Guru column: Branson beats Dilbert for business acumen

Richard Branson may have lost the bid to run the National
Lottery but at least he can draw comfort from the fact that he beat Dilbert,
the cynical office worker who is the star of the globally syndicated cartoon,
in a poll of the most influential business thinkers.

That is more than can be said for Sir John Harvey-Jones,
former chairman of ICI. Branson comes in at 29, Dilbert at 31 and Harvey-Jones
at 38, in The Thinkers Top 50 survey.

Candidates are ranked in 10 categories including
practicality of ideas, business sense, impact of ideas and “guru” factor.
Ranked first in the poll, which is dominated by US entrepreneurs, is modern
management theorist Peter Drucker. Unfortunately, Guru’s application was lost
in the post. 


But will the bride be on schedule?

Guru is concerned that Aslef has taken its role in improving
working relationships too far. The train drivers’ union has announced that it
is moving into the wedding business. It owns a swanky house in Hampstead, north
London, and has decided to hire it out for receptions.

While it promises that beer and sarnies will not be on the
menu, organising the bridal train could take on a whole new meaning.


A new way to fill porn positions

Guru has been impressed by the inventiveness of recruitment
agencies. In last week’s news pages of Personnel Today there was a story about
how agencies are increasingly prepared to take on debt to invest in the

There was also a drive to focus on niche recruitment. Guru
has dug out an interesting example – take for instance. It
saw a gap in the employment market – an Internet-based agency recruiting for
the sex industry listing current vacant positions in porn – and decided to
exploit it.

The entire spectrum of jobs in the sex industry is listed,
from actors in porn films, escorts, dancers and models, to managers,
accountants and webmasters. Guru will return to websites on management theory


Candidates from hell refuse to toe the line

Interviews can be deceptive. How many times have you
appointed a sweet-talking candidate only to find out that the tongue-tied
applicant would probably have been better?

That bloke who declared that if you hired him he would
demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm –
he might have been really good. Or the woman who wore a Walkman the whole way
through the interview, claiming that she could listen to you and the music at
the same time – she could have been a real asset. On second thoughts, maybe you
made the right decision. 

These candidates just provide a flavour of the interview
experiences that many HR professionals have had, according to a new Internet
survey released this month. One interviewer had to take a call during an
interview. The applicant promptly took out a copy of Penthouse and started
leafing through the pages. 

Guru wants to hear about your experiences in field. They
can’t be as bad as one HR manager, who was half way through an interview when
the candidate took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder
and starting dusting his toes.

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