# Pragmatic #

Considerable attention of late is focused on the selection and development of leaders and high potential employees.  Oftentimes we lose sight of the fact the entry-level employees and supervisors, particularly those with customer facing responsibilities can make or break a well thought out business model.

This employee selection work if done correctly, gets little recognition. But making poor hiring decisions can have considerable impact on customer perceptions.  I could quote lots of statistics that support this point, but at this time of year a little levity makes the point even stronger. 

I don’t know about you, but I receive my fair share of humorous emails about the oddities of people. All of these are intended to make us laugh for a few seconds as we plow through our unread emails.

The other day I received such an email. This time of year it is not uncommon to receive lists of infamous and dubious accomplishments of our fellow humans. (For example, there is the annual Darwin Awards recognizing people who have self-selected themselves out of the gene pool either by death or sterilization by their own exceedingly foolish actions).

This recent email gave a list of Darwin Award-like actions taken by employees.  I make no claim that these really happened, but they serve as good anecdotes as to why all business should invest in the right pre employment testing.

I have taken the liberty to remove the names of businesses to protect the guilty.

Reason #1

         My daughter and I went through the fast food hamburger take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. 

         She said, 'you gave me too much money.' I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.

         She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request.

         I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said 'We're sorry but we could not do that kind of thing.'

         The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.

Reason #2

         I handed the teller at my bank a withdrawal slip for $400.00. 

         I said "May I have large bills, please"

         She looked at me and said "I'm sorry sir, all the bills are the same size."

         When I got up off the floor I explained it to her....

Reason #3

         When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked.                  

        'Hey,' I announced to the technician, 'it's open!'                                        

        His reply: 'I know. I already got that side.'

Reason #4

         We had to have the garage door repaired. The repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener.

         I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.

         He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.' I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4.

         He said, 'NO, it's not..' Four is larger than two.

Reason #5    

         My daughter went to a local fast food chain and ordered a sandwich. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' 

         He said he was sorry, but they only had ‘iceberg lettuce’.

Reason #6

         I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked,

         'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?'

         To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?'

         He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'

Reason #7

         At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker who was leaving the company due to 'downsizing,' our manager commented cheerfully, 'This is fun. We should do this more often.'

         Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

I rest my case.






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