Equally qualified job candidates: Can you trust your instincts?

Several applicants were interviewed for a job opening in the plant engineering department. The field narrowed down to two candidates, Phil Hartshorne and Lucas Johnson, both of whom appeared to be equally qualified.

12/01/1999


Several applicants were interviewed for a job opening in the plant engineering department. The field narrowed down to two candidates, Phil Hartshorne and Lucas Johnson, both of whom appeared to be equally qualified. Both had graduated with good grades from reputable colleges. Both were well dressed and personable. Both had scored well in the company's pre-employment tests. There was only one apparent difference between them. Hartshorne was Caucasian; Johnson was African-American.

Instinctively, for reasons he could not articulate -- or chose not to articulate -- Chief Engineer Don Kramer, the interviewing executive, gave Hartshorne the edge. Maybe it was the firmness of his handshake; maybe it was his eye contact. Or maybe... He chose not to put this unformed thought into words.

Whatever the case, the employment decision wasn't an easy one. Could he go with his instincts, Kramer wondered? Or should he take the decision to a higher court?

With this thought in mind, Kramer sought out the advice of his boss, Plant Engineer George Ruffing.

Question: In Ruffing's place, how would you respond to Kramer's indecision?

Ruffing's response: After reviewing the candidates' qualifications carefully, Ruffing gave the chief a half smile. "Except for their obvious difference, these two guys might be twins. They both strike me as equally qualified."

"That's the problem," Kramer replied. "Maybe too equally qualified. It's a tough decision, unless I toss a coin, or go by my instincts."

"Which are?"

Kramer frowned. "I tend to give Hartshorne the edge."

Ruffing nodded. "Don, I'm not going to tell you which man to choose. But if you go with your instincts, my advice is to make sure you not only know why, but will be able to spell out why if need be. On the one hand, we have the moral and ethical factor to consider. On the other, in today's job market, an executive must be on his toes when equally matched candidates of different race, religion, or gender show up. And the possibility can't be ruled out that they could be "testers." Testers often work in pairs. Selecting one over the other without being able to support the decision with valid corroborating evidence could lay a company open to a discrimination lawsuit."





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 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...
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me