Upfront caveat: I am not a lawyer and would never play one on TV. Perhaps a few of my lawyer blogging buddies will comment with their thoughts!
The Church of the Customer offers this interesting post about a Tea store that was posted an open job with a sign that says, "Are you passionate about tea? …We don’t want just anyone. We hire for attitude, not just skill."
This is an excellent idea – we can train the eager and passionate but we can’t enliven the dead.
But hmmmmm….my ex-HR radar goes up and wonders CAN employers hire for passion? Are most interviewers able to ask questions that assess attitude that would pass muster?
Thought 1: If the quality (attitude or passion) is a requirement of the job, then we could make a case. One could make the case that attitude is required in retail. Again, the difficulty is how it is assessed. Passion would be more difficult.
Thought 2: But someone could say that while they are not crazy about tea, they possess the skills and experience to sell it well.
Thought 3: But all things being equal, we certainly can select the candidate who has the most "industry knowledge" of tea. That might loosely translate to a love of tea.
Thought 4: But what if someone had lots of retail experience and that’s the bulk of this job?
Thought 5 and conclusion (my non-lawyer conclusion, don’t take to the bank): You can value industry knowledge and service orientation – these are job related skills. Most people who know a lot about tea will enjoy and have a passion for tea (there might be exceptions that the service orientation questions might filter out). When evaluating candidates, it is reasonable to assume that qualities like passion and attitude factor into the overall impression the person makes (not something central to your advertising campaign, usually).
Should the retailer change their sign to say "Do you know about Tea? If so, we want to hire you!" ???
It is a shame that things have come to this. What do you think?