March 12, 2008

Speed Dating

After two paralegals left our firm -- one wanted to retire, the other took an offer for more money at a personal injury firm -- we're a little short on support staff. So the paralegal who assists me has been shuffled around and she's been at her wit's end. So it's worked out that I'm to be assigned a paralegal to be hired. We ran ads, collected resumes, and out of those resumes I identified five candidates who seem to have the right kinds of qualifications and experience. Today, I interviewed four of them.

It was like speed dating, without the distracting element of having to judge attractiveness. Half an hour, rapid-fire questions, trying to see through the pre-planned, best-foot-forward responses. The candidates had all taken some personality and job preference tests, and I had pages of raw data in front of me for each. At the end of the day, I can't be sure that all of that data is particularly useful, but one factor in the data was of great interest -- "impression management." That's the factor that lets me know how much the applicant is trying to "game" the answers, to give us the responses they think we want rather than the responses that are accurate.

Unfortunately, the two applicants that I liked best after interviewing are the two applicants who scored highest on "impression management." Maybe that means I'm a sucker for the "best-foot-forward" type answers. I'd like to think not, but I have to admit that I may well be vulnerable to that sort of thing. At the same time the interview must be there for a reason. So, I don't know what to do, because now all the psych testing has me suffering from double psychology back against me.

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