Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Bogus Job Interview

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. Our workplace has a rule that new hires must be advertised and CVs solicited. But many times the hiring boss already knows who he needs for the job. Is it ethical to waste the time of the other applicants in this way?

A. A situation similar to yours is discussed in the mishna. The fourth chapter of tractate Bava Metzia discusses at length the laws of onaah, which we can translate as "taking advantage" of someone. In the following passage we will translate it as "exploitation".

    Just as there is exploitation in commerce, so is there exploitation in speech. Don't say to [the seller], "how much does that item cost?" when you don't want to buy. (1)

The corresponding Talmudic passage adds:

    Rabbi Yehuda says, Also don't set your eye on a deal when you don't have any money. (2)

What is the exact nature of this problem? The commentators present various perspectives.

The prominent medieval authority Rabbi Menachem HaMeiri enumerates a number of problems with this practice.

  • The merchant may feel that your refusal to buy after he quotes you a price means that his prices are too high. He may be moved to lower his prices and thus suffer a loss, due to your gratuitous request.
  • You are causing the merchant wasted effort.
  • You cause the merchant disappointment, because he had an expectation of making a sale yet did not.

It is easy to see that all of the Meiri's considerations apply to hiring as well:

  • After being rejected, the applicant may feel that his qualifications are inadequate or his salary demands exaggerated, when in fact he may have had a good chance of getting the job had he been seriously considered.
  • Preparing for a job interview and undergoing one requires great effort. Multiply that by the number of gratuitous applicants and you get an idea of the wasted effort involved in your firm's hiring process.
  • Even if the rejection does not lead to any substantive change in the applicant's hiring strategy or his prospects, every failed application certainly causes disappointment and sorrow.

So if the hiring manager really already knows whom he intends to hire and the rest is just a futile exercise, this practice runs up against the prohibition stated in the mishna.

On the other hand, we can infer from the mishna and from Rabbi Yehuda that the problem arises only when the issue is closed: "when you don't want to buy", "when you don't have any money". In that case there is a total waste of effort on the part of the merchant. However, there is nothing wrong with shopping around with an open mind even if you have found a satisfactory deal; in that case, the merchant is being given a fair, if slim, chance to make the deal himself.

So the practice you describe can be justified if the manager approaches the applicants with an open mind. He doesn't have to ignore his special knowledge of the abilities of his favored applicant and treat that applicant equally, judging him only on his CV and the interview. (Although some workplaces, in the interest of fairness, have strict rules regarding what criteria can be considered in hiring.) But he does have to seriously consider the interviewing applicants and be willing to hire one if that seems to be in the best interests of the employer.

Especially in the current job market, when jobs are so scarce and disappointments so rife, employers should be careful not to exploit the eagerness of job applicants, and to treat the interview process with the same seriousness that it is approached by the prospective hires themselves.


SOURCES: (1) Mishna, Bava Metzia 4:10 (2) Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 58b

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

To comment or pose a question, please click here.

ARCHIVES



JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology.

THE JEWISH ETHICIST, NOW IN BOOK FORM

You've enjoyed his columns on JWR for years. Now the Jewish Ethicist has culled his most intriguing — and controversial — offerings in book form.
HARDCOVER
PAPERBACK
Sales help fund JWR.









© 2009, The Jewish Ethicist is produced by the JCT Center for Business Ethics