Donald Trump made "You're Fired!" a phrase we cheered at when the apprentice we didn't like got cut. It made us sad when someone we did like got kicked out. But, no matter the emotion it evoked, it shouldn't be something we choose to emulate.

A reader sent me this inquiry: 

My college student daughter is looking for a job, and had an interview last week with a company who seemed like a great company, except... Whenever they hire someone, they always hire TWO people for the job as 90 day temps and make them compete to be kept on permanently.

Is this a common thing? It seems like a really bad idea to me, just inviting lots of Survivor style scheming and undermining each other. They say that they want to be able to see who is a "team player" but by pitting the two new hires against each other they're not exactly making it easy for anyone to be a team player. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this hiring tactic.

My reader is correct. The time for competition is before you make a job offer, not after. While hiring someone as a temp is common enough--it's easier to terminate a temp than it is to terminate a regular employee--doing it this way is just a bad, bad idea.

This job is in retail customer service, so it's one where the employees come face to face with customers. If you want your employees to give great customer service, you're going to need to treat them well. Having an ax hanging over their heads at every moment isn't the way to accomplish this.

The logic here is that the new employees will work harder to prove how fantastic they are, but this is not a fun game. Even though this is an entry-level job, the employees will either be leaving another position for this or turning down a different job for this opportunity. To hire in bad faith is to say, straight out "we love toying with our employees' lives!"

The type of people who will look forward to this type of competition aren't the types you want in customer service positions. When winning is a priority, the customer loses. You'll have your other staff taking sides, and things won't necessarily line up behind the best worker.

If you doubt your ability to hire so much that you have to resort to Trump or Survivor style games to get people on board, you stink as a manager. Got that? This game is a sign of poor management and poor interviewing skills. Take a seminar. Have your assistant manager do the hiring. Hire a consultant to do the interviewing for you, if this is the best you've got.

Saying "You're Fired," isn't an easy thing to say, and it's not nice. Nice people only fire when they have to for the good of the business. Firing because it's a funny competition means you're not nice. If I were the boss of this manager, I'd fire her, and see if she finds it funny. Not because I'm mean, but because this is bad for the business. The best candidates will steer clear, as they should. 

Published on: Aug 23, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.