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October 12, 2005

Harriet Miers, James Dobson and the Interview Process


Jack & Charmaine with
Dr. Dobson & Mrs. Dobson

On his radio program this morning, Dr. James Dobson said that he feels confident about Miers' future performance on the Supreme Court and that she should be hired confirmed.

His outspoken confidence in her competence has reassured some of those concerned about installing Miers.

This is in stark contrast to hiring an employee where Your Business Blogger learned a painful lesson.

I had given approval to an international sales manager to interview candidates with a particular language skill. We evaluated a woman who claimed to have competency in speaking Mandarin Chinese.

The hiring manager spoke Cantonese and knew enough Mandarin to be dangerous. He tested her. She passed. She was selected.

But the manager was not as enthusiastic at the end of the selection process as I would have thought. There is usually some relief about getting a hiring decision completed. But not this time. The hiring manager's body language was odd; he avoided eye contact. His lack of satisfaction in a job well done should have been a red flag, but we were under other pressures -- the urgent pushing out the important as always.

Nevertheless, she was hired and brought on my payroll.


We quickly noticed her skills were sub par and I released her before too much damage was done. But considerable discretionary management time was consumed because we assumed, to my great embarrassment.

(This is a mistake which You, Gentle Reader would never make -- I merely provide the chance for mature readers of this column to gloat.)

This is the contrast between Dr. Dobson and my sales manager.

Dr. Dobson is providing the vocal and unequivocal endorsement of Miers that all new hires should have. New team members should be enthusiastically backed, and promoted, and celebrated.

My sales manager did not have Dr. Dobson's vocal enthusiasm for his candidate.

If my sales manager had wholeheartedly endorsed his recommendation with the same gusto as Dr. Dobson's support for Miers -- and likewise placed his reputation on the line -- I would have felt much better.

The business lesson is that any new addition to the team must have a champion willing to support and defend the new guy without hesitation. Press Release! Huzzahs! Round of applause for the FNG! (F-in' New Guy)

If not, stop and ask why.

No happiness at hire? Maybe I have the wrong hire, or the wrong manager.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Mudville Gazette has Open Posts. And visit My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy with more on the Miers conflict. Thank you to Soldiers' Angels.

See Basil's Blog with dessert.

Michelle Malkin
has the best updates as always.

The Moderate Voice
details the vetting process.

Charmaine has the political angle.

QandO has given up on Bush.

Posted by Jack Yoest at October 12, 2005 01:35 PM

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What a great way of comparing endorsements--it IS like you say: just like real life, because although so many seem to forget, these are all real human beings (even, yes, the President).
With Dobson being such a well-known public figure (who takes a LOT of criticism by many), he's personally stuck his neck out for Ms. Miers. You just can't fake that.

Lovely picture, by the way--I couldn't let that pass!


Posted by: Beth at October 13, 2005 01:58 AM

Beth, heavy lifting requires personal relationships. Whatever the outcome, everyone appreciates a decision maker or key influencer who will provide support.

I could use a few more friends like that.

The cliche "want a friend in DC? get a dog" may not apply in this case.

Thanks for your input,

Posted by: Jack Yoest at October 13, 2005 12:33 PM

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