Don't like applicant's looks? Think twice

When Peter Wu answered a want ad for an experienced electrician, Personnel Manager Ann Grissom passed him through to be interviewed by Maintenance Foreman John Groat.


When Peter Wu answered a want ad for an experienced electrician, Personnel Manager Ann Grissom passed him through to be interviewed by Maintenance Foreman John Groat. Groat scanned his employment application, asked him a couple of questions, and turned him down.

"You don't have the experience we need."

Wu appeared surprised, seemed about to question Groat's decision, but thought better of it.

Next day Groat hired Thomas Hart, a black applicant, for the job. Hart was scheduled to start the following Monday.

When Wu heard that Hart had been hired, he appeared in the personnel manager's office. "I happen to know Tom Hart very well," he told Mrs. Grissom. "I worked with him at another plant. He's a nice guy, but I have far more experience than he does. I was Grade I, he was Grade II. I don't see why Mr. Groat turned me down."

Grissom reviewed both men's applications.

"Wait here," she instructed Wu. "I'll talk to Mr. Groat."

Grissom told Groat, "This applicant makes a good point, John. Wu appears much better qualified than Hart. Why did you reject him?"

Groat frowned. "I don't know. Something about him sorta bothered me. I just didn't like the guy's looks."

"That's exactly what concerns me, the fact that he's oriental. Looks have nothing to do with qualifications. This smacks of prejudice."

"No way! If I was prejudiced, would I have hired a black?"

Grissom wasn't convinced. "I'm going to take this up with Mr. Burroughs."

Question : Should the hiring decision be changed?

Burroughs' verdict: After reviewing both applications, Plant Engineer Henry Burroughs agreed with the personnel manager that Wu's rejection indicated possible bias. He told Groat, "Your decision should be reversed in favor of Wu. A person's looks should not be a factor in any hiring decision, especially where another applicant's qualifications are decidedly better."

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.