What are you asking?

I received a call from WalMart the other day. First of all you have to understand that I hate WalMart. I refuse to shop there. So I was very surprised they would call me. I wondered if I was the last person on earth who didn't shop there and they were calling to find out why. It turns out they wanted a reference for someone who had applied to work at WalMart.

For a brief moment I was impressed with WalMart. I've had quite a few friends through the years who would say "I used you for a reference on an application" and usually no one ever calls. So here WalMart was actually following up. The HR rep said, "I only have three questions to ask you." "OK," I thought, that can't be too bad. Then she actually asked five questions. Not follow ups, but actual questions. Why set the expectation to three questions and ask five? Did she think I'd hang up when I found out that I would have to answer 5 questions?

One of the questions was very unique. She asked if "I thought the applicant could do the job to which they had applied." So I asked what I thought was a very normal question, "What did they apply for?" Hey, if the guy applied for the CEO spot, maybe he's not up to that. But if he's applied for the stockroom, then we're good. The HR rep told me that she couldn't tell me what job he had applied for. I asked, "So you want me to tell you that the applicant can do the job, but you won't tell me what the job is?" She said, "Yes." That sound you hear is what little respect I had for WalMart leaving the room.

I almost gave my friend a bad review - I wanted to save him the pain of working for a company like that. But I didn't. I told the HR rep that "They could do the unknown job very well." She seemed ok with that.

If you are going to ask someone to do something - make sure there's value added to it. Don't ask them to give you give you a reference for something unknown. Don't ask them to do more than you originally asked for.

It doesn't seem that hard....

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Hi Bill! I wanted to let you know that I nabbed your "no Walmart" picture for my post. I found you while searching on google for a picture.

I'm a SDA too! Nice to meet you.