Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The ethical mind (and bonus link)

This conversation with Howard Gardner in the March 2007 Harvard Business Review is sort of the other side of the coin of my previous post. A quote:

... there is no substitute for detailed, textured, confidential oral recommendations from individuals who know the candidates well and will be honest. I don’t particularly trust written letters or the results of psychological tests. A single interview is not much help, either. A colleague of mine says “It takes ten lunches,” and I think there is truth in that.

I might also ask a young person about mentors. Our studies found that, across the board, many young professionals lack deep mentoring from individuals in authoritative positions. This was in contrast to veteran professionals, who spoke about important mentors and role models. So I might ask, “Who influenced you in cultivating a particular moral climate, and why?” The influence of antimentors—potential role models who had been unkind to their employees or who had shown behavior that others would not want to emulate—and a lack of mentors is something that we underestimated in our studies. Negative role models may be more powerful than is usually acknowledged.

You might remember Howard Gardner from the mid 1980's days of cognitive science.

Changing subjects, here is your bonus link of the day: Jakob Nielsen's list of the computer skills kids should be learning in school, and why. He says:

Understanding usability heuristics like "recognition vs. recall" or "consistency" will be as important to the educated person as having dissected a frog.

As someone who didn't want to dissect a frog in high school, I feel vindicated! :)