Part 2 of the Job Interview Evolution involves the addition of questions to our interview protocol based on experiences with interviewing and hiring, or more accurately, hiring mistakes. For example, we once hired a research associate for our trial consulting business who, within a few weeks of hiring, reported that she “hated attorneys” and was in favor of tort reform because there are too many lawsuits. We make our livelihood helping attorneys with their lawsuits. How could it be that this young woman applied and interviewed for a job, and answered appropriately to the questions we asked, yet she “hated” the people who paid her paychecks??? Now we ask questions to determine if an applicant has any preconceived ill will toward our clients. We never thought anyone would be so dumb (the only word I can think of in the situation) to not realize that she would be working for attorneys in a trial consulting practice! Another area for questioning had to be developed to determine whether applicants had any past life experiences that would lead them to be traumatized, or even somewhat upset, based on specific case facts. We had 2 cases in which the case facts seriously upset employees because the fact patterns hit close to home. Though we had long screened to ask general questions about whether applicants would object to working on any “type” of case – we don’t prejudge our clients’ cases – getting more specific than that seemed unnecessary. Until that it is, it was necessary and, in one case, the employee actually went to lunch and didn’t come back (or call or anything) until the next day (which became his last day, for many reasons). The point for business owners, or those doing job interviews, is that your old script may be inadequate. It should evolve with the times and based on experiences to avoid making hiring mistakes in the future. And, for us, we have genuinely been concerned about the well being of the employees in question – our cases can be tough, sad, upsetting to us all. It is important not to put people in a “bad place” in their work. It doesn’t help them, us, or most importantly, our clients.
Prior to having the unfortunate (but, thankfully, short lived) experience with the employee who hates lawyers, I would never have believed there would be anyone stupid enough to apply for, then accept, a job in which all revenue earned by the employer is earned by working for attorneys. But. it happened! And now we are writing about it. As far as the other naive employees who did not know themselves enough to realize they would become emotionally distraught when working on a sad personal injury or wrongful death case, because it bore some resemblance to something they experienced, I can be more forgiving, but at the same time, I know that person has no business working for me. My company and I do not place value judgments on our clients and their cases; we work for the attorney who hires us and it is as simple as that. When I embarked on this career a long time ago, I was asked the same pointed questions as I now ask people who want to work for me. There is no place whatsoever in my business for anyone who will cry when we work on a sad case; sad cases are the norm for us. There is no place in my business for anyone who thinks we are working for “the bad guy”; as long as the client pays our invoice timely, it is not possible to be a “bad guy.” There is no place in my business for anyone who over identifies with the subject matter of the case or the parties in the litigation; this is a business, not a family reunion. Don’t read this the wrong way. I am concerned for my employees’ well being, just as I am concerned about the well being of all the research participants who are involved in the work we do. However, of utmost concern to me is my client, the person or corporation placing trust in my company, my employees, and me to work diligently and without personal bias in providing quality information that is crucial to the outcome of the case. Complainers and whiners are not part of the Magnus business model; they never have been and they never will be.
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