by Irma Voigt
A lawsuit filed last week alleges that Marquardt College, a small, religious institution, mishandled a prospective employee’s interview in February.
“It was well-intentioned,” said Mariam Puckett, university spokeswoman. “This candidate was unable to attend a placement exchange so the department in question made an accommodation for him. Unfortunately the selection committee did not fully understand the technology they elected to use.”
While phone interviews and even Skype are common in the interview process for many faculty and staff positions, a representative from Marquardt College recommended that the candidate connect with the search committee via the new “it” technology ChatRoulette.com. ChatRoulette allows two people with webcams and microphones to connect; however, there is no ability to choose with whom you connect. The philosophy of the site is to connect strangers with one another.
“It was a poor choice,” Puckett said. “Marquardt College sincerely regrets the incident. We look forward to speaking further with the candidate about his qualifications for the position after he’s feeling better.”
The candidate’s name is not being released per human resources confidentiality requirements. His lawyer, David Gamble, issued a statement on his behalf.
“My candidate saw things no one should be subjected to involuntarily, particularly when expecting an interview. He is recovering from this traumatic incident at an undisclosed hospital where he has no access to social media websites.”
Gamble said that his first interview with his client was limited to mumblings about a size-46 woman in a spandex cat costume.
A second, unrelated lawsuit was filed by a female candidate in the same process, alleging that the search committee took inordinate pleasure in their use of describing Marquardt as “a small private.”