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Series I, Episode 13: Intelligence

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Ian Dunn
868160.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:53 am Reply with quote

I found last night's episode to be rather use because I'm currently looking for work. I've have to try and remember all that stuff about job interviews.

EDIT: Just spotted a Qibble. Alan was right - ASIMO's name is an acronym. According to this face sheet (PDF) from Honda, his name stands for "Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility".

 
Flash
868165.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:23 am Reply with quote

A backronym, I should think. The people who brought him along were very clear about this point - the name comes from the Japanese word "asi" with a "mo" ending to suggest motion/mobility. But you can see that they might well have then dreamt up an acronym which could be back-fitted for the benefit of English speakers.

 
Zebra57
868169.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:33 am Reply with quote

When I worked in Soho London I often visited the Chinese Restaurant that Phil Jupitas was talking about. The owner was probably the rudest individual that you could imagine. People went to the establishment to see him! The food was however excellent.

When you arrived you were ordered to your table. If you were a party of 4 sitting on a table for 6, you would suddenly have your plates taken away mid course with the order "You go over there". Your table would then be given to a waiting "larger" group.

To hurry you up at the end your plates, cutlery and any remaining food would suddenly disappear with the comment
"No sweet, no coffee, here's bill, you go."

 
djgordy
868171.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:38 am Reply with quote

It isn't only restaurants in central London that have rude staff. Since a lot of their trade comes from tourists they don't really have to rely on repeat custom.

Also, we all know the robot was just Warwick Davis in a suit and Ricky Gervais was in the background getting material for the next series of "Life's Too Short". You can't fool us.

 
suze
868187.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:11 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
It isn't only restaurants in central London that have rude staff. Since a lot of their trade comes from tourists they don't really have to rely on repeat custom.


The restaurant in question is called the Wong Kei and it's at 41 Wardour Street; we've had restaurant reviews on these forums before so that isn't a blatant advertisement. The food is pretty good and by central London standards it's cheap, and people absolutely do come back to be shouted at by the waiters.

As for those waiters, they're probably not naturally any ruder than any other waiter - they do it on purpose as a feature of the establishment. Or did, at any rate. I've not been there for five or so years, and rather worrying more recent reviews suggest that the wait staff are by now disturbingly civil.

 
coldalarm
868219.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:47 am Reply with quote

On the job side of things, I've actually got a question - one that I was thinking about last night due to an interview that morning.

When you go for an interview, should they *ever* ask your age, and if so, do you have to give it?

But as for the episode itself: I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Jo Brand - despite a few typical quips - was actually quite good.

 
clack
868226.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:12 am Reply with quote

Well, that was different. Good different. Though Asimo went on a bit long for my taste -- they might have edited out the Asimo/Jo dance.

I've encountered David's attitude previously amongst Brits -- a perverse national pride in having gloomy service. "Unlike those vulgar smiling cheerful Yanks, we don't pretend that waiting on people and providing a service is anything other than misery."

What's so miserable about walking down a train corridor and tearing up tickets that it can't be done pleasantly? And doesn't David smile at the camera when he's on a TV panel show, no matter that he just had an argument with his girlfriend that morning?

Waiters, train conductors, comedians -- we're all in showbiz, folks. Even if you're not feeling particularly cheery, give a performance.

 
suze
868298.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:39 pm Reply with quote

coldalarm wrote:
When you go for an interview, should they *ever* ask your age, and if so, do you have to give it?


In the USA, some interview questions are actually illegal. That's not the case in the UK, but all the same it's not good practice for an interviewer to ask your age. He doesn't actually break the law by asking, but in most cases he does break the law if he uses your age as a factor in deciding whether or not to hire you. (There are a few exceptions. Actors often need to be age appropriate - you wouldn't cast me to play a schoolgirl, and you wouldn't cast a woman of 25 to play a grandmother. Persons who will serve alcohol in their jobs must be at least 18, and so on. But for most jobs, age is not allowed to be relevant.)

So, he can ask the question, but he can't use the answer. Why then would he ask it? You may well ask, but you won't get the job if you say "no comment" when asked the question.


clack wrote:
Waiters, train conductors, comedians -- we're all in showbiz, folks. Even if you're not feeling particularly cheery, give a performance.


clack, you're an American, aren't you? I ask because I'm a Canadian and my view on this is much the same as yours.

But this view really isn't widely held in the UK. The perception in the UK appears to be that it's dishonest to pretend that a crap job is anything other than a crap job. Many customer service staff in Britain are miserable and rude, and a lot of them take offence if you suggest that they ought to be otherwise.

 
coldalarm
868324.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:54 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
coldalarm wrote:
When you go for an interview, should they *ever* ask your age, and if so, do you have to give it?


In the USA, some interview questions are actually illegal. That's not the case in the UK, but all the same it's not good practice for an interviewer to ask your age. He doesn't actually break the law by asking, but in most cases he does break the law if he uses your age as a factor in deciding whether or not to hire you. (There are a few exceptions. Actors often need to be age appropriate - you wouldn't cast me to play a schoolgirl, and you wouldn't cast a woman of 25 to play a grandmother. Persons who will serve alcohol in their jobs must be at least 18, and so on. But for most jobs, age is not allowed to be relevant.)

So, he can ask the question, but he can't use the answer. Why then would he ask it? You may well ask, but you won't get the job if you say "no comment" when asked the question.

I see, thanks. Someone I know suggested that by asking it they open themselves up the potential of having action taken against them as I could claim that - if I didn't get the position - it could have been used to discriminate against me.

The position wasn't really age-based (temp work in a stock-oriented position), so the relevance isn't there at all.

 
Moosh
868325.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:31 pm Reply with quote

I'm amazed that the panel hadn't seen the cornflour on a speaker thing before. Were science teachers not doing that one when they were at school?

 
suze
868331.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:02 pm Reply with quote

coldalarm wrote:
Someone I know suggested that by asking it they open themselves up the potential of having action taken against them as I could claim that - if I didn't get the position - it could have been used to discriminate against me.


That is the risk to which the interviewer has exposed himself by asking that question, yes.

In practice, it's unlikely that such an action would be successful. The burden of proof would be on you to prove that age was the reason that you failed to get the job, rather than the interviewer having to prove the reverse.

Even so, the interviewer would be well advised to avoid even the possibility of this happening. Which he can do by not asking that question.

 
PDR
868333.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:09 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
In the USA, some interview questions are actually illegal. That's not the case in the UK, but all the same it's not good practice for an interviewer to ask your age. He doesn't actually break the law by asking, but in most cases he does break the law if he uses your age as a factor in deciding whether or not to hire you.


I'm not sure on the absolute legal position, but in my organisation interview questions about age, marital status and family plans are banned (and result in reprimands if witnessed or reported). The HR department remove age references (including dates of qualifications and awards and dates of previous jobs listed) from CVs before forwarding them to the hiring manager for review, and will often remove some of the earlier jobs if the list looks too long. This is as much a bad thing as a good thing, but I understand why they do it.

Quote:

...and you wouldn't cast a woman of 25 to play a grandmother.


Unless the role was a scouser, obviously.

PDR

 
coldalarm
868334.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:09 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

That is the risk to which the interviewer has exposed himself by asking that question, yes.

In practice, it's unlikely that such an action would be successful. The burden of proof would be on you to prove that age was the reason that you failed to get the job, rather than the interviewer having to prove the reverse.

Even so, the interviewer would be well advised to avoid even the possibility of this happening. Which he can do by not asking that question.

Indeed. Bigger issue was the massive violation of data protection. ;)

Thanks anyway :)

 
suze
868340.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:32 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
I'm not sure on the absolute legal position, but in my organisation interview questions about age, marital status and family plans are banned (and result in reprimands if witnessed or reported).


That is just good practice; I've noted before that while I have some issues with your organization, its HR practices seem in general admirable. The law doesn't absolutely require such a policy to be in place, but it's certainly sensible that it is.

PDR wrote:
The HR department remove age references (including dates of qualifications and awards and dates of previous jobs listed) from CVs before forwarding them to the hiring manager for review, and will often remove some of the earlier jobs if the list looks too long.


That might even be overkill, but again it has to be considered good practice. Mind you, I dare say that you as an experienced manager could still guess the applicant's age to within about five years from the information that is retained on the CV.


In much of Europe, it is usual to include a photograph when submitting one's CV to a potential employer. In Germany in particular, it is considered pretty much essential to do so.

That has never been usual in the UK, and a person seeking employment is strongly advised not to do it - one's photograph will usually give at least some indication of one's age. Opinions differ as to whether or not exceptionally pretty girls should submit photos with their CVs ...

In both the US and Canada, it is actually illegal for employers to ask for a photograph - although not for the same reason. In North America, it's more that if you submit a photograph then they'll know what colour you are.

 
PDR
868350.  Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:53 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I've noted before that while I have some issues with your organization, its HR practices seem in general admirable.


Well we put a lot of effort into the pantomime villian image, but somehow we always forget something...

PDR

 

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