Headhunters / Recruiters, Interview Stories, Job Searches, Racism, Sexism

Legal Recruiter Fails To Understand Hiring Process, Basic Social Conventions

Harrison Barnes

This is a humdinger of an article. Harrison Barnes, the Malibu-based CEO of BCG Attorney Search (and its various affiliated companies like LawCrossing and EmploymentCrossing), has penned what can only be described as a diatribe in which he viciously mocks various employees he’s hired for their rank incompetence and embarrassing foibles.

He also elects to exhibit a panoply of racist, sexist, ageist, and ethnophobic attitudes along the way. It’s a stunning degree of openness for someone involved in the human resources business.

But the unintentional comedy throughout the piece is the realization that a recruiter is functionally admitting that he has no idea how hiring works.

The article, delightfully entitled Ass Face, a Retired Actress and a Horny 41-Year Old: Respecting Yourself and Your Job, begins from this premise:

This was the culmination of three bad hires — one right after another — that elucidated to me that great interviewing skills are less important than how much people respect their jobs.

Let’s keep that in mind as we progress.

Barnes kicks off its disturbing descriptions of his past hires with this one:

She wore lots of make-up, was quite heavy, wore short skirts and had enormous breasts that could barely be contained by tank tops she wore. I might as well say it: She looked like a prostitute and very well may be one. When you watch the news and they show prostitutes standing in the street at night in short dresses walking up to cars, you never see their faces. When I saw her face I imagined that was what the prostitutes who walk up to cars look like.

Comparing a former employee to a streetwalker — nice. I think this is really unfair because, for the record, that’s how everyone in L.A. over 40 looks. Zing! I’m not saying someone can’t think these things. I am saying that someone whose business depends on people saying “this guy will believe in me and get me a job” probably shouldn’t publicly announce that he views some folks as haggard streetwalkers. The point, to the extent there’s a point to this article, would be made just as well by saying, “she wore inappropriately casual dress for the office.” Even in revealing clothing, this woman shouldn’t be reduced to a prostitute.

But we’re just getting started:

One day I was sitting in my office and a young Pakistani man with a beard and wearing traditional Muslim dress (head piece and so forth) showed up for an interview that had been scheduled. It was 6:00 pm on a Friday night and I was the only one in the office. I looked up from whatever I was doing and saw him standing in the doorway of my office. It frightened the heck out of me and he appeared so out of sorts for the area I thought he might be there to kill me – or I might already be dead.

Lynndie England called and she wants her schtick back. “He appeared out of sorts for the area” sounds like it was ripped from a legal challenge to racial profiling. I guess he really wants folks to stay out of his beach community. Barnes goes on to describe this particular guy as a bit of a crank in the interview, but the problem here is that Barnes continues to revealingly draw the reader’s attention to facts that should be irrelevant — “Muslims don’t really fit into Malibu’s 92% whitebread demographic” — when pointing out that the guy had terrible interview skills would suffice.

But then again, maybe it’s Barnes — who, remember, makes his living trying to get people hired — who has terrible interview skills. From a different interview story in the same article:

At some point in the interview, though, everything started to break down a bit. I expressed the fact that I thought she would do well and started being very nice to her. I was extremely frustrated about having had so many bad experiences trying to hire for this job. I started being a little bit informal – not in an inappropriate way – just a little informal. I think she took this the wrong way.

“I do not believe in marriage,” she told me. “I think that men and women are naturally inclined to be with multiple partners.”

I fully believe some people are crizazzy, but when Barnes continues to recount wacky interview after wacky interview, it’s worth asking, “Maybe the problem starts on the other side of the desk?” Remember when Barnes found the Muslim man’s tone inappropriate for an interview? Well, Barnes went ahead and hired this woman who went off on her sexual philosophy mid-interview. It suggests where his priorities lie.

And this woman proceeds to not show up for work. And he keeps her on because:

Normally, if someone did not show up for their first day of work – or acted as inappropriately as this woman did in the interviews, I would have nothing further to do with them. Here, however, this woman had an excellent resume and seemed to me the sort of person who would do very well in the job.

Hate to break it to a legal recruiter, but sometimes people lie on résumés.

Then he talks about an employee who dubbed himself — mid-interview — an “Ass Face,” and a woman he sh*tcanned for bringing her drug-addicted son to the office. Probably inappropriate stories to be writing to the world, but whatever. Just remember where we started:

This was the culmination of three bad hires — one right after another — that elucidated to me that great interviewing skills are less important than how much people respect their jobs.

How were any of these people exhibiting “great interviewing skills”? And I’m including Barnes first and foremost.

Ass Face, a Retired Actress and a Horny 41-Year Old: Respecting Yourself and Your Job [BCG Attorney Search]

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