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Monday, December 1, 2014

Either The Hair or The Position: The Selection Bias

I am sure everyone knows that good looks don't just impress the others but give you a cool look too. Now the hair that comes in between is mostly a woman's problem. However there is nothing more attractive and tidy than a clean shaved man. And this is the impression my boss has. He has absolutely no hair, not even on the head (so you can understand the competition , the insecurity he feels when people with long hair on the head or otherwise walk in).

It was the interview  season last week in my lab and as the senior most student I was supposed to screen out the best students and send it to my boss. The project students whom we hire only for an year are anyways difficult to get as the duration is too less in research to achieve a substantial goal. The students you get are the ones planning to go abroad, trying to get a good GRE score etc. and this is their waste period pass time. The other category of students are those who failed to get an admission into a PhD via the three sets on entrance tests and two rounds of interview that we have to go through on an average. Its tough and India has a huge population. These unfortunate ones that come for a position, are sometimes really good students may be a little slow but hard working and you don't want to break someones heart. The worst part of working under someone is you get to be the bearer of the bad news and never the good one, which is of course reserved for them! 

So I started screening the first profiles. Some of them had pasted a passport size pictures of their CV thankfully for me to zoom and look for the slightest hint of stubble. Poor ones who failed at this stage. So I chose the girls (even here I looked for the unwanted hair, trust me!) and thanks to the zoom feature that comes with Adobe Acrobat Reader, I could actually zoom into the fine features of the individuals , trying to spot a spec of hair that could have me blasted instead of them.

The next step a week later was personal interview and the 10 shortlisted candidates arrived from across the country. I reached two hours before the official time at 8:00AM and started fidgeting at the entrance to catch hold and inspect any candidate with un-necessary hair. Since there were 4 guys and 6 girls in the final lists I bought 4 razors with me from the Gillette Store on Flipkart, in case someone needs the job really a lot I could help them (see I am a good person).

The guys came in and alas! three of them had either a stubble or a faint mustache. These had shaved in their passport size pictures taken long ago when their sense of fashion had probably not developed. But who can explain that to my boss. It would be my fault it they entered like this and more than that just be sent home without any questions being asked. They were already tensed to face an interview and I was thinking of a way to bring it up. So I decided to take a small interview and two out of these three boys really knew their basics well, so I told them the truth that its either the hair or the position and they were truly intelligent to grab those Gillete razors from me and get going.

In the end as expected it is one of these guys who got selected and my boss was happy for I did a thorough job, though he would never know how thorough I really was that day. As the day ended he treated me to unlimited tea and I gave him the rest of Gillette razors remaining with me that he will need for his tenure here. That was the most practical gift ever and to this day he uses them, he also did work well in the lab and my boss is currently satisfied with him. All thanks to Gillette.

'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

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