How Far is Too Far When Setting Hiring Criteria?


I once met with a company that openly admitted and bragged about their hiring criteria. They were certain they had figured it out—perfectly. This I had to hear!

The company prided itself on being a ‘green company.’ Being green, they felt was a core aspect of the business. Decisions were made and green policies were enforced around this concept. Being green was a key aspect in all of their marketing and they even educated customers and prospects about it. I commend this company for taking such an active role in the green movement, but when it comes to hiring they showed how little they know about ‘being green’ and making decisions. Once this company made the decision to bring someone in for an in-person interview they ultimately made their decision based on the car the prospect drove to the interview! They felt that anyone hired had to be personally active in the green movement and was expected to drive a Prius (the only mainstream electrical car at the time). If a prospect showed up in a truck or Hummer they were automatically disqualified even though it has been reported for years now that the Prius is no more environmentally friendly than any other car mainly because of the nickel battery—in fact it took almost 50% more energy to drive and build a Prius than a Hummer.

Ok, let’s set aside the technical environmental aspect of the situation and look at how this company makes decisions. This company felt being green outweighed the prospective employee’s skills, traits, or interaction with the rest team. Is this right? Is judging prospective employees by the type of car they drive really going to tell you if they would be an asset to your team? I wonder if they have the same expectations for their current employees. Are all current employees expected to just go buy a new car, house, or boat because it is marketed as green? How many highly qualified and skilled people have they turned away because of this narrow-mindedness? I also wonder how this hyper-obsession has caused them to make poor decisions in other areas of their business. And let's not forget to mention the legal implications of this . . . Oh and it doesn't look like hybrids are making much improvement, check this out.

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