Jobs and tailoring
An unveiling

Published by Tsehp 29/12/1999

The conditions of society are such that even software crackers and reality crackers and reversers might eventually have to apply for a job. If you have made a sufficiently convincing written application you might end up with an invitation for an interview and further evaluations.

Every newbie is anxious before going to the first interview. Feels like an exam, only that there is no formal education for it. A swift Web search might be helpful, though.

Some tips may be found here

Some employers are genuinely generous, stimulating and receptive. They focus on the work to be done.They take pride in doing good work themselves. They collect around them people they believe they personally can collaborate with and who can collaborate with those already there.

Other employers seem more detached from the production process - I believe because they have a production-irrelevant education (like law or economy) and seem more preoccupied with money and status - and control, slave mastering if you like - than with production. They introduce bureaucracy of the silliest kind, demanding that those in the production units use their precious time for making reports instead of working. (You can read it every day in the Dilbert cartoons find the reference yourself)

You can see these in interviews in the business pages of newspapers or elsewhere where hot air is blown. In my experience they use a lot words like "leadership", "visions", "teamwork" "rational" - well, you know. I do not think very highly of these people, so I think most of them believe their own words. But they are also cowards, by using the parrot strategy of reproducing the current and fashionable rhethoric so as not to offend their superiors and the shareholders.

These "leaders" are sometimes in the market for employing new people, but do not really know what kind of people they need, and THEIR bosses may have so strict punishment systems for failure that they do not dare even to make their own independent decisions about which persons to employ in their own department. Instead, they hire a recruitment firm; a well-reputed one. (I will say something of that later) so the blame for a misplacement can be put on somebody outside the organization.

(A few words about the terminology of failure: In my terminology failure is a disaster of some kind, or the chronic inability to have the work done. I think these firms have another definition of a failed employment. Employing a person who opposes them when they are wrong, will be considered a misplacement.)

Whatever the reason, there has become a market for dedicated personnel recruitment firms, either by outsourcing of the entire selection of personnel, or (for the really big companies) to have their own internal recruitment firms, using the same methods. If you apply for a job with one of these firms you may be in for a surprise or not, depending on your level of cynicism.

Recruitment firms

I hope I have supplied enough material below for the readers to judge for themselves whether these firms have a useful product, and whether the renumeration is in proportion to the value they provide.

Every Reversern will know that financial success is more a result of successful marketing than of the qualities of a product. Even useless or superfluous products may become a financial success. (Microsoft Powerpoint is aspiring to be my favourite product for the time being: the tool for marketing of useless products, full of visual frills. How about a selective PP macrovirus that leaves unharmed Word, Access and Excel which may be buggy and overbloated, but actually are tools for quite some useful work?). Marketing in my opinion, is a way of lying. Even if every word is true, the less favourable sides are usually omitted or de-emphasized so that the full picture is distorted. Twisted. If this is done deliberately, it is lying - which is not nice.

But then for the crack.

Have you heard the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about the vain emperor? (The Emperor's New Clothes"

You may fetch the text here if you like

Synopsis: The Emperor was buying a new suit of clothes from some criminals who posed as tailors. The criminals had told him that the suit could be seen by everybody, except those who were stupid or who were incompetent for their positions. They made him pay and ran a number of trying sessions to document the progress of the work. But the entire suit was virtual. Of course he noticed, but he did not dare to say anything, for fear of being exposed (:-) as incompetent or stupid. To know more of the suit he called in various presumably competent and wise persons for a second opinion. None of his servants or cabinet members dared to tell him that they saw nothing, so they were full of praise of the new suit, and the Emperor memorized their descriptions to be able to retell later what he was wearing. When he wanted to show his new dress to the people, he went along stark naked. Everybody saw the nakedness, but nobody dared to speak for fear of showing themselves as stupid or incompetent, and the joke was exposed, literally spoken, only when a child, who had nothing to loseb, cried: The Emperor has no clothes on! First the child was only quoted cautiously by those surrounding, but then everybody adopted the idea and cried it out loud.

The recruitment people are making a virtual suit that nobody dares to expose. "Personality testing" of the applicants is one of their tools, including IQ testing , but even worse tests may apply, for example graphology - analysis of your handwriting for personality traits.

The search below may give you an idea of this racket.

This Excite search may give you an idea of this racket.

Most of these firms are rather good at covering their tracks (or lazy). But one firm stands out with an informative Web page.

Mercuri Urval

If you do a little research in this page (I have copied it here for your convenience), I think you can feel the smell.

 

Mercuri Urval is an international recruitment, selection and human resource utilisation consultancy; specialising in the evaluation of an individual's personality.  Mercuri Urval conducts this evaluation in relation to a specific job, and the client company's profile.
 
Two key beliefs are imperative to our development:
  • that people are the most important resource in every company; and that,
  • an individuals personality is the determining factor influencing their results in a given job.
  • Please note that this is an unsubstantiated belief, and the glaring absence of any definition of "personality".

 
Mercuri Urval is an international company.  Since our inception, approximately 30 years ago, Mercuri Urval has established more than 70 offices throughout 17 countries.  Our selection as human resource consultants for both the Winter Olympics in Norway, and the Eurotunnel project between England and France, has strengthened and enhanced our reputation as a company that ensures results.
 
Mercuri Urval works with recruitment, selection and effectual resources utilisation.
 
Recruitment and selection are undoubtedly the area for which we are best known.  We assist in filling positions for both the public and private sectors; with an emphasis on service, and providing the best match between client and employee.
 
Within the effectual resources utilisation area, Mercuri Urval performs assessments for both small and large projects.  In some projects the focus is primarily upon the relationship between the human resources of a company, and the market demands facing it.  With other projects, the emphasis is on the individual employee and manager; with a focus of improving the effectiveness of the individual in their position.
In Mercuri Urval's approach, the relationship between the individual and their job is the fundamental building block for every organisation. The basic issue of organisational performance lies in continually fitting the abilities and motivation of people to properly defined jobs.
The Mercuri Urval Recruitment And Selection Process
 
Company Analysis
 
A thorough analysis of our client's company is essential.  Once performed, this analysis enables Mercuri Urval to obtain an understanding of the company's image and environment, and the standards and values of the company's culture.

Isn't it lovely what these people can do?
 
Recruitment And Selection Procedure
 
Mercuri Urval's recruitment and selection procedure is methodical and unchanging.

Most other firms boast that they try to keep up to date with research and development. Not this firm. They stick to the religious way: What once was, will be, and never shall change - for ever and ever. Amen

 It consists of the following stages; job and demand analysis; recruitment; administration of candidate applications; analysis of candidate applications; the preliminary interview; in-depth assessment of the candidate;
reference checking; decision reporting; development reporting; and last but not least, the follow-up.  Below you will find an explanation of each of the stages.
 

    1. Job and Demand Analysis
    We place considerable importance on the analysis of the formal demands of the position and the personality demands of the client.
    2. Recruitment
    We carry out the recruitment of candidates through an agreed advertising campaign.  Mercuri Urval provides clients with the choice of advertising through print medium, Internet advertising, or both.

    3. Administration of Candidate Applications
    Mercuri Urval believes the candidate is entitled to be informed when their application is received.  With this in mind, all candidates are sent a confirmation within 24 hours of receipt of their application.

     4. Analysis of Candidate Applications
    Mercuri Urval then analyses all applications based on the formal requirements for the position, based on the findings from the "Job and Demand Analysis".

    5. Preliminary Interview
    Next we invite selected candidates to a preliminary interview at our premises.  This interview has a duration of approximately one hour.

    6. In-Depth Assessment
    Unique to Mercuri Urval, and imperative to the successful placement of a candidate, is the in-depth assessment of candidates.  Candidates will spend approximately four hours in our office completing the following; a personal information questionnaire, speed and accuracy tests, and a personality assessment.  The candidate will then have an in-depth interview with the consultant, which takes approximately two hours.  The candidate will then receive extensive feedback from the consultant.

    As you can see, most of the work is pure secretarial work, and work leaning heavily on the knowhow of the client (meagre as it may be). I would like to focus on the in-depth assessment. This speed and accuracy test - I should not swear, so I will not, .... I assure you by my anonymous honour and my priesthood: This test is a classical IQ test. The IQ test was designed long ago (in the nineteen-twenties perhaps) to identify the less gifted among us so that they could receive special teaching and become useful citizens even thought the odds were against it. And then you, a person with a higher education, will spend an hour with tasks like deciding whether a rectangle or a cicle fits best with a pentagon and a square, and will have to use half an hour to write your CV on a form - a task that takes any literate person about 5 minutes. Then you will spend two hours with someone who has a background in social sciences or what not, who will use this interview to assess your personality and decide about your fitness for the job with Micro$oft or Coca-Cola or the Olympic Committee of Lillehammer (shudder).

    7. Reference Checking
    Mercuri Urval will check a minimum of three references from past employers.

    8. Decision Reporting
    We provide our client with a clear decision as to the suitability of a candidate for the position.
     
    9. Development Reporting
    We provide the successful candidate with information enabling their successful, and timely, introduction to the company.  This information also assists with their integration into the company.
     
    10. Follow-Up
    Follow up, with both the employer and the employee, at 3, 6, 12 and 24 month intervals, enables the evaluation of the business results of the employee.

This looks nice, doesn't it? The firm does the choosing, the employer employs after spending a huge amount of money for the services of this firm.

Here the tale ends. The slave masters have taken over, and the poor candidate is employed. The result is evaluated by the consultant and those who hired the consultants. Mercuri Urval boasts that they are successful in more than 95 percent of cases. Surprising that there are any unsuccessful employments at all under these conditions.

Reminds me of elections under Communism, in which there was 99 percent participation, and 99+ percent voted for the Communist party. If you opposed this, you were out. It also reminds me of the general satisfaction with IBM computers long time ago, or with today's Microsoft Office and Windows 98. If you used lots of money on the rubbish, you will never admit that the consultants were stupid and incompetent or the software overbloated and buggy. And if you do, your bosses will hang you.

The ethics of it all

I cannot remember seeing the word "ethics" on any of the Reversern pages, but I admit there are quite strong elements of old-fashioned ethics as well. Anyway, I miss the word. Perhaps there is a shyness from these left-wing people of using such an old-fashioned right-wing word. But I think our quest, our mission, as reality crackers and reversers, right-wing or left-wing, religious or atheists or mammonical, is the reintroduction of ethics into society, in opposition to the greed of companies and individuals and states and unions; European ones and others. I think job selection is a useful illustration because it concerns all of us.

But I have more. The link below is to the Online Journal of Ethics. These people are friends, so I give you only the link to their page.

 

Graphology article from the Online Journal of Ethics

The author analyzes graphology from an ethical point of view, and far better than I can ever do. To summarize quite briefly: Your personality is your private domain. No employer has the right to know your personality, only your ability to do the work and function socially so as not to disturb the others - which is what he pays for.

Whatever your academic merits, and whatever you have accomplished: the job selection people offer you the standard procedure - for idiots and professors, for bosses and errand boys. alike. But what they really do, if you are educated enough to understand what they are into, is measuring your ability and willingness to accept humiliation and harrassment.

If you show yourself so meek that you go through the whole procedure without shouting, chances are high that you have the slave mentality that the employer wants from you. If you are not; if you are an unyielding and independent person - a homogenous non compromising reality cracker - you will not accept these conditions.

Economic necessity may force you, but an employer using such methods does not really deserve you among their employees, and it should not be for long.

 

If you are satisfied with an employer that uses such methods, then you will not think long about my warnings. You will probably start cramming for those IQ tests. To the others I say: Now you have been warned. If you have the choice: Find another employer. But even if you manage to keep a straight face and "succeed" in your application, you may find a nice and competent employer next time.

Good luck!

As a priest, I should say: Thou shalt not hate. Leave them alone. Mind your own business. And I have asked myself quite a number of times: What harm do these firms do?

First of all: They are spreading falsehood. "A speed and accuracy test": It is an outright lie. The personality testing is nonexistent, and if it were true, it would be unethical because it is a very severe invasion of the privacy of the job applicant. They are charlatans, with a completely bogus product, and they live comfortably on the fact that there is no child around to tell the world that their product is nonexistent. But they reinforce the general accept in the society for bogus solutions, for swindle and lies.

Reverser says: Damage Micro$oft. I would say: Add Mercuri Urval to your list. Damage Micro$oft AND Mercuri Urval. Blow them off the surface of the earth.

The Priest