Saturday, November 24, 2012

Job Candidates and Coffee: Mediocre, Good, or Great?

 By Mary Salvino

As a connoisseur of a good cup of java, I have always wondered what distinguishes a good cup of coffee from one that is great.  In one of my caffeine induced thought frenzies, my ‘java buzz’ wandered to that which distinguishes a good cup of coffee, i.e. mediocre  job candidate, from one that is good or even great.

The first thing that needs to be considering when making a purchase, i.e. hiring a new employee is that different types of coffee makes (hiring managers/recruiters) will produce different albeit very similar products.  The product that is best for you (your organization) will depend upon your budget and preferred taste,

Types of coffee makers (Hiring managers/Recruiters):

  • Percolator – Taste tends to be bitter because the brewing system recycles the coffee over and over to keep brewing. 
    • HINT:  If you don’t want to keep getting what you are getting, change something. 
  • French Press – This method of making coffee requires that the coffee grounds be soaked in hot water and then a meshed piston is used to press the coffee to the bottom of the circular carafe.
    • N.B. The degree to which the coffee is strong and bitter is directly proportional to the length of time it remains in contact with the water.
  • Automatic Drip – This style of making coffee, i.e. using gravity to extract the coffee flavor from the ground beans is perfect for making many cups of coffee at one once. This type of coffee is served everywhere. 
    • N.B. Most people put milk and/or sugar in it to improve the taste.
  • Stovetop Espresso maker ( a.k.a. Moka Pot)– This is the most affordable kind of espresso maker.  It extracts coffee under the pressure of water vapor and produces coffee that is less bitter, as long as you decant the coffee as soon as it collects in the top part of the machine, and has more aroma than coffee that is made using a percolator, French Press, or automatic drip machine.
  • Pump espresso machine – This rather expensive machine ($1,000 – several thousands of dollars) is found is all high-end coffee shops and restaurants.  The presence of the pump makes it possible to build up enough pressure to brew the coffee in its ideal time.  These machines almost always brew only one or two cups at a time. 
    • N.B.  A good barista (hiring manager/recruiter) will be able to produce a nice layer of ‘crema’ on the top of every coffee shot ( job candidate). Crema is the golden layer of foam that you get on top of your cup when you order an espresso in a restaurant. It adds texture and extra aroma to the espresso.

The Coffee (Job candidate)

  • Always use the freshest and best quality beans you can afford – the better the ingredients, the more flavor you will have in your cup
  • Find a good roaster (hiring manager)– A roast master will be able to give you the ideal roast for your needs and beans
  • The grinding process – Once you have chosen your beans, the roast master will ask you if you want them to grind your beans and if the answer is yes, you will have to decide on the size you want
    • N.B. If you don’t know the size you want, tell the roast master which kind of machine you are using and they, being the professionals that they are, will know which degree of coarseness (read vetting process) is appropriate
    • HINT If the grind is too coarse, your coffee will be watery, if the grind is too fine, it will clog up your machine
    • HINT the longer the coffee is cooked the higher the caffeine content

Admittedly, this comparison for finding suitable candidates for your business may a bit strained, but caffeine induced thought frenzies have that kind of effect on some people. 

Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. This blog is also dedicated to those who stand a little taller each time they picked themselves up after failing and those who gained the wisdom and humility from those experiences to help others do the same. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at