The Buggrit Online B&N Employment Guide

posted 2/04/03

As a supplementary aid to Store Managers, ASM's, supervisors, and any others who may be forced to do interviews or otherwise participate in the hiring process at Bunns and Noodles Booksellers, I offer the following advice. The information contained herein is based on long personal experience with the company, and is meant to enhance, not replace, any company-issued guidelines you may receive.

Section One: The Applications

As the party, or one of the parties, reponsible for the hiring of new employees at your Bunns & Noodles store, you are going to be the recipient of a sizeable quantity of applications. Your coworkers will show great and often surprising creativity where these are concerned; you will find them on your desk, in your mailbox, on your chair, on the floor, and taped, stapled, and thumbtacked to the walls where you may or may not notice them. It will be a veritable avalanche of goldenrod-colored paper. Do not despair.
Let the applications accumulate. Once a month (perhaps on the first or last day of the month, or on some other significant date you will remember) gather together all the applications you can readily locate and sort them according to merit. This will be difficult, for this requires you to exercise judgement and creativity, qualities you are likely lacking. Again, do not despair, for I will explain in small words how this is to be done.
Skim each application, noting the applicant's name, whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, whether they want full- or part-time employment, how much they want per hour, and whether they filled out the entire application. Also note their previous employment history, if any. You are now going to score the applications as follows:
Illegible handwriting, crossed-out mistakes, or incomplete application: 1 point.
Unusual name, or common name spelled oddly: 1 point.
No previous, or no meaningful employment: 2 points.
Admits to being a criminal: 1 point.
Wants full-time employment: 2 points.
Wants at least $1 per hour more than minimum wage: 1 point.
Wants at least $2 per hour more than minimum wage: 2 points.
States "negotiable" under wage desired: 1 point.
Misspells "negotiable" under wage desired: 1 point.
Horribly butchers the english language on the application: 1 point.

Mentally tally up the score on each application (but never write it on the application; you thereby expose yourself to liability) and sort into piles: 1-2 points, 3-4 points, 5-6 points, and more than 6 points.
Immediately call every applicant who scored more than six points and arrange interviews.1. If there are only a few of these, arrange interviews with the most interesting-looking applicants from the 5-6 point pile.

Section Two: The Interview

When each applicant arrives at your store, he or she will generally accost the busiest employee they can find and ask for you. Be expecting this. Give instructions to all employees likely to comprehend to send interviewees to the cafe, with instructions to await you. When you are eventually notified that your interview is waiting, let the applicant wait for several more minutes. This will make them nervous, and put you at more of an advantage in the interview.
Head out from your office and greet the interviewee. Apologize in a vague fashion for keeping them waiting, then proceed to conduct the interview.
At all times during the interview make sure to keep control of the conversation. Ask leading questions. Ask personal questions. Ask meaningless questions. Pose silly hypothetical situations and ask the applicant how they would react. Finally, ask why the person wants to work for Bunns & Noodles. This is the only answer that's important, and generally falls into three categories: The applicant has a lifelong love of books and wants to work around them, the applicant is a struggling writer/poet/artist and felt that they would fit in well at B&N, and various types of lies which are best translated as "I'm an unemployable loser and figured that your store is big enough that I could slack off here for several months without being noticed while getting paid". Only hire the last type of person if you plan to leave the company soon and dislike the other managers. Do not under any circumstances hire those who profess a lifelong love for books; their intelligence and knowledge will make you look bad. The exception to the above is if the applicant desires $2 or more greater than mimimum wage. Offer them positions, regardless of their qualifications, just to upset them. Otherwise, offer jobs only to the writer/poet/artist types. Yes, they know nothing about books, but neither do the customers, so they'll do fine. Keep in mind that GLBT indivuduals are the most reliable, fastest-learing, and hardest-working employees in the workforce. It's not the Illuminati that runs the world, friend, it's the GLBT folks. Hire them, be nice to them, become friends to them, for the revolution is coming, and you most definately want to be on their side.
Do not make the mistake of hiring people during an interview. Always tell them you'll call them. Then do so, if only to tell them that they're inadequately qualified for the position, or something similar. For people you intend to hire, schedule orientation for as inconvenient a time as possible. Early Saturday mornings work well. To maximize your efficiency (or, rather, minimize your exposure to new employees) schedule multiple orientations simultaneously. As you've likely discovered, don't bother learning their names until they've been there for a month.

It is my hope that these guidelines will serve as an effective supplement to the scant company-issued material on the subject. If you've found this useful, feel free to link to it from your site, and if you should know someone who might find this useful, well, give them a copy, won't you? :)


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