The Sidetracking of Irrelevance

Jean L. Serio CEIC, CPC, CeMA, CSEOP published the article below in which she highlighted the irrelevant questions that some interviewers ask candidates such as their salary history.

Dealing With The Interview Question – “What is Your Salary”

What does the salary history tell about the candidate? I agree in full with you Jean because no two jobs have identical requirements. The applicant also may have expanded her/his skills admirably and is worth much more now. There are economic factors as well such as inflation and living cost and purchasing power.

History does not cover what the applicant accomplished after the previous appointment. It seems when the illegal repeats it becomes the norm.

This led me to think of the various forms of irrelevance and their intention.

Imagine that I draw a point on a paper and I ask you to draw a straight line passing through the point would you do? On what basis did I assume it is a straight line? Assuming it is a straight line, how would you know its direction such as upwards or downwards?

This type of irrelevance we practice. Somebody told me that even though his brother did not smoke one cigarette in his life he died of lung cancer. The man continued saying you see cigarettes do not cause lung cancer. One case and the man dared to draw a straight line conclusion.

Recently we heard of many people who objected to the use of the mask because few people who put on the mask got infected by the virus. Their conclusion was that masks do not protect.

Not all irrelevant information is based on ignorance. Sometimes do them intentionally to distract attention from the main issue. We observe this behavior in negotiations and in politics to divert the attention of the public.

Not all irrelevances share the same degree of ignorance. I recall publishing a post about patient people praising their persistence. One comment scored hospitals for being unkind to the patient. I did not know what to reply for it was obvious the comment was irrelevant to the post and that the commenter did not read the post.

It seems that assumption leads the reader to comment without verifying his assumption.

The biggest paradox is that with the rapid flow of information, irrelevance still thrives.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Brother Ali and Sister Jean
    Irrelevant questions:
    Salary History tells me some things that I would be malintentioned to ask:

    What the person is making now, i.e., how little can I get away with paying them

    If a person is underpaid and has a history of being underpaid and not squawking about it then as above if I offer low even if narginally higher than they are making now, I may get the person for that for a long time without resistence.

    If the person was making a lot more than this job offers, I might want to know why -i.e., how desparate are they?

    So, in fact, these aren’t irrelevant – but my intentions in asking them aren’t likely to benefit the worker.

    As to the fact that people come to conclusions based upon a single data point or irrelevant data -this isn’t a fault of their logic nor a fault of your reason and persuasiveness not to be able to convince them.

    I recently heard Michael Steele former Republican National Committee chairman use a line that I plan to make a permanent part of my vocabulary:
    “It’s hard to reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason their way into in the first place.”

    • inyeresting thoughts brother Alan- I wonder if an employee who is talented but circumatances forced him to accep an underpaid salary whether this employee would be engaged and for how long he would stay.
      In the SCARF Model employess today require among others
      S- Status
      F- Fairness
      How a lowly paid employee would feel about both?

      As for the quote you share it is brilliantnad it shall stay in my mind from now on.

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