Monday, April 4, 2011

Tailoring a bid

That's a term politicians use when they know in advance who they're going to hire. In essence, they tailor the job description so that only one person qualifies... the one person they want to get the job.

For instance, if a politician wanted to find a job for his brother-in-law who had experience as both a building inspector and an explosives expert in the military, the description might read something like this:

"Wanted: Building inspector. Experience necessary, knowledge of explosives required."

Sure, they sound like totally unrelated skill sets, but this kind of stuff happens all the time. Maybe not as far-fetched, but you'd be surprised.

Now let's see how managers "tailor a bid" for newsroom positions.

Suppose an anchor position is coming up and two people who have filled in extensively on the anchor desk want it. One is clearly superior to the other. But for whatever reason the News Director wants the job to go to the less talented person, who happens to have experience as a consumer reporter. The better substitute anchor does not. So the posting would read:

"Wanted: Main anchor for 6 & 11 pm newscasts. Will also be responsible for weekly consumer reports on 5 pm newscast."

So even though the other anchor is more talented, she can't legally complain because she doesn't have the required consumer reporting experience.

This will explain why many times you're the better candidate but didn't get the job. The fix was in before you even applied.

Many times managers will "already know who they want to hire" so they'll simply tailor the ad to specifically fit that person.


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