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Hiring: Does Short Term Thinking Cause Long Term Problems?

B/W Men standing in line for work c. Great Depression
Source: Library of Congress (Bain Collection) via Wikimedia Commons (no know usage restrictions)

After watching a video animation of a short part of a Dan Ariely talk on romantic relationships and investment in them, I started thinking about the way we approach hiring. Consider how similar hiring decisions are to romantic decisions. We interview a person based on an online profile or short resume, the candidate gets a short look at the company through a web page and an interview, and at that point both decide whether to start a relationship with them that requires us to make an investment.

At first, we only see the the glossy image that each put forth, the image which certainly hides some flaws and overstates some features while underplaying others. As we spend time in the same space and on the same projects, we slowly begin to understand the other, and then we have to revisit our decision periodically to see if we want to continue the relationship — to continue investing in one another — or do we want to go talk to glossy image we see in another company or candidate on the other side of the monitor.

At this point, I don’t really have an answer to the dilemma. I know that government employers are starting to face this issue more and more as private organizations and NGOs being to offer work environments and benefits packages that are better in many ways, for more fulfilling work, and in a way that understands the younger workforce. Likewise, technology has made it easier than ever to look into the pool of options to find companies or candidates that are at fit better, at least marginally, in the glossy image.

If I had to be pinned-down to something productive, I think the best option for both companies and candidates is to be honest with themselves and what they are looking for. Really dig in to the culture and future of the teams we recruit for to try to discover where the crazy and ugly is, and try to find fit between company and candidate at the crazy and ugly instead of trying to cover them up. To parallel the old canard, turn the bug into a [legitimate] feature.

About the Author:

Dr. Philip D. Mann is an experienced trainer, speaker, and problem solver who gets things done. His primary expertise is employee engagement and the people side of how organizations grow and (resist) change. He also knows a thing or two about the government works, and those principles apply to all large, bureaucratic structures. If you need help getting things done, reach out to Dr. Mann here on LinkedIn or at

Published inBenefitsDecisions and Decision AnalysisEmployee EngagementGovernmentMillennialsRecruitmentRelationships

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