I'm always hunting for ways hiring managers to more accurately determine who to hire that DON'T involve the requirement of being a better interviewer.  In the past I've suggested that you should look at obvious traits like obesity and smoking addictions.  I recommended that you look at the credit history of someone to determine if they know how to stay true to their word.

With that in mind, I found the most interesting article the other day about the Ivy League Advantage.  It was the summary of work completed by a young Sociologist from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.  She concluded, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose".  Here are some of the highlights:

  • "Elite professional service employers" rely more on academic pedigree than any other factor. For recruiters, it's prestige that counts, rather than "content" like grades, courses, internships, or other actual performance. That's because if you got into a "super-elite" school -- which essentially means Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), and Stanford -- you must be smart.
  • Why spend effort looking for "that one needle in the haystack" at a "safety school" like the University of Michigan or, heavens forfend, Bowling Green, when the run-of-the-mill Yalie's still a prince. Even "second-tier" Ivies like Brown, according to Rivera, are suspect for the top firms.
  • While going to a super-elite gets your penny loafer in the door, that isn't enough. Rivera says it's leisure pursuits that seal the deal. Employers use these as "valid markers" or "proxies" of a candidate's "social and moral worth," all the more so for time-intensive sports that "resonate with white, upper-middle-class culture." Think lacrosse, squash, crew, and field hockey. Skip football, basketball, and soccer. And no sport at all suggests "nerd," which correlates to future "corporate drone."

 

 


Views: 111

Comment by Valentino Martinez on June 19, 2011 at 2:35am

Jonathan,

 

Besides your disdain for smokers, hefty people, and people with questionable credit ratings, never mind those caught in recent massive downsizings and in the housing debacle--are you promoting "ivy league pedigree" as the ideal "elite" candidate for employment consideration--your needle in the haystack? 

Comment by Jonathan D. Davis on June 20, 2011 at 10:38am
Good question Valentino.  In fact, no.  What I am trying to point out is that there are certain things that, when they add up, can be a recipe for disaster.  Kind of like that old saying, "When does 1+1=3?".  Clearly, not everyone can be a fit non-smoker with a stellar credit history and an ivy league  education BUT, every thing from that model that you start to deviate from makes the potential for failure that much higher.
Comment by Valentino Martinez on June 20, 2011 at 10:54am
If the the Wall Street financial debacle and "The smartest guys in the room (ENRON/ANDERSON CONSULTING)" disaster says anything--I would remove ivy league education from your model.

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