Hume Resource and the Egyptian Book of the Dead Recruiter

As he slogged the last few miles through intense desert heat, Hume turned his face away from the stinging sand and thought about his goal. He had almost frozen in the desert last night but his search for the elusive clues that led him to this desolate place drove him onward. The prize had been almost in his grasp at one time, but the evil Dr. Kon Zultant stripped the map from his fingers and disappeared into the desert. That was five years ago and the Doctor had died a horrible death while translating its mysteries. Now, the prize was only hours away. After what seemed like days, Hume reached the lost pyramid. It was covered by sand most of the time and only disclosed itself when the early spring weather patterns aligned with the last phase of the moon. Hume fell to his knees as he searched for signs of the entrance corridor. “The door should be six feet away from the shadow of the obelisk,” he thought as he started digging. Doctor Zultant had used Hume’s stolen map to find the same spot ten years earlier. His desiccated dying body was found only a few miles away. Before he died, he mumbled incomprehensibly about the deeper meaning of the words. His hands clenched and unclenched spasmodically as if reaching for some elusive truth. Suddenly, the sand fell away through an opening in the stones. The doorway! As Hume pried open the stone blocking the door, his lamp pierced the darkness and illuminated the sacred chamber. There, in the back, where the Doctor had left it, lay a tattered package wrapped in ancient sheepskin. It had been dried by the sand, but was still perfectly preserved. Hume trembled as he reverently raised the book into the light. Yes, he could barely see the inscription made by some long dead priest and master of the old ways. The Egyptian Book of the Dead Recruiter was in his grasp, at last! “Finally,” he thought, “the secret questions are here. I’ll soon know to find the best applicants. The hand of judgment will be mine, at last. And, after I extract its’ secrets, I will sell it to the highest bidder! Ha-ha-ha-ha!” It was nightfall by the time Hume returned to his tent with the book. He anxiously lit the kerosene lamp and turned up the flame to examine his prize in the yellow light. As he removed layer after layer of ancient sheepskin, the tent slowly filled with an ethereal haze as if something mystical was imminent. Still, Hume was careful not to let his trembling fingers rob him of his prize. He began to make out letters scratched in an ancient language – a language used exclusively by Egyptian Recruiters over 5,000 years ago. “Let’s see. Here it is. Yes! I can see the first question!” Hume’s lips moved silently as he translated. The dried ink glyphs gradually gave up their secrets. Question 1 — What gives you joy? “What the $%#$@#?” exclaimed Hume to no one in particular, “That’s silly! That’s not even a good question. It doesn’t tell you anything at all about job qualifications and it’s probably illegal! Where’s question number 2?” Hume’s lips moved again. Question 2 – What would you do if someone asked you to do something unethical? “Damn! That’s not any better than the first question. Only a fool would admit to doing something unethical. This thing just has to get better…and soon.” Question 10 – What do you think you owe to your employer? Hume’s mood grew dark. “These are all foolish questions. They encourage people to give the socially correct response. You would have to be brain dead to trust the answers. Didn’t the ancient recruiters have any secrets, or were they all dependent on using leading questions?” His eyes flicked over the pages faster and faster. Question 32 – If you could do anything in the world, what would you do? “Oh, brother,” Hume thought, “this is junk! The Egyptian recruiters didn’t know any more about selecting people than most recruiters do today. In fact, this book could have been written last month! Secrets my $#%@$#. At least the better recruiters in the 20th century know that finding good candidates starts with a job analysis. This gives them the understanding of which competencies are required for the job. If you don’t have a target list of competencies, any question will get you there. Not just any competencies, mind you, but measurable, job-related competencies!” “They also know that directed interview technology avoids lying and socially desirable answers. If the person hasn’t demonstrated the competency in a past job, they probably won’t demonstrate it in the future, either. And, if the person hasn’t had a chance to demonstrate the competency in the past, recruiters can use carefully controlled simulations to see if they can do it in the present. Finally, recruiters can use tests of intelligence and motivation to indicate whether the person has both the ability to solve job related problems and the willingness.” Still, Hume slowly, hopefully, searched the remainder of the pages. The questions were all weak: “What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in the past three years?” “Why should we hire you?” or “What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?” As he translated the last page, Hume came to the grim realization of what he must do. Hume threw the old book to the ground. The pages scattered. “Where do people get the idea they can find a set of magic questions? There were no magic questions 5,000 years ago and there are no magic questions today! The only secret in the Egyptian Book of the Dead Recruiter is that there are no secrets – there are just skill, hard work, and diligent application of sensible selection practices.” The tent blazed brightly in the night. The old papyrus ignited quickly. It soon became a raging pyre that illuminated the sand in all directions. Hume turned his back on the inferno as he walked slowly to his horse. “How many thousands of recruiters have been mislead by the search for the perfect questions and found only foolishness,” he thought. “The evil Doctor Zultant thought he knew the mystery, and even trained hundreds of people to believe in theoretical answers, open-ended questions, and hypothetical responses. In the end, though, the desert heat destroyed his mind. Burning this wicked manuscript should end forever the search for secret questions that never existed.” Epilogue: In a quiet library on the other side of the world, a young recruiter was searching for a better way to screen applicants. “Hmmmm,” he mused, “If I just had a list of magic questions…”

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