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Fundraisers, tokens and cutlines Fundraisers, tokens and cutlines
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-07 11:54:54
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You've probably noticed that a lot of companies won't hire anyone who does not have “5 years of consecutive and verifiable experience.” Or those universities won't take anyone with “less than a 3.8 cumulative GPA.” Or that graduate schools won't take anyone with a “GRE score of less than 1,300 points.” Or schools and corporations who won't hire a non-native speaker with a TOEFL score of less than 110, with at least 27 points in the listening section.

Why not allow HR and admissions committees to make the hiring decisions? Why so stringent requirements?

This is a big problem in today's economy.

A lot of universities, schools and even corporations survive on shareholders and fundraisers.

coll0001_400So let's say I'm Yossi Gatt the billionaire. Let's say I donate a few hundred million to ABC University and purchase a few million worth of shares at MNO Corporation.

The problem with all the Yossi Gatt billionaires out there is that soon enough they are going to start imposing staff and meddling with the recruitment process.

So, schools, universities and corporations started imposing all kinds of cutlines to prevent donors and shareholders from imposing students or staff. The kind of cutlines where if the numbers don't make the cut, the resumes and applications get thrown in the trash.

Let's reverse engineer the thing. I'm Yossi Gatt, a starving do nothing. I read books day in and day out. I could not afford to go to school, so I worked odd jobs and got my education by reading books.

Problem for these Yossi Gatts is that the cutline does not allow corporations, graduate schools or organizations to even consider people who don't have a college degree or a very formal education tokens to join the workforce or the school.

So to prevent shareholders and donors from imposing their crowd, universities and corporations started imposing harsh cutlines that mean that those who don't reach the magic numbers are forced to work odd jobs, plus the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

So how do you fix this?

Because cutlines are mostly about tokens, more people collect the tokens (perfect GPA, X number of years experience, X number of publications etc.) soon enough you have wise and smart kids bribing their way to those tokens so they can get the prized job.

For example, they are going to slack around for 5 years but officially work for a given company for 5 years without ever showing up to the job, just because the prized organization requires 5 years' verifiable experience.

Or, they are going to bribe professors and teachers to get perfect GPAs. Or they are going to enroll in those specific schools and reputations where bribing teachers and professors is the way to go. In some cases, they'll pay a fixed sum, never show up for any class, and get that transcript that says they have a perfect GPA.

And of course they are going to pay someone to take the standardized tests for them. Driver's licenses are easy to falsify.

So how do you fix this?

I'd do it this way.

I'd explain shareholders and donors that it's very nice of them to impose underqualified people for the job, that the university or company will accept recommendations, but that HR and admissions will have the final word.

More importantly, I'd focus hiring standards on the actual ability to deliver tasks. Not what the tokens say, but the actual ability to deliver the tasks.

Shareholders and donors will say something like “but anyone can be trained to deliver the tasks.”

I'd tell shareholders and donors the following: In 1997, 25% workers claimed not to be able to perform routine tasks at the workplace. In 2015, the number shot up to 50%.

Here's another one. In 1995 the university drop out rate in North America was around 20 to 25%. In 2015, it shot up to 52%.

If you read between the lines of the numbers, it means that half the workforce fail their on-the-job training. And who says that those workers you will impose won't be up to the task?

Final big problem: it's very debilitating to have all the tokens and yet fail to adapt on the job.

The workplace is a dynamic. It's not just diplomas and experience. It's not just formal experience and achievements. It's not even knowledge and skills.

The number one factor that says that you will adapt to the workplace is matching personalities with colleagues.

That is, if there's a personality mismatch between the individual and his work environment or school environment, no amount of training or knowledge will make the individual succeed.

In sum, universities and job recruitment should be about matching personalities, not about tokens or knowledge or experience or donations or anything else. Of course diplomas and skills and experience are important, but personality usually comes first.  

Each university, each workplace has the fitting personality that goes with it. If your personality fits, the training and achievements will usually naturally follow suit.

If the personalities don't match, soon enough you are going to get conflicts. And because the donors and shareholders imposed the individuals, the personality disputes tend to linger one without ever being resolved.

Final point: the harsh cutlines to get jobs or to get admissions to universities say a lot about the lack of communication between donors, shareholders and their organizations or companies.

If there was a permanent dialogue between donors and organizations, there would be no need for a cutline.

But then of course you have Taiwanese and Chinese and Korean donors who refuse any dialogue and want to impose all kinds of stuff when they make donations, but that's another story for the distant future.


   
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