Memory Lane Monday: Pretty in Porn

by Susan on January 22, 2013

Source: rosebeforehoes.tumblr.com via Susan on Pinterest

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Memory Lane Monday post, so if you’re new, you might want to catch up on the time I took several VIPs into an occupied bathroom; or the time I thought I had lice at work; or the time I learned what a mickey was.Today’s memory is about the worst hiring decision I ever made.  I had just moved to a new city to open a hotel that was part of the hippest, coolest, most desirable chain in the world.  At least, according to its leaders.  Part of my training included a lot of unwritten rules and reading between the lines about the kinds of people we should be hiring.  I am bad at subtext on a good day, and I could never really tell if they were asking me to go on a diet or telling me to only hire hotties.  Either way, I got the message that physical appearance was at least as important as technical skill.

Yikes.

One of my first hires would be someone to help me with marketing.  I got a zillion and five applications, most from recording artist/charity founder/recent college grad types with no hotel experience and no grasp of subject-verb agreement.  I met with tons and tons and tons of people.  Since my preferred candidate would have to be interviewed by the several people in charge of me at the brand, I carefully weighed brains and beauty so that I could spare someone the “you can’t hire a fat guy” smack down.

I finally settled on a woman who seemed to have it all: style, substance, and the relentless energy and enthusiasm it would take to get a hotel open.  She made the rounds and was vetted by what seemed like far more people than a Supreme Court Justice faces.  She signed an offer letter and established a start date.

And she didn’t show up on her first day.

This process of having a billion people interview a candidate took weeks.  Everyone else I had seen was crazy or too something to last in this ridiculous place.  I was getting desperate.  I called around to my counterparts, one of whom who had been working for this particular group of people for a lot longer than me.  He told me he had the perfect guy, and I quickly set up an interview for the following week.

In between that call and the interview, I got sick.

Really sick.  Fever, spinning head, can’t move or walk sick.  Unfortunately, the HR person who had been assigned to help me was kind of incompetent (a whole other story), and my health insurance was in limbo.  Time was ticking, though, and I needed to get this position filled.  So I went to the appointment and suffered through.

Dude was gorgeous.

The candidate was one of the best-looking humans to walk the planet.  He was friendly, energetic, clever, and had already gotten the stamp of approval that would short-cut the vetting process.  I decided to hire him and then crawled back into the hotel room bed, where I stayed for four days until my fever broke.

The new guy started off OK.  He needed a lot of hand-holding, but he was lovely to be around.  As time passed, I started to see that he didn’t have most of the skills he had sold me in the interview, and I got worried.  For as many people as I had to consult to hire him, that number was double if I wanted to fire him, so I really tried to make it work.

Then he called in.  Not sick, no family emergency – he called in JAILED.  He got a DUI.  After a work event.  Ouch.  Things began to unravel.  His references started to seem suspect.  His family story was filled with lies and sketchiness.  He wasn’t completing his work, and what he did finish was….lacking.

And then I got the note.

On my desk one morning when I arrived was a small slip of paper with a website URL written on it.  I went to the site, which was the sales page for a male stimulation tool (I’m not linking to that from here, but you can probably shine the light on it yourself).  And there on page one was my employee.  Nekkid as the day is long.

Ick.

Needless to say, the guy had to go, for all kinds of reasons.  I later learned that he introduced himself in professional settings with, “I do porn.”

The lessons I learned from this experience could fill a warehouse, but I think the main one is that, when your company cares more that you hire pretty people than talented ones, it’s the wrong company.  At least for me.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike April 5, 2013 at 4:56 am

. . . and on the same note, do you have any idea what the old ‘hospitality industry’ truism, “Hire for personality and train for ability” gets you? Psychopathic personality types. (Really. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061147893/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0061147893&linkCode=as2&tag=valleylight-20 )

🙂

Susan January 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Of course it does. Ha.

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