But in these days of reputational damage they can’t afford to actually insult candidates on social media.
All the national press this week covered the story of a teenager who applied for a job at a new Miller & Carter steakhouse (owned by Mitchell & Butlers).
Megan Dixon asked at the end of the interview when they would let her know and was told by the assistant manager Shantel Wesson, who had interviewed her, that she would get an e-mail in a few days. To her surprise, and dismay, she received a text within minutes saying “it’s a no x” (why managers would add a kiss to a text message is beyond me).
Dixon replied “Okay. How come? x” (and there’s that kiss again for goodness sake).
Shantel Wesson then replied “Just not engaging. And answers we’re “like” basic” followed by a ‘laughing so hard I’m crying’ emoji and another kiss.
Naturally Dixon was upset and complained to the company on twitter saying the interviewer was unprepared and her phone was going off throughout the interview. So unprofessional.
She then told The Sun newspaper about the interview: “She didn’t even shake my hand, didn’t have my CV out and was just sat drinking a coffee. Maybe because I’m 18 she thinks it’s OK not to be professional with me? I don’t know.”
“It was so rude. At the end of the interview, I asked when I would hear back. She told me it was never more than a few days and she had my email. But I got the texts a few seconds after leaving”
“I was shocked. The least she should have given me was some proper feedback. And the laughing face emoji was so unprofessional. It was a really bitchy thing to do.”
Miller and Carter had advertised up to 50 jobs at the new branch in Enderby, Leicestershire, and student Ms Dixon wanted to earn some extra cash for college.
Newspapers explained that the term “basic” was American slang meaning an unstylish or unintelligent person.
A spokeswoman said “we can’t apologise enough to Megan. It was never our intention to be disrespectful or upset her in any way. The texts were sent in error and were intended for our manager, not the candidate. However, we expect our team to act professionally at all times and to give constructive feedback after any interview via email. We are taking this extremely seriously and will be investigating to ensure it never happens again.”
In anyone’s book this is totally unprofessional behaviour. Candidates deserve respect and proper feedback – something sadly lacking these days.
And what does it say about the culture of the company that managers send each other such mocking text messages? If it were indeed actually intended for the manager.
HR probably doesn’t exist in this company but if it did some recruitment training seems well overdue,and possibly some disciplinary action against Wesson for bringing the company into disrepute?
Talking of being “basic” perhaps Shantel Wesson could take some English lessons as she obviously doesn’t know the difference between “were” and “we’re“.
And Megan, you’re young but don’t put kisses on business messages. You act professionally as well.
Research shows that accuracy in our ability to decide if someone can be trusted is little better than chance.
According to David DeSteno, a psychology professor at Northeastern University writing in the Harvard Business Review (“Who can you trust“), it’s because we place too much emphasis on reputation and perceived confidence.
We also ignore that fact that people can change in different contexts and we don’t trust our intuition enough.
DeSteno proposes 4 things to bear in mind:
1 Integrity can vary. People use reputation as a proxy for integrity but it isn’t a stable trait. Because someone has been fair and honest in the past doesn’t mean they will continue to be so in different circumstances.
His research into cheating shows that 90% of people will cheat if they believe they won’t get caught. And they then rationalise those actions rather than accept that they are untrustworthy.
2 Power does corrupt. Appearances can be deceptive but the author cites research by Paul Pliff, a social psychologist at Berkeley, which suggests that indicators of socio-economic status can predict trustworthiness.
Increasing status and power correlate with decreasing honesty and reliability. It’s not that rich people are inherently less trustworthy than poor people but that a person’s honesty depends on his or her relative feelings of power or vulnerability.
Assigning people to be a boss or a follower in office simulations Joris Lammers, a psychologist at the University of Cologne, found that those elevated to more senior roles displayed a high degree of hypocritical behaviour and were quick to condemn others for unethical, self-interested behaviour whilst judging their own actions to be acceptable.
When someone has a higher status than you, or even just thinks so, his mind tells him that you need him more than he needs you. Consequently he focuses on short-term outcomes and worries less about the long-term effect of being untrustworthy.
This explains why big companies often treat smaller clients less well than their larger ones.
3 Confidence often masks incompetence. Honourable intentions mean nothing if a person is incompetent. We know this instinctively from an early age (4-year olds will pick people as instructors whom they perceive as more competent).
But confidence is so alluring that we tend to trust information provided by people who exude it, especially when money is at stake. Hence the success of confidence tricksters.
In newly formed groups those members who expressed pride in the group quickly rose to positions of leadership even though the abilities that their pride stemmed from weren’t relevant to the group’s objectives.
So while reputation isn’t a good predictor of integrity it is of competence because capabilities are more stable.
4 It’s OK to trust your instinct.
Despite decades of research into researching ways of detecting untrustworthiness most people do little better than chance. Even trained experts.
That’s because most of us look for a single “tell” to indicate whether or not someone can be trusted whereas we need to look for a set of gestures. This is something we can do instinctively.
So is it better to trust or not? If you have no information to go on then a bias towards trusting is better for long-term gains. Otherwise remember these 4 rules!
The 5 dysfunctions of a team
Patrick Lencioni is a strong advocate of trust in teams. In his best-selling book, “The 5 Dysfunctions of Teams” he sets down a hierarchy (see diagram below).
But basically it’s all about Trust.