Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Friday, November 14, 2008

Human Resources...Argentine Style

In the US, especially corporate America, job discrimination is a huge deal. If you even give the interviewee a peculiar look, you're going to get sued for discrimination of some type or another.

Not so in Argentina.

In my human resources class, we recently talked about the hiring process and all that other jazz. The professor was talking about the hiring of different positions and we eventually got the secretaries. The conversation went something like this:

P for professor and M for me.

P- So, what are you looking for when you hire a secretary? You want a nice young lady who can get the job done. I'd say somewhere between 20 to 30 years old.

M- What, so you're saying that you can hire based on age and sex?

P- (Confused) Of course, everyone knows that women make the best secretaries. It's obvious.

M- But what if you have a guy who really wants to be a secretary?

P- Honestly, what guy wants to be a secretary?

M- But that's not the point, if you want to be a secretary, you're a guy, and you're qualified, you should get the job.

P- Yes, but no guys want to be secretaries. Also, what kind of boss wants a male secretary.

M- But isn't that discrimination?

P- Yeah, but it's not a big deal.

He just honestly didn't understand where I was coming from, so I eventually just quit trying.

On ALL the job posing websites here, directly after the requirements for education and experience, they have an age limit and whether it's a job for a male or female. Also, the majority of positions in the service industry require that you attach a photo to your resume. They hire based on looks too.

Another crazy thing they do here during the hiring process is come to your house to meet your family and have a look at the environment you're coming from. They'll talk with your family, have a look around your house and room, ask your neighbors questions about you, all to "make sure you're not about to hire some crazy guy with a communist flag hanging on the wall in his room."

Once again, I couldn't believe my ears when he was saying this. I raised my hand, and in disbelief asked if he was serious. Everyone in the class turned around and was shocked to find out that in the US, your future employer can't send an inspector to your house.

Pretty crazy if you ask me.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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