Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What is your Phineas-Hirshfield Score?

This, the third Empoprises Rule, is actually not a rule at all, but a scoring system.

We like scores. We like scores because they are easy to evaluate. When we have to make a business or personal decision, it's much easier to make the decision if you can somehow quantify it.

This is especially true in the job arena. The easiest decisions to make are those that are based upon Boolean yes/no criteria. Does this job candidate have a college degree? No? OK, that person is removed from consideration.

When you don't have Boolean decision points, then numerical decision points are always good for easy decision making. If Candidate A has a 4.0 grade point average (on the American scale) and Candidate B has a much worse 1.0 grade point average, then your decision is easy.

Which brings us to Klout.

I've discussed Klout before, in an April 28 post that mentioned the experience of Sam Fiorella, who missed out on a marketing position because he had a Klout score of 34. The hiring company used certain criteria to make its hiring decision. Whether we agree with this criteria or not, Kimberly Reynolds made the point (in the comments to the post) that "if the employers believe [a high Klout score] is relevant to them, it is relevant."


But there's a part of me that is wondering about all of this emphasis on scores, and I'm wondering how I could use it to my advantage. If I were in a job hunting situation, I'd want to get my resume (or its digital equivalent, the LinkedIn page) to the top of the (physical or virtual) pile. Since a job candidate only has a few seconds to make an impression, you have to make that impression quickly. So if you don't have a 4.0 grade point average or a Klout score of 100, what do you do?

Enter the Phineas-Hirshfield Score. (Yes, this is an Empoprises Rule, copyright 2012 John E. Bredehoft. So if you're an employment firm and want to use the Phineas-Hirshfield Score, contact me with your payment proposal. I'll accept U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, and Euros. Oh, and Swiss francs.)

I am really really tempted to go to my LinkedIn page right now and throw this statement somewhere into the summary:

"I have a Phineas-Hirshfield Score of 92."

Let's say that I apply for the job and mention my Phineas-Hirshfield score somewhere on my application. After I apply, let's say that the hiring person is looking over resumes, and can't decide whether to call me in for an interview or not. The hiring person then sees my Phineas-Hirshfield score, and it gets the hiring person curious. If my resume looks OK otherwise, the hiring person may bring me in, just to find out what this Phineas-Hirshfield score is. Or at least that's my thinking.

So let's say that I get called in for an interview, and after dispensing with the manhole covers question, the interviewer finally gets around to asking about my Phineas-Hirshfield score.

At that point, I will simply explain that the Phineas-Hirshfield score measures, on a scale of 0 to 100, the probability that someone will ask exactly what the Phineas-Hirshfield score is.

There's a part that I probably won't explain to the interviewer - how I got the name "Phineas-Hirshfield" for this particular measurement system. Phineas comes from Phineas Taylor Barnum, more commonly known as P.T. Barnum, who was reputed (but not proven) to have made the statement, "There's a sucker born every minute."

But what about Hirshfield? This is named for Leo Hirshfield.

An Austrian immigrant, Leo Hirshfield, produced the candy in a small store in New York City and ended up naming the candy after his five-year-old daughter Clara, whose nickname was "Tootsie."

The company has since diversified from Tootsie Rolls, and produces products such as Tootsie Pops (as in "how many licks does it take to get to the center of..."). Again, a sucker.

Perhaps you're wondering why I, as the creator of the world famous Phineas-Hirshfield Score, did not award myself a perfect score of 100. That's easy to answer. I figure that a few of the people who read this blog know me personally, and some of the others who read this blog have been reading me for years. If these particular people suddenly see that I'm referring to something called "the Phineas-Hirshfield Score," a certain subset of them will say to themselves, "Oh, John's just making that up," and won't even bother to ask the question.

P.S. In case you missed the first two Empoprises Rules (which actually were rules), here are links to the Empoprises FECES Rule of Corporate Me-Tooism and the Empoprises RCDCR Rule of Insider Food Talk.

P.P.S. As to the answer to the REAL Hirshfield question - 1,121. I checked as a child. I figured it was more than 3.
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