AOH :: PACHYDRM.HMR Pachydermic Personnel Prediction
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PACHYDERMIC PERSONNEL PREDICTION

by Peter C. Olsen

A bold new proposal for matching high-technology people and
professions.

Over the years, the problem of finding the right person for the right
job has consumed thousands of worker-years of research and millions of
dollars in funding. This is particularly true for high-technology
organizations where talent is scarce and expensive. Recently, however,
years of detailed study by the finest minds in the field of
psychoindustrial interpersonnel optimization have resulted in the
development of a simple and foolproof test to determine the best match
between personality and profession. Now, at last, people can be
infallibly assigned to the jobs for which they are truly best suited.

The procedure is simple: Each subject is sent to Africa to hunt
elephants.

The subsequent elephant-hunting behavior is then categorized by
comparison to the classification rules outlined below. The subject
should be assigned to the general job classification that best matches
the observed behavior.

CLASSIFICATION GUIDELINES

Mathematicians hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out
everything that is not an elephant and catching one of whatever is
left. Experienced mathematicians will attempt to prove the existence
of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step l as a
subordinate exercise. Professors of mathematics will prove the
existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection
and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate
students.

Computer scientists hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A: 1. Go to
Africa 2.  Start at the Cape of Good Hope 3. Work northward in an
orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west 4.
During each traverse pass, a. Catch each animal seen b. Compare each
animal caught to a known elephant c. Stop when match is detected.

Experienced computer programmers modify Algorithm A above by placing a
known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.
Assembly language programmers prefer to execute Algorithm A on their
hands and knees.

Engineers hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals at
random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus
15 percent of any previously observed elephant.

Economists don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants
are raid enough, they will hunt themselves.

Statisticians hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an
elephant.

Consultants don't hunt elephants, and may have never hunted anything
at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who
do. Operations research consultants can also measure the correlation
of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting
strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.

Politicians don't hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch

with the people who voted for them.

Lawyers don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around
arguing about who owns the droppings. Software lawyers will claim that
they own an entire herd based on the "look and feel" of one dropping.

Vice presidents of engineering, research, and development try hard to
hunt elephants, but their staffs are designed to prevent it. When the
vice president does get to hunt elephants, the staff will try to
ensure that all possible elephants are completely pre-hunted before
the vice president sees them. If the vice president does see a
non-pre-hunted elephant, the staff will (1) compliment the vice
president's keen eyesight and (2) en-large itself to prevent any
recurrence.

Senior managers set broad elephant hunting policies based on the
assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper
voices.

Quality assurance inspectors ignore the elephants and look for
mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.

Sales people don't hunt elephants, but spend their time selling
elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season
opens. Software sales people ship the first thing they catch and write
up an invoice for an elephant.  Hardware salespeople catch rabbits,
paint them gray, and sell them as desktop elephants.

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