The weird workplace

So you think you can recruit; Fired bus drivers have themselves nailed to crosses; London’s ‘fryscraper’ is red hot; Say what? China says 400 million can’t speak national language; Running out of parking spaces at work? No problem; Chinese officials can’t expense mooncakes
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/24/2013

So you think you can recruit

LONDON — A British electronics retailer apologized after admitting it forced job candidates for sales assistant positions to perform dance routines during interviews. The jobseekers, attending a group interview at a Currys Megastore, had to perform dance routines during team-building exercises, which the firm said did not form part of its formal procedures. “Everyone initially thought it was a joke. But they were serious,” Alan Bacon, one of those at the selection day, told the BBC. “I ended up dancing to ‘Around the World’ by (French electronic music act) Daft Punk, doing rubbish robotics in my suit in front of a group of strangers. Another middle-aged guy looked really upset as he danced to a rap song.” Currys said it was disappointed its official recruitment process was not followed and said candidates would be invited back and given a “proper opportunity to demonstrate how they can contribute to our business.”

Fired bus drivers have themselves nailed to crosses

ASUNCION, Paraguay — Eight bus drivers in Paraguay have had themselves nailed to crosses to protest being fired by a transportation company after it rejected their pleas for higher pay, according to a lawmaker quoted by Reuters. The drivers, from the northern town of Luque, were on their backs, nailed to wooden crosses laid out on the ground. Some were also on a hunger strike.

London’s ‘fryscraper’ is red hot

LONDON — Here’s a new item to add to the list of occupational health and safety hazards: Red-hot office towers. A new skyscraper under construction in London is reflecting sunlight at such intense levels that it melted the mirrors, panels and badge on a Jaguar that was parked nearby and cracked some stone tiles in front of a nearby shop. Journalists have also filmed themselves frying eggs from the reflected heat. The 37-storey ‘Walkie-Talkie’ tower, in the city’s insurance district, is being developed by Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities. The good news? An inexpensive fix is reportedly in the works.

Say what? China says 400 million can’t speak national language

BEIJING — Canadian employers that struggle to do business in English and French shouldn’t feel so bad. More than 400 million Chinese are unable to speak the national language, Mandarin, and large numbers in the rest of the country speak it badly, state media said, as the government launched another push for linguistic unity, according to Reuters. China’s ruling Communist Party has promoted Mandarin for decades to unite a nation with thousands of often mutually unintelligible dialects and numerous minority languages, but has been hampered by the country’s size and lack of investment in education, especially in poor rural areas.

Running out of parking spaces at work? No problem

DAEJEON, South Korea — Is it getting harder to find parking at your office? A South Korean firm has the answer — with a click on a smartphone, the experimental “Armadillo-T” electric car will park itself and fold nearly in half, freeing up space in crowded cities. The quirky two-seater, named after the animal whose shell it resembles, may never see production but it is part of a trend to develop environmentally friendly vehicles for urban spaces.

Chinese officials can’t expense mooncakes

BEIJING — There’s no shortage of unusual items that employees (and Canadian senators) try to expense. The Chinese government is banning officials from using public funds to buy mooncakes, which are pastries offered as gifts during the Mid-Autumn Festival. President Xi Jinping is trying to combat corruption and said officials can’t expense mooncakes sent as gifts or arrange banquets that are not related to official duties during the festival, which was held on Sept. 19 this year.

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