Mike and Kim had worked together for many years at a large public broadcasting organization. He was a manager, and she was a senior attorney; they often collaborated but reported to different bosses. One day, during what seemed to be a routine conversation in Kim’s office, she cursed and berated Mike about his work. Afterwards, Mike faced a tough choice: risk escalating the conflict by speaking up about Kim’s inappropriate behavior or remain silent in hopes that that the outburst would be an isolated incident. Although this scenario may seem extreme, it’s a situation that many people encounter in the workplace, where too often people do not speak up for themselves and find that they’re treated with disrespect.
I’ve hired a lot of folks over the past 35 years in broadcasting, and thankfully most have been good hires, some excellent, and some even extraordinary. I count in that latter group Robert Krulwich, Robert Siegel, Noah Adams, Scott Simon, David Brancaccio, David Brown, and many others. But I have also encountered job applicants who left me with a bad taste in my mouth — not because of who they were, but rather because of what they did during the application process. For the benefit of future applicants, I thought I’d detail some of what I consider the “cardinal sins” of applying for a job. The obvious time-wasters: those who haven’t read the detailed job description or lifted a finger to research the company or station doing the hiring.