I’ve been seeking a few people to help me organize a big event at work.
So far, our HR Department has been sending me candidates with pristine credentials — most are graduates from National Taiwan University (arguably, the best school in Taiwan) with super high GPAs.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned that brains don’t necessarily equate to competency and efficiency. One girl I interviewed enjoyed high test scores and yet seemed autistic and lost. She took a long time to answer simple questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” she made me question my patience!
The problem is when there’s not enough qualified people to choose from.
Either they’re too slow, too arrogant (such is a curse of getting graduates from good schools… a lot have attitude problems), language skills too lacking, EQ too low… and yes, even have a special case where the person seems qualified on the get-go…
and yet, has body odor. 😮
At the expense of being politically incorrect, I asked myself whether I’d not hire a perfectly qualified individual because well… he smells. 🙁
Don’t get me wrong, I did think about this person for a while. I was weighing whether or not it’s worth it to get somebody who can contribute to a project despite his smell. “You can always pen more perfume around the area and hint that he needs to use anti-perspirant,” my colleague said.
However, I thought about it. If the candidate already smells while in an air-conditioned room, how much more would he affect other people once summer comes? Sure, he can competently work, but at what expense? If he already smells in the 10 minute interview thus affecting the room odor, how much more worse will it be if you worked with him 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
My colleagues will hate me for such a hiring decision. 🙁
So after much deliberation, I decided not to hire this candidate. I think good hygiene is very important in an employee especially since my job deals a lot with facing clients, and an employee represents the institution he/she works for. Having body odor is unfortunate but one cannot expect the candidate to change just because you hired him. Either you can accept him — body odor or not — or you can’t. And in this case, the job is service-oriented so something minor such as body odor may affect how clients view our company.
Okay, so start criticizing me for being politically incorrect, but tell me, if you were in my shoes, would you hire him? Or would you rather look in the long-run and see whether that person is a better fit for the job/company?
Sigh, not hard to make hiring decisions, but it sure is a learning experience. I’m sure this isn’t something that most people deal with often… so pretty lucky, kinda.
Let me know what you think — how important do you think is personal hygiene in making hiring decisions?
What if you encounter factors that are difficult to change such as body odor, would you still hire the person given that he/she is qualified? What are the factors you’ll consider when hiring someone?