I am hiring a few customer service reps. One guy seemed great on paper and was pleasant, but during his interview he made some comments that are border-line racist regarding Hispanics. They weren’t directly hateful but they would have earned him a talking-to if he worked here. Would it be OK to hire him if I talk to him about his comments, making sure he knows not to say these things on the job? He is otherwise a great candidate.
— H.R. Manager
Dear H.R. Manager:
Hire a person who feels free to make borderline racist comments during his interview so long as he keeps his racist tendencies a secret at work? What could possible go wrong with that?
In case that was too subtle, I am calling you a dolt. Happy Double Slap Monday!
One slap to your applicant for being a jerk during his interview by making “borderline racist” comments. A second (harder) slap to you for even considering that you might hire him.
— Evil Skippy
I agree with the slaps. If someone makes discipline-worthy comments at his interview and then gets a job offer, what have you told him about what he can get away with on the job? Especially if he makes lots of money for the company? One function of the H.R. department is to foster a workplace where everyone feels welcome – that means one where people do not make “border-line racist” comments. You’re not doing that based on your letter.
You blew it if you hired the guy. I’m not saying so because of the applicant’s personal opinions. I’m saying so because the applicant felt free to express borderline racism during his interview. That should be a deal breaker in every hiring decision.
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