Hope – It’s Only a Strategy When Running For President

Forgive the Obama slight – I am actually a big supporter of our President. It is just throughout the campaign, whenever I saw an Obama Hope poster, I chuckled. And it wasn’t the cynic in me.

I think that Hope is the most dangerous thing when interviewing candidates. Particularly for those of us who are empathetic. I for one really want people to succeed and strive to see the best in people. When making critical hiring decisions, however, hope is a killer because we simply cannot hope away our concerns. Those people who are most successful are unequivocal in their history of success – when you interview them it is clear. Yet when we like someone, feel sorry for them, or are just tired of looking, we need to be most diligent. I find it is those situations when I let Hope distort my judgment.

This is something I work on with new recruiters – because with our clients there is no such thing as “good enough.” When reviewing resumes that are sub par, rather than point out the deficiencies I ask, “Will your clients love this resume?” That usually does the trick.

I almost let Hope mess up a placement today while working with a recruiter on a difficult order for a client. This investment bank regularly outperforms competitors and their employee to earnings ratio is triple that of their closest competitor. In my eyes, it is because they have a very high bar when it comes to hiring. So one of my recruiters was working on a position with some difficult specifications and did not have a strong candidate. We looked at some of our 2nd tier candidates and considered sending them when my partner asked me, “Have you ever known this client to hire someone who was not great?”

And that was it – the job was a hard one to fill and we started to hope that we would get lucky. But all we would be doing was wasting an opportunity to get a placement. It was like knowingly using a defective arrow in an archery competition.

Hope, wouldn’t want to live without it – but it has no place in recruiting