection.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
mr cheesy

All systems are gameable, it depends what hurdles are in the way.

I don't know the Amazon system in any great detail, but the detailed check looks like a lower hurdle than a competitive process involving shortlisted candidates. It's just a yes/no choice, with cost arguments favouring yes, since a "no" answer subjects Amazon to more costs.

Obviously I don't know these things for certain, it depends how controlled and overseen the Amazon processes are. That's the point of "All things being equal".

And so far as discovery of incompetence is concerned, the patron has the power to protect their choice, even if it is a poor one. That's part of the power of patronage.

I don't know. As I understand it, Amazon is arranged in working groups, so if one group isn't performing and it is clear that someone isn't pulling their weight then questions might be asked about who did the interviewing. If it is a patronage system working, then it is going to get found out if it is employing incompetent people. If it isn't, then maybe they don't care: the patronage is recruiting competent people.

I don't know for certain, I've never worked for Amazon.

I have, in contrast, worked with incompetent people in local government and other government departments who have been recruited by competitive systems, who have absolutely got their job due to gaming and who absolutely are incompetent. And who cannot easily be removed.

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Barnabas62
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Fair enough, mr cheesy. And so far as this comment is concerned

quote:
I have, in contrast, worked with incompetent people in local government and other government departments who have been recruited by competitive systems, who have absolutely got their job due to gaming and who absolutely are incompetent. And who cannot easily be removed.
I'm not sure about whether the "absolutely" is general, but I've had my suspicions in my own experience.

Sorry that was your experience, the evidence is that you are not alone. The Peter principle is a sod to live with if you are on the receiving end of the misdeeds of incompetent promotees.

[ 24. August 2017, 08:24: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

I guess it depends on "what job". If it's entry-level work in the semi-automated warehouses for example, that's a hard environment for an incompetent or a slacker. But if it's further up the food chain, there's scope for patronage and protection.

The warehouse workers are rarely directly employed by Amazon.

Further up the food chain, it would be very difficult to hide for long in any of their IT groups - they typically don't have the kind of 'strategy' orientated-roles that would facilitate this, and it's metrics all the way down.

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Barnabas62
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Thanks chris, the specifics are always helpful in understanding.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I'm not sure about whether the "absolutely" is general, but I've had my suspicions in my own experience.

I am sure as I can be about specific instances, I don't know how often it happens generally in the civil service. From what I've heard, it happens fairly regularly.

quote:
Sorry that was your experience, the evidence is that you are not alone. The Peter principle is a sod to live with if you are on the receiving end of the misdeeds of incompetent promotees.
It's a learning experience. One only has a few choices in that kind of circumstance.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
The point is that all the applicants get the chance to prove themselves to be the best person for the job.
Is it? The point to the COMPANY is to find someone who can do the job well and fit in with his or her colleagues well. Not to stroke the egos of the applicants.
This may be a pond difference. In the UK employment law is set up in order to ensure that all applicants - and then all interviewees - get a fair and equal chance to demonstrate their worth. All hiring decisions (and the reasons behind them) made by the employer have to be documented. The idea being, of course, to ensure that people are being hired (or not) based on their talents and abilities rather than due to irrelevant attributes like sex, race, or already knowing someone at the company.

Is it perfect? No, of course not. But as principles go it's pretty good.

If a UK company shortlisted five people for interview but then told candidates two through five not to bother because the first person was good enough, they'd be wide open to legal challenges. Mostly around the fact that they haven't given the other four candidates a fair and equal chance to show that they're better than the first.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
This may be a pond difference. In the UK employment law is set up in order to ensure that all applicants - and then all interviewees - get a fair and equal chance to demonstrate their worth. All hiring decisions (and the reasons behind them) made by the employer have to be documented. The idea being, of course, to ensure that people are being hired (or not) based on their talents and abilities rather than due to irrelevant attributes like sex, race, or already knowing someone at the company.

Two things: the rules about applicants for jobs is only for advertised jobs. A company is not obliged to advertise for jobs and can select candidates based solely on speculative applications - where it would be impossible for anyone else to tell if a process had been conducted "fairly" or not.

Second, the law is about discrimination. An employer cannot adversely discriminate against particular candidates based on various characteristics.

I don't know how the law would treat a system whereby candidates were not even interviewed based on randomness - but I suspect it would be hard to prove that any individual candidate who failed to get an interview whilst meeting minimum job specifications was any more adversely affected than anyone else.

I doubt therefore that they're in any stronger a legal position than candidates who meet the criteria set down in a job advert but do not get an interview in the normal way.

quote:
Is it perfect? No, of course not. But as principles go it's pretty good.
It isn't, it is absolutely shocking. A mirage of fairness.

quote:
If a UK company shortlisted five people for interview but then told candidates two through five not to bother because the first person was good enough, they'd be wide open to legal challenges. Mostly around the fact that they haven't given the other four candidates a fair and equal chance to show that they're better than the first.
But (a) would this happen because (b) how would a candidate know that they'd been shortlisted unless invited to interview.

If the contacted the HR department at the said company, they'd be told "I'm sorry, we're not calling you to interview at the moment" and the applicant would only have a case if he was able to show that the company had discriminated against him because of x illegal characteristic.

The bottom line is that nobody deserves a job. The law tries to ensure that people are treated fairly, but simply not interviewing someone because they're interviewing someone else is not an example of discriminatory unfairness.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
By Marvin the Martian:
Is it perfect? No, of course not. But as principles go it's pretty good.

It isn't, it is absolutely shocking. A mirage of fairness.

Here you lose me again. The experience of many people, including yourself, is that many organisations claim to apply the principle but don't. But they hide behind it as a claim of using a fair-minded approach.

That makes their behaviour wrong, reprehensible, even absolutely shocking. But it doesn't invalidate the principle they claim, dishonestly, to apply.

We've been here before in this discussion.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Here you lose me again. The experience of many people, including yourself, is that many organisations claim to apply the principle but don't. But they hide behind it as a claim of using a fair-minded approach.

That makes their behaviour wrong, reprehensible, even absolutely shocking. But it doesn't invalidate the principle they claim, dishonestly, to apply.

We've been here before in this discussion.

I think I've been quite clear: the idea of weighted boxes to sift candidates is unfair. It is the system which is at fault not the application of it.

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Barnabas62
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Weighted boxes is surely a method of application of the principle. It may indeed be an unfair way (not a crooked one of course) of looking at relative merit. But I can't see how it invalidates the principle of looking for merit.

The Amazon system also looks for merit in candidates, it just doesn't bother to look at everyone who it thinks has merit.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Weighted boxes is surely a method of application of the principle. It may indeed be an unfair way (not a crooked one of course) of looking at relative merit. But I can't see how it invalidates the principle of looking for merit.

The Amazon system also looks for merit in candidates, it just doesn't bother to look at everyone who it thinks has merit.

AFAIU Amazon looks for competence and keeps looking until it finds someone. Other systems look for the best of the available candidates based on weighted box ticking.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Here you lose me again. The experience of many people, including yourself, is that many organisations claim to apply the principle but don't. But they hide behind it as a claim of using a fair-minded approach.

That makes their behaviour wrong, reprehensible, even absolutely shocking. But it doesn't invalidate the principle they claim, dishonestly, to apply.

We've been here before in this discussion.

I think I've been quite clear: the idea of weighted boxes to sift candidates is unfair. It is the system which is at fault not the application of it.
Your preferred system being what, exactly? You've posted in favour of patronage on this thread, so does that mean you think a system of sifting candidates based on who they know is fairer?

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Your preferred system being what, exactly? You've posted in favour of patronage on this thread, so does that mean you think a system of sifting candidates based on who they know is fairer?

I think a system based on competence is entirely reasonable. I don't think patronage is terrible if it generates competent people.

To me, the important point is that competent people are in jobs not whether or not sufficient boxes have been ticked. But then I'm largely thinking as an employer not as a candidate who is used to thinking that he's employed because he's been sifted by merit.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
In the UK system, fair includes giving equal consideration to all candidates.

In theory, possibly. In practical application: no.
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
They never get a chance to impress, or to make the case for why they should be hired rather than anyone else who meets the minimum requirements. That doesn't seem fair to me.

And it is fair to the people who never have the chance to be in the running?

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Barnabas62
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Competence needs to be assessed somehow. The normal approach is to assess relative merit of candidates. All shortlisting systems involve an assessment of information provided. Shortlisting is done to save organisations the time and trouble of interviewing every candidate. HR and management mark the scripts to weed out folks assessed not to be competent enough. That is a relative-merit-based process.

You need a system for doing that which assesses the initial information provided by candidates in their CVs and other application data.

Shorthand; shortlisting involves a relative scoring of merit without seeing any candidate. You end up with a score for each candidate, then a ranking.

That's as much a part of the overall process as more detailed assessments involving interviews, presentations by candidates, specific testing, peer review, managers' opinions, what have you.

The alternative to some preliminary marking scheme to assess relative merit is what exactly, if it isn't some form of patronage or random discarding? That's what I don't get.

I'm all in favour of subjecting all of these processes to continuous assessment for effectiveness, so that they can be made as fair as possible. But the underlying principle is the same. Assessment of relative merit as a determinant of competence. By some scoring method.

[ 24. August 2017, 15:48: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Competence, which is actually just another word for relative merit

Let me just stop you there.


Merit, in this context, means that the candidate who gets the job is better than all the other candidates who applied. It's a race, with one winner.

Don't forget that there has already been a sift of the candidates and only those who are deemed to have met a particular standard are interviewed in the first place. The interview is designed to whittle down the field of candidates to a single "winner".*

Competence is not about "being the winner", it is about whether or not the person can do the job. Which might well be unrelated to whether or not they survive the sifting process.

* it does sometimes happen that nobody who applies is suitable for the job and so interviews are conducted on candidates who haven't met the expected person specifications. But in the example we're talking about, everyone interviewed in both models has met the person spec, the question is about how it is determined who gets the job

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Competence, which is actually just another word for relative merit, needs to be assessed somehow.

Well, of course. No one is done right by incompetence being hired/promoted.
Incompetence manages to get through the current systems, furthering the need to debunk the myth of "the best".

quote:

All shortlisting systems involve an assessment of information.

Yes. But not all the information is relevant to doing the job.

quote:

Shorthand; shortlisting involves a relative scoring of merit without seeing any candidate. You end up with a score for each candidate, then a ranking.

Unless it is a double-blind, with no names, there are issues here as well. Plus, there are cultural biases involved that can make the concept of an unbiased assessment problematic.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

Shorthand; shortlisting involves a relative scoring of merit without seeing any candidate. You end up with a score for each candidate, then a ranking.

That's as much a part of the overall process as more detailed assessments involving interviews, presentations by candidates, specific testing, peer review, managers' opinions, what have you.

But it doesn't have to include any scoring at all.

500 people apply for a job. Of those, 100 meet the person specification. They have the minimum amount of experience and qualifications expected for the job.

It isn't necessary to score and rank these applicants. They all look like they are capable of doing the job.

So I don't see the problem with randomly deciding to interview one of the applicants to see if they're competent. If they are, you employ them. If they're not, you interview someone else.

No box-ticking, scoring or ranking necessary.

I'm puzzled why you're not getting this.

[ 24. August 2017, 15:58: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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mr cheesy
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Also, for the candidate who isn't the stand-out winner in a competitive race - which might include a load of people for whom life hasn't been kind - it gives a chance at a job they'd never otherwise get because they're not a winner.

Hard cheese on the person who is "the best" but doesn't get allocated an interview, but better for all those other candidates who aren't and who get at least a chance at getting an interview and a job.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm puzzled why you're not getting this.

Perhaps because you're looking at it from the perspective of an employer and we're looking at it from the perspective of an applicant?

To an employer I can well believe that it doesn't matter which competent individual gets the job*. But to the applicants that's actually quite an important question that needs to be answered properly.

I realise this may make me sound like a raging leftie, but I think it's more important to err on the side of making sure the applicants get treated fairly than the side of minimising employer paperwork.

.

*= I can believe it, but that doesn't mean I agree with it even from that perspective. I wouldn't buy a car or house on the basis of just grabbing the first one that meets my minimum criteria, so why should I do so with an employee?

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
They never get a chance to impress, or to make the case for why they should be hired rather than anyone else who meets the minimum requirements. That doesn't seem fair to me.

And it is fair to the people who never have the chance to be in the running?
If the decision is made on merit, yes.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:


To an employer I can well believe that it doesn't matter which competent individual gets the job*. But to the applicants that's actually quite an important question that needs to be answered properly.

I realise this may make me sound like a raging leftie, but I think it's more important to err on the side of making sure the applicants get treated fairly than the side of minimising employer paperwork.

.

*= I can believe it, but that doesn't mean I agree with it even from that perspective. I wouldn't buy a car or house on the basis of just grabbing the first one that meets my minimum criteria, so why should I do so with an employee?

But I don't really accept this charge that it is unfair. In my example, 100 people meet the required standard, as listed in the person specification, on paper.

In the normal way, of those a tremendous amount of work is done to choose say 5 people to interview. So 95% of those who are capable of doing the job have their applications put straight into the bin.

On the basis of the interview, the company selects the best of the 5. So they have a 1 in 5 chance of a job.

In the Amazon system, in contrast, all 100 candidates have an equal chance at getting an interview.

100 people stand a chance of getting an interview instead of 5. 100 people have a equal chance of impressing the interviewers instead of 5.

I can't see that this is less fair.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Also, for the candidate who isn't the stand-out winner in a competitive race - which might include a load of people for whom life hasn't been kind - it gives a chance at a job they'd never otherwise get because they're not a winner.

Hard cheese on the person who is "the best" but doesn't get allocated an interview, but better for all those other candidates who aren't and who get at least a chance at getting an interview and a job.

I have weak knees and low lung capacity, but by this argument I should still be given a random chance to win the Olympic 100m gold medal.

Hard cheese on all the sprinters who've trained hard all their lives to become the best they can be, but at least it means people who can barely run 100m without stopping to catch their breath get a chance at glory as well.

[Roll Eyes]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
If the decision is made on merit, yes.

Sigh. No.

As I explained above, all of the candidates are initially sifted to ensure that they have the minimum needed characteristics to do the job. If they don't meet the job specification they'll not be in the running to get an interview at all.

So we're not talking about people who can't do the job, we're talking about a large number of people who are capable but never get the chance to show the employer that they can do the job because there is always someone who is "better".

Instead, here is a system whereby those who are capable but not "the best" have an equal chance to get an interview.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I have weak knees and low lung capacity, but by this argument I should still be given a random chance to win the Olympic 100m gold medal.

Stupid example I'm not even going to respond to. Get a better argument.

quote:
Hard cheese on all the sprinters who've trained hard all their lives to become the best they can be, but at least it means people who can barely run 100m without stopping to catch their breath get a chance at glory as well.

[Roll Eyes]

Most jobs applicants are not applying to be olympic athletes.

Your whole thinking is wrong.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
100 people stand a chance of getting an interview instead of 5. 100 people have a equal chance of impressing the interviewers instead of 5.

100 people each have a 1/100 (1%) chance of getting an interview in the first example.

100 people, assuming they're all of exactly equal merit, have a 1/20 (5%) chance of getting an interview in the second example.

Even in your own example, the odds of getting the chance to stand before the employer and impress them are five times higher in my scenario than yours.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
If the decision is made on merit, yes.

That is my point. Merit is a bullshit concept as the handicaps are not the same for everyone. The poor, and more specifically the poor and brown, have a lesser chance of being able to generate merit.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So we're not talking about people who can't do the job, we're talking about a large number of people who are capable but never get the chance to show the employer that they can do the job because there is always someone who is "better".

Instead, here is a system whereby those who are capable but not "the best" have an equal chance to get an interview.

Yay, let's reward mediocrity! Forget all that guff about being the best you can be, just aim for "good enough"!

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Hail Gallaxhar

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So we're not talking about people who can't do the job, we're talking about a large number of people who are capable but never get the chance to show the employer that they can do the job because there is always someone who is "better".

Instead, here is a system whereby those who are capable but not "the best" have an equal chance to get an interview.

Yay, let's reward mediocrity! Forget all that guff about being the best you can be, just aim for "good enough"!
You miss the point. There is not a substantive difference in every job between good enough and the best. Not in most jobs. It is that the job doesn't require more, not that we accept less.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
100 people each have a 1/100 (1%) chance of getting an interview in the first example.

100 people, assuming they're all of exactly equal merit, have a 1/20 (5%) chance of getting an interview in the second example.

No, come on now. If they're being ranked against each other than anyone other than the top 5% has exactly zero chance of getting an interview.

quote:
Even in your own example, the odds of getting the chance to stand before the employer and impress them are five times higher in my scenario than yours.
Rubbish. It is a 1% chance of interview vs a 0% of interview for the 95% of candidates who are not "the best".

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Yay, let's reward mediocrity! Forget all that guff about being the best you can be, just aim for "good enough"!

There is nothing wrong with mediocrity. If you are competent, you are competent. It doesn't matter if there are 1 or 100 people who look better on paper.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
If the decision is made on merit, yes.

That is my point. Merit is a bullshit concept as the handicaps are not the same for everyone. The poor, and more specifically the poor and brown, have a lesser chance of being able to generate merit.
"Merit" means ability to do the job. The jobs I interview for are in data analysis - if you're not any good at data analysis then you ain't getting hired, regardless of why you aren't any good at it.

If you're capable of doing the job, you have a good chance of an interview. If you're amazingly good at it, you'll almost certainly get the job. My ideal would be to hire someone who's even better at it than me, because then the whole team could learn from them and become even better. But - barring extraordinary good luck - I'm not going to find that person if I only interview one random applicant who meets the minimum requirements.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
There is nothing wrong with mediocrity.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why this country is going to shit.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
"Merit" means ability to do the job.

Nope, there's your problem right there. You don't understand that "merit" is beyond the ability to do a job and is being used to distinguish between candidates who all look to be entirely capable of doing the job. It isn't that only 5 people could possibly do the job, it is that the company has determined that they're only going to interview 5 and so they're going to choose the best 5 using tick-boxes.

And that there is the reason this country is going to shit. 95% of people who can do jobs never get a chance.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
[QB A company is not obliged to advertise for jobs and can select candidates based solely on speculative applications[/QB]

Doesn't that contravene employment law? Of is it only against the rules for thoe who claim to be equal ops. employers?

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
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Barnabas62
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# 9110

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So everyone who meets the minimum standard of competence for any job should have an equal opportunity to get that job? Even if that means random choice?

Well, I'm not sure that actually does meet the employer's needs. Other than the immediate short term. What about potential? Doesn't it suit an employer better to have people with potential to advance in the organisation? Or even just improve the job they are appointed to, by showing imagination and initiative about how it might be done better.

There are good longer term reasons for going for the best candidate who is available. Even in these days when people are expected to look after their own careers and move around.

At least that's the way it looks to me.

A good friend of mine, looking at this issue a few years ago, came up with this neat statement.

"First class people employ first class people. Second class people employ third class people."

Another friend observed this. "I always want people working for me who reckon they can do my job. Ambition and self-confidence are very useful in a team."

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Doesn't that contravene employment law? Of is it only against the rules for thoe who claim to be equal ops. employers?

AFAIU either employment law doesn't apply or it is extremely hard to prove.

If there is no job advert then there is no real competition. A business may decide that there is a vacancy tomorrow but not today, so it would be really hard to prove that it had, say 5 speculative CVs and treated one of them with illegal discrimination so that candidate wasn't interviewed.

I think it'd be a stronger case if someone got an interview via a speculative application and the employer said that - eg - their religious requirements were not capable of being dealt with when there is evidence that they could be.

But it'd be really hard to show that one didn't get an interview from a speculative application because of discrimination.

[ 24. August 2017, 17:46: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:


"First class people employ first class people. Second class people employ third class people."


Have you seen (heard of) Moneyball? How do you explain that phenomena?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moneyball

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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This all makes it sound like there's a top flight of excellent people who are the only ones who should be allowed to work.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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I think there are some jobs where only the best should be selected for various obvious reasons.

But the vast majority of roles could be perfectly well and competently filled by someone who isn't "the best" (see Moneyball) - and indeed the whole process of attempting to determine who is "the best" in a large number of cases is itself flawed.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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An example I was thinking earlier is airline pilots. In the UK this is a highly competitive career where only the very best are selected for training and only the best of those become pilots.

But in other countries (for various reasons, including corruption) individuals become airline pilots without this level of competition.

Are we seriously trying to argue that our pilots are better than theirs because we've had more competition for the jobs?

What about the royal family? Many of the male members have been trained by the military to be pilots.

Are you seriously going to suggest to me that they would have gotten those appointments on merit? That somehow - magically - several generations of royals were better than all the other candidates who applied and failed to get jobs?

The fact that dim royals can become pilots suggests the opposite: that with effort and application a wider intake could succeed as competent pilots and therefore the highly competitive nature of the application system to become an aeroplane pilot is more to do with the number of people who apply than the number of people who would be competent.

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

A good friend of mine, looking at this issue a few years ago, came up with this neat statement.

"First class people employ first class people. Second class people employ third class people."

This makes for a concise platitude. But that is the most complimentary thing I can say about it.
It relies on mythconceptions to make the statement work.

quote:

Another friend observed this. "I always want people working for me who reckon they can do my job. Ambition and self-confidence are very useful in a team."

Ambition can also destroy a team. It is dependent on the motives and ethics of the ambitious. Self confidence is good when it is justified.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
100 meet the person specification. They have the minimum amount of experience and qualifications expected for the job.

It isn't necessary to score and rank these applicants. They all look like they are capable of doing the job.

But life isn't always that simple. For people that I want to hire, there are some that I would love to have, and will do my best to generate an extra vacancy if we get two of them applying for one job.

I could write a spec with that kind of person in mind, but if I did that, then half the time I'd have no qualified applicants at all.

There's a second rank of applicants who I think I can work with. They're not the perfect applicant - perhaps they don't really have the right experience, or they're a solid performer but don't show much creativity or originality. I can still use those people. The one with the wrong experience might turn out to be great with some training; the solid performer can be assigned tasks where his lack of creativity isn't a huge impediment, and free up someone else for a task where more lateral thinking is an advantage.

I'd rather have group 2 than nobody, but I'd rather have group 1 than group 2.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
But life isn't always that simple. For people that I want to hire, there are some that I would love to have, and will do my best to generate an extra vacancy if we get two of them applying for one job.

I could write a spec with that kind of person in mind, but if I did that, then half the time I'd have no qualified applicants at all.

I can assure you that this happens regularly in government jobs. I've not seen it quite as blatantly in the private sector.

quote:
There's a second rank of applicants who I think I can work with. They're not the perfect applicant - perhaps they don't really have the right experience, or they're a solid performer but don't show much creativity or originality. I can still use those people. The one with the wrong experience might turn out to be great with some training; the solid performer can be assigned tasks where his lack of creativity isn't a huge impediment, and free up someone else for a task where more lateral thinking is an advantage.

I'd rather have group 2 than nobody, but I'd rather have group 1 than group 2.

I don't know what industry you are in, but given that around here even a small number of jobs at Tesco have hundreds of applicants, I'd be willing to bet that there are many many jobs with many many suitable applicants.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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# 15560

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We review references very carefully. Before interviewing a short list of qualified people.

Hiring among qualified people comes down to a number of 'gut feeling' types of considerations, stress tolerance, whether I can imagine seeing them every day, trust. It's not merit at this level. Does race have any bearing? no. Does culture? possibly, if there are language issues, which pertains to understandability of speech, and etiquette / manners which fit.

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Barnabas62
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# 9110

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:

Shorthand; shortlisting involves a relative scoring of merit without seeing any candidate. You end up with a score for each candidate, then a ranking.

That's as much a part of the overall process as more detailed assessments involving interviews, presentations by candidates, specific testing, peer review, managers' opinions, what have you.

But it doesn't have to include any scoring at all.

500 people apply for a job. Of those, 100 meet the person specification. They have the minimum amount of experience and qualifications expected for the job.

It isn't necessary to score and rank these applicants. They all look like they are capable of doing the job.


I'm puzzled why you're not getting this.

By what process do HR/management know that the 100 applicants meet the person spec and 400 don't? Are they just saying "it's obvious" after reading the CVs? What makes it so "obvious" that no more detailed assessment is necessary.

That sounds like a gut feel process to me. A non-scoring process is still a process.

You can certainly argue in favour of gut-feeling your way through applications, but I don't see why that should be superior to some kind of scoring system.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Soror Magna
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# 9881

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
"Merit" means ability to do the job. The jobs I interview for are in data analysis - if you're not any good at data analysis then you ain't getting hired, regardless of why you aren't any good at it.

If you're capable of doing the job, you have a good chance of an interview. If you're amazingly good at it, you'll almost certainly get the job. ...

Do you check references? How do you make sure you aren't hiring an asshole who will destroy your team? How do you know you're getting someone who will actually show up on time, showered and properly dressed, and put in a full day every day once they've got the job? What if the amazingly good analyst in your candidate pool has a criminal record or won't work overtime or has a disability or chronic illness? What if the top candidate asks for a higher salary than you've budgeted for?

If you are really only looking for ability to do data analysis and nothing else, why even bother with interviews? Just set up a standardized in-basket test and hire whoever gets the highest score within the allotted time.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
All things being equal, it is easier to game. The detailed process does not involve comparison between the winner and other potentially suitable candidates.

But that comparison is completely squishy, or at least just as easy to game. You have made no argument as to why the one is easier to game than the other. If someone wants to pick one particular person, or not pick someone of a particular people group, neither system is any more fair than the other. The only argument you have for why the Amazon system is "unfair" is that it depends on luck, and not everybody is as lucky. Which is magical thinking.

quote:
I wonder, for example, how often Amazon rejects the first person subject to detailed check. Given that economy of Company effort favours the Company, I would reckon they are quite reluctant to reject the first person they see.
And maybe you would be so unscrupulous. That's not the story I hear from inside the walls.

quote:
The alternative to some preliminary marking scheme to assess relative merit is what exactly, if it isn't some form of patronage or random discarding? That's what I don't get.
Clearly. No, Amazon is doing much the same kind of marking scheme, but they're not ranking. They're saying, "Is this person worth interviewing? Does it look like they would be able to do the job?"

quote:
Assessment of relative merit as a determinant of competence. By some scoring method.
Either you're competent or you're not. Relative merit is irrelevant. If anybody who scores over a 70 is deemed competent, my scoring 88 and your scoring 85 is irrelevant to our competence. We're both competent, period. There is no need to assess relative merit -- ranking -- to determine competence.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Yay, let's reward mediocrity! Forget all that guff about being the best you can be, just aim for "good enough"!

If good enough isn't good enough then you're not pre-screening well enough. If your standards are so low that the mediocre are "good enough" then you've got a problem to begin with. Raise your standards. Problem solved. This is a stupid argument.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
So everyone who meets the minimum standard of competence for any job should have an equal opportunity to get that job? Even if that means random choice?

Well, I'm not sure that actually does meet the employer's needs. Other than the immediate short term. What about potential? Doesn't it suit an employer better to have people with potential to advance in the organisation?

Then you make potential a part of the minimum requirements. This isn't rocket surgery. You set the bar high enough to only get applicants you'd be willing to hire.

Or are you saying that in your ranked meritocracy, you'd hire whoever scored highest, even if they really weren't qualified?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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