What if Cars Were Rented Like We Hire Programmers?
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 9:30AM
Todd Hoff in Strategy, humor

Imagine if you will that car rental agencies rented cars like programmers are hired at many software companies...

Agency : So sorry you had to wait in the reception area for an hour. Nobody knew you were coming to today. I finally found 8 people to interview before we can rent you a car. If we like you you may have to come in for another round of interviews tomorrow because our manager isn't in today. I didn't have a chance to read your application, so I'll just start with a question. What car do you drive today?
Applicant : I drive a 2008 Subaru.
Agency : That's a shame. We don't have a Subaru to rent you.
Applicant : That's OK. Any car will do.
Agency : No, we can only take on clients who know how to drive the cars we stock. We find it's safer that way. There are so many little differences between cars, we just don't want to take a chance.
Applicant : I have a drivers license. I know how to drive. I've been driving all kinds of cars for 15 years, I am sure I can adapt. 
Agency : We appreciate your position, but we can only take exact matches. Otherwise, how could we ever know if you could drive one of our cars?
Applicant : Oookay. I've driven a Taurus before. You probably rent those, don't you?
Agency : Indeed we do. What year did you drive?
Applicant : It was 2009...but I don't see how that ma...
Agency : Oh sorry, we use the 2012 model. We can't possibly let you drive a later model.
Applicant : But, but they aren't that different. Surely if I can drive a 2009 I can drive a 2012?
Agency : Sorry, sir. Our requirements clearly spell out that you must be able to drive a 2012 model. 
Applicant : I've driven a 2010 Escort. Do you rent those? 
Agency : Ah, excellent, you are in luck. We have one in stock.
Applicant : Great. Can I rent it?
Agency : No, no, no. We have to go through our structured interview process now. I'll go try and find the first person.
Interviewer#1 : Sorry I was late, I was in a meeting I couldn't get out of. I like to ask technical questions to get a feel for your competency as a driver. What color has the middle wire feeding into the distributer cap?
Applicant : What? What does that have to do with driving?
Interviewer#1 : If you have experience as you say driving an Escort then you would certainly know the color of that wire. 
Applicant : I know how to drive. Why don't you ask me questions about driving?
Interviewer#1 : I assure you I am. Are you this way with everyone you rent a car from? Nevertheless, I'll ask another question. What is the total weight of an Escort just after it has been washed, but before it has been dried?
Applicant : Hand dried or blow dried?
Interviewer#1 : It doesn't matter.
Applicant : I know.
Interviewer#1 : Well then. Thank you very much. We are done. I'll find the next person.
Interviewer#2 : Sorry I am late. They never told me I had an interview today. I see on your application that you've driven a lot of different cars and you have a lot of experience driving. So, how would you fit a SUV through the eye of a needle?
Applicant : What? What does that have to do with driving? I know how to drive! Please ask me some #$*&! questions about driving!
Interviewer#2 : Sorry, I have a meeting to go to. Let me search for the next interviewer.
Interviewer#3 : Shoot, we're going to have to find another conference room, another meeting is scheduled here. Somebody forgot to reserve a room for the interview. Oh, here we go, nobody uses this room (for obvious reasons). So, do you have an exact itinerary of where you will drive and park?
Applicant : Not really. I just thought I would drive around and explore. I know I plan on going to the tech museum downtown.
Interviewer#3 : I believe that's on first street. That's good. It's on our approved list of streets. Have you ever driven first street before?
Applicant : Hm, let me think, no, don't think so. But I am sure I can find it. One city street is pretty much like any other, so it shouldn't be a problem.
Applicant : Oh I am sorry, our policy is you can only rent you a car if you've driven on an approved street that you've driven on before for more than 10 years. We just can't take a chance that you won't be able to drive on new and different streets. 
Applicant : I don't believe this. I know how to drive, I have a long history of successful driving in many different cities in many different situations. I can navigate, diagnose and fix minor problems, ask for help, find out anything I need to find out, and learn anything I need to learn. I know everything I need to know to rent this car because I've done it successfully a hundred times before!
Interviewer#3 : How excellent for you. But it's policy. We need the exact experience to be sure. No exceptions. You may be very skilled, but you don't have the specific skills we require...that will be all.
Agency : Sorry, but interviewers #4 - #8 were called to an emergency off site with upper management to reformulate policies on policy formation.
Applicant : Bows head forward, looks at the water spot on the desk, and sighs. 
Agency : We might or might not let you know in a couple of weeks if we'll rent you a car.
Applicant : But I need a car now!
Agency : Very well. It was close, not everyone wanted to rent you a car, but we will rent you a 2010 Escort. How much did you pay for your last rental car?
Applicant : I don't see how that matters. What are you charging?
Agency : We like to know what you paid before so you get a fair rate.
Applicant : I paid market rates.
Agency : Sorry, we must know how much...
Applicant : Gets up and walks out of the interview room in total frustration, wondering how anyone ever rented a car at this agency.
Interview chorus: Just as well, we really only want young rock star drivers that are in the top .000001% of their class...

 

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