chai2
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 08:34 pm
Does anyone know anything about their culture?

I'm not sure if I've done the right thing.


I had phone screened this woman, I'll call her A. for a job.

As is my norm, I chatted with her for a bit, before discussing the job. Helps to put people at their ease.
I had found her to be intelligent, and after a bit, readily answered my questions, volunteering information, etc.
So, I set her up up come in today for a group interview.

Beforehand, I did a little research as to the business culture there, as well as some everyday things. It was no surprise to read that family is of utmost importance, as well as honor, and keeping face. I already knew that hospitality was very important.
One thing I didn't know was that in dealings when other peope are around, they may say they are making a commitment, but with no intention of following through. This is a matter of keeping face. It's accepted nothing is a done deal on the first pass, and they will always be deliberations and negotiations.
I made a note to address this last bit to the intervew team, as that is obviously not the way something would stand up here.

So, today A. comes in. She dressed very well, was friendly, polite, organized. In fact, anyone would call her beautiful. I offered her water, tea, whatever, as I do with anyone coming in to interview, which she accepted.
I took her back to an unused office, where the company required all applicants for this particular position to take an online assessment. While walking back there I said. "So, you're from Morroco? I've always wanted to visit there" She immediately replied "ok, when I go on vacation, I'll bring you as my guest" and laughed. Obviously, she felt she connected with me. We spoke a minute or 2 more about how she came to move here, how Morrocan women want to be modern, etc....then I left her to her test.

By the time she was done, the interview team had shown up (all people I know very well, and are warm, intelligent people. I had already briefed them on how she had done thus far. I went in with her and introduced her around, then went to pull up her test results.

They were excellent. No distortion in her scores, which occurs when people try to "fake good", she tested as consciencious, enjoying working with others, and with high integrity, etc.

I was on the phone not too many minutes later, and I heard her come out and leave. I thought "that wasn't long enough". I went in, and the 4 people there were just staring at me.
It turns out A. just literally sat there, giving either one word answers, or not even answering a question at all. She sat hunched over the whole while, and there was no talking to her.
Of course they believed she was different with me, and where shocked when we went over the testing.
One person volunteered that she had passed A. out in the hallway, on her way to the rest room, and A. had been speaking in another language on her phone, very quickly, and perhaps upset. All we could think was that she had gotten a distressing call, but was not going to tell us about it. As it looked on the surface, there would have been no sense refering her to the next level in the hiring process. I said I would call her later and try to find out what happened.

When I called, I asked her if everything was all right, and she said yes. I let her know that the interview team wasn't able to make any decisions, based on what happened. I asked her if she was just nervous, and that if she was, there wasn't any need to be, because I knew them well, and they were lovely people.

Here's where I thought it got interesting. She said to me "It's very hard for me to talk about myself in front of strangers. How do they know I'm not lying?"
I'd never heard anyone say something like that, and asked her to explain. She said "When I'm working with someone, they see who I am"

wow....

In other words, don't go by what I say, go by what I do.

That, is really great.

That's when I think I grasped a little better what I'd read about how they may not follow through on what they might say, not because they are lying, but, words are just words.

ok, thinking about what I'd read about relationships, I went for broke...I said, "A. even though we've only known each other a little while, I think of you....well....as a new friend. I'm not just saying this, but you did remarkably well on that test you took, and also from our talking....it showed that you are someone with a lot of honor, and I know that is true. Unfortunatley, you're going to need to show these people, so we can move you on to talking to the person you would actually be working for. How about if I ask the woman who was sitting to your left, the head of the group, to meet with you one on one over where her office is? You could just go over there, and have a cup of coffee with her, and talk." I was thinking that another person on the group interview team works at the same place, and after talking to one, the 3 of them could then talk, and they could take her out on the clinical floor to see how she interacts with patients (btw, this is the work she did in her homeland). It seemed that, in absence of family, her coming to know someone individually would be an open door for her to interact with others freely.....If you are my friends friend, you are my friend also. you know?

A. told me a couple of times how grateful she was to me. Not like I was going to set things up, but I think because I seemed to understand.

Now I'm wondering....was her saying this to me more of the "don't expect me to commit even though I'm saying it to you", or is this the real A. speaking?

What do you think?
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 08:55 pm
@chai2,
I'm a little dubious about that "words are just words" thing. In some of the middle and near east regions, words are a lot more than just words.

Maybe you could ask Freeduck, if you are still interested. I think her husband is Moroccan.
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 09:10 pm
I think she wants you as her 'love slave'. Be careful of 'those kind' of women!

Just offering an alternative theory mind you.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  3  
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 09:15 pm
@chai2,
I don't think this has anything to do with culture. It is the classic problem of figuring out whether an individual can do a job will while fitting into an existing organization (and unfortunately, there is no good way to do this).

This woman obviously doesn't do well in a group interview. (There are lots of non-Morroccans who fit in this category). Is there any skill related to her performance being interrogated by a group of strangers that would affect her ability to either do the job, or to fit into the organization? (She would not be a good PR spokesperson). If not... then this probably shouldn't be held against her.

I feel strongly that there is no way to infer the questions you are asking about her character from what happens. An interview is a completely artificial situation that probably means nothing about how she acts in real life.

If there is enough you like about this candidate to justify it (even though she doesn't do well in group interviews) then why not hold another round of one on one interviews-- with the specific concerns each person on the team has about her in mind?

It seems to me you are reading too much into what happened... there is no way to be sure of what it meant without another interview (and even this might not help... but without it you can't assume anything).


Ionus
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 09:33 pm
@chai2,
I have worked inside several different cultures and I have yet to find one that doesnt habitually tell the truth. The main trick is to ask a direct question without any hint of the answer you would like. Many cultures have strong negative reactions to being the centre of attention as in an interview where they are asked about personal things. Was there a man in the group who was "staring" at her ? Did they question her ability or just ask about previous experience ? Does she have a family who are against her working there ?

When she was on the phone later it was most likely to complain to a friend/family member about how awful it had been.

For men in Muslim culture the talking stops when agreement is reached and you shake hands. I dont know about Muslim women.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 09:34 pm
@ebrown p,
I'll claim bias for this woman, just gut.

On the other hand, I'm often wrong.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 09:40 pm
@ebrown p,
I agree with ebrown. She might be really shy or terribly uncomfortable having all those eye staring at her, judging her. I've frozen during group interviews. I highly doubt this is cultural at all. I've met people from Morocco and just like my neighbours they can be as different as night and day. I would also find any reference that infers all people of any group thinking alike suspect. I think she's right too, that sometimes you don't really get to know a person until they actually do whatever it is you need done. I've hired people who just sucked once they sailed through an interview and vice versa. So, I'd say if you got a good feeling about her, go with your gut.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 07:57 am
Just PM'd freeduck to ask her to look at this thread.

As far as nervous in front of the group?

I don't totally buy that.

I've left out some of the exact things she said to me during our friendly conversation, but it was clear she was not a shrinking violet, based on experiences she related.

In addition, on the assessment, she tested as high end as bold and unafraid. I've taken that test myself, and there really isn't a way to fake that. If you try, I'd be informed in the results there was a distortion factor.


She made it clear she was quite modern. She said at one point "I don't wear the burka."

BTW, the interview group consisted that day of 4 woman. They don't just barge in with questions, but do their best to make it a friendly, conversational situation. They sure don't bore their eyes into you, it's more like "want some cheese and crackers? Let's us all talk and get to know each other."

That cell phone call? It occured BEFORE the interview started. That's why I was guessing she got bad news, and was preoccupied. Based on our post coversation, I don't think it was even that. Maybe more like she was speaking in her native tongue, which would sound really rapid to my ears at least.

I could be totally wrong, but it's more of a feeling of "I haven't been properly introduced." On the after conversation, when I suggested meeting with one person "over coffee", it felt like she took that more as "we'll have time to feel each other out" If this is the way it goes, it would be interesting to see how she takes to a third person entering, like into a situation that was already comfortable.

Oh....one other thing.....
When I was sitting her down to take the test, she made it a point to pull a photo out of her handbag to show me.
It was a picture of her at work in Morocco, at the clinic she worked at.

It was her, a doctor, nurse, a 4th person and a patient. They were all smiling and relaxed. Two of the people were male, and she wasn't having any problem with that in the pic.

I'm not saying Moroccans don't value the truth, far from it.

However, perhaps if they feel they would loose face in front of others, they will say what they feel will prevent that. Later, when they do commit, they live up to that.

I don't know.

I'll report back later to let you know what happens.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 11:47 am
@chai2,
I don't understand what your question is Chai.

She did well in every individual situation (phone, test, one on one). She did poorly in front of a group. We suggested that perhaps she doesn't do well in front of a group.

You say you "don't totally buy that", Well, what is your explanation then? I don't see any other reason that someone would do well in a one on one situation but would be unable to do well in a group. In my experience, one on one is the best way to get to know someone (unless they are being hired to work in front of groups).

What is the reason you wouldn't hire her?

I hear that you are nervous about hiring her... I don't understand what you fear will happen if you do hire her.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 12:54 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
I've taken that test myself, and there really isn't a way to fake that.


You are putting way to much faith in these tests.

They are snake-oil. They are horoscopes for bureaucrats. They make boat-loads of money for the companies that produce them with no scientific validity (although they do through around the requisite pseudoscience terms). Most real scientists hold them in disdain.

Of course you can fake a multiple-choice test-- after all, many of us who don't take them seriously at all have jobs.

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made."
Jean Giraudoux
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 08:29 am
If you can't understand what I'm saying, and you've seen many of my posts here, how can you assume you understand perfectly what this woman was expressing, when you've never met or, and, especially, have not indicated you even have any insight into that particular culture?

How can you assume you understand someone from a different culture, where it's not so much what you know, but who you know, when you don't even understand someone from your own?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 10:27 am
@chai2,
Quote:
How can you assume you understand someone from a different culture, where it's not so much what you know, but who you know, when you don't even understand someone from your own?


Chai,

Why not just understand someone as an individual? Sure, my culture is a part of who I am... but it is not an overriding part.

Any understanding of American culture that someone might think thy have will not give much of an insight into who I am.

This woman is an individual human being with her own ideas, her own strengths, her own weaknesses, her own likes and dislikes. She is a likely to fit into a Moroccan stereotype as you are to fit into an American stereotype.

I think you are looking for some rule that applies to all Moroccans (maybe-- oh yes, Moroccans don't like big rooms-- or "if you had only served tea everything would have gone swimmingly").

But think of how silly this is when applied to your own culture. If someone explained your behavior with the trite phrase "Americans are impulsive" or reasons that you discomfort was because "Americans expect cream to be served with coffee".... We are all different.

All I am suggesting is that you treat this woman as an individual. If there is something that concerns you-- then deal with it human being to human being.

Since she has shown a preference for interacting one on one... why not have another one on one interaction where you can talk to her about what is important about her ability to do this job?



0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 11:03 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

What do you think?
Well, one of the possibilities is to give her what she wants;
put her on probation. That word means to prove herself.

That leaves unanswered questions as to whether
that gives her an unfair advantage over native Americans.

It certainly is an interesting situation.





David
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 12:21 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
Hi David
Here's the thing.

During our after conversation, she in no way indicated that she was nervous, or was afraid of the group, just that she was uncomfortable talking about herself to people she didn't know.
There's a difference.

From what I've read from different sources, and what I picked up from her, in her saying "how would they know I wasn't lying?", brings up the exact thing I was saying before.

She knows in the U.S. we expect people to tell in like it is with however we are talking to, with one person or a group.

In Morraco, my understanding is that saving face is very important, and that you wouldn't say something in a group that would shed a bad light upon yourself.

She's in between both these things....knowing what an American would expect, and and what her upbringing has reinforced in her. I'm thinking her comment was meaning "I might have to lie to not make myself look bad, my upbringing demands it. But the Americans in the interview did not understand that about me, so I just didn't say anything."

Looking back, I think that she had expected me to sit in on that group interview, and maybe I should have. I do that on occassion when the candidate is very interesting to me.

I may not have been perfect in my trying to make her feel comfortable, but I know she sensed I was trying to do my best. She appreciated that. I truly think my expressing to her on the phone afterwards that I considered her a new friend, and knew she was an honorable person, sealed her relationship with me.
If I had been in the room, and she clammed up, I know I would have interjected a little conversation to draw her out, maybe expressing something that happened to me, and encouraging the interviewers to do the same.

Another thing, on both the phone, and in person, when she had started to say something that happened to her, and hesitated, I shared that "oh, that's happened to me too" and she would then more freely talk.
I think that might have been one key to the problem, making yourself vulnerable to her, showing your neck, trusting her....then she would do the same.

Unfortunately, I'm not in the position to hire her.
I can though make sure she's given a chance to ease into a situation. She deserves that.
I know the ultimate person she would be working under, whose decision it would be, and one of the interviewers is his assistant.

If I can act as the conduit to the group, she can then act as the conduit to the person hiring.

I repeat, I don't see any evidence that this person was afraid.

freeduck freeduck, where art thou freeduck?
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 02:01 pm
@chai2,
Understood, Chai.

My bottom line suggestion is:
if u want her on the staff (I infer from your posts that u DO),
then do whatever is within your power to help her out.

The same as with any other applicant,
if problems arise later, thay can be addressed in the future
and upon the basis of better known relevant facts.

I hope that the result will operate to your delight.





David
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 02:08 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

freeduck freeduck, where art thou freeduck?
If u wanna send up a flair, either a PM
or dedicating a new thread with "FREEDUCK" in its title might get thru.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!




David
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 03:54 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDavid is making a lot of sense (except the part about putting FreeDuck's name in the title of a thread as a way to have flair).
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 05:13 pm
well my goodness, ebrown, I suppose that's why I sent her a PM as soon as I saw her name mentioned in this thread yesterday. I didn't think I'd have to alert the media.

I also suppose she might be spending the day or entire weekend with her family, and may not see my PM until she logs in.

Tell me ebrown, when I wipe my ass, is it front to back or back to front?
How could I know without your telling me?

isn't there some football game or something you need to be watching?

chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 05:18 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

David


Thanks
I spent a large part of the day planting tulip and crocus bulbs.

Now, I'm roasting a mix of sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, onions, rutabegas, carrots, beets, & winter squash.

I'm not sure which of those vegetables the pilgrims had, but it's closer than what we imagine they ate, based on our tradional T-day foods.

They more than likely didn't eat any turkey that day, but they probably ate swan, and surely lobster (yuck on the lobster)
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 09:36 pm
@chai2,
Quote:
Tell me ebrown, when I wipe my ass, is it front to back or back to front?
How could I know without your telling me?


That depends.... are you Moroccan?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Dispatches from the Startup Front - Discussion by jespah
Bullying Dominating Coworker - Question by blueskies
Co worker being caught looking at you - Question by lisa1471
Work Place Romance - Discussion by Dino12
Does your office do Christmas? - Discussion by tsarstepan
Question about this really rude girl at work? - Question by riverstyx0128
Does she like me? - Question by jct573
Does my coworker like me? - Question by riverstyx0128
Maintenance training - Question by apjones37643
Personal questions - Discussion by Angel23
Making friends/networking at work - Question by egrizzly
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Moroccan culture
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/15/2021 at 05:51:24