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Home / Questions / Who Are You? Today, we all seem to be very concerned with who we are. “Who am I?” Oprah Winfrey...

Who Are You? Today, we all seem to be very concerned with who we are. “Who am I?” Oprah Winfrey...

Who Are You?

 

Today, we all seem to be very concerned with who we are. “Who am I?” Oprah Winfrey asked herself, as she has asked others for years when interviewing. “Who am I?” Donald Trump answers this question on global business channels like CNN or BBC. We tend to ask this question often as we compete with others 24/7. In fact, the competition seems to have grown fiercer as students try to edge their foot inside the doors of top organizations. This is definitely the case in Beirut, Lebanon, a developing country in the Middle East and North African Area (MENA), where successful companies begin with interview screening, having done an initial background check (sometimes without the applicant’s consent) in order to monitor whether the candidates did well in university, were successful in the local/regional market, or had a criminal record. Today, job applicants are aware of “impression management” and the importance of perception. How important is a candidate’s appearance? For instance, the highly competitive local market in Lebanon adheres to the French tradition in terms of mannerism and dress code. Managers and employees alike adhere to a custom that favors bright, attractive, very fashionably dressed personnel. As such, before they went to be interviewed at Byblos Bank, a leading domestic multinational bank, Zeina Samaha spent a small fortune on cosmetic surgery, whereas Josiane El Khoury spent it on her briefcase, suit, shoes, and jewelry. Even though they had both graduated with distinction from university and had shown professional competence in their previous job, they understood that appearance played a crucial role in the business world. These issues also influenced Joseph Boustany, the human resource manager at a trendy clothing shop on the Jounieh shopping strip of Kaslik. Before being interviewed at Zara, the hip Spanish clothes shop at the ABC Mall in Aschrafieh, Joseph went over the company’s history and the job description; then he thought through the upcoming interview and mulled over his dress code before he bought a fashionable trendy suit, tie, and jewelry.

Questions

1. People, in general, spend a fortune to improve their image, both physical and on their résumé. Do you think candidates eliminate competition when improving their personal image?

2. What is the extent of candidates’ control in terms of “dressing up” their résumé and letters of recommendation? In effect, how much latitude do companies give when they assess candidates’ portfolios?

3. Is it ethical that potential employers have the right to carry out an assessment of the candidate’s past?

4. When can candidates or employees claim that the company has crossed the line and stepped into their private life?

Jul 10 2020 View more View Less

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