Hiring the Right Person

Malcolm Gladwell presented at the New Yorker conference on the Challenge of Hiring in the Modern World. As usually, he provides some great thoughts. I wrote on Hiring the Right Workers

The job market is an inefficient market. There are many reasons for this including relying on specification (this job requires a BS in Computer Science – no Bill Gates you don’t meet the spec) instead of understanding the system. Insisting on managing by the numbers even when the most important figures are unknown and maybe unknowable. Using HR to find the right person to work in a process they don’t understand (which reinforces the desire to focus on specifications instead of a more nuanced approach). The inflexibility of companies: so if a great person wants to work 32 hours a week – too bad we can’t hire them. And on and on.

Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t use the same language but I think he says many of the same ideas: “Insisting on managing by the numbers even when the most important figures are unknown and maybe unknowable.” etc. This idea he frames as a mismatch problem.

Related: Hiring: Silicon Valley StylePeople are Our Most Important AssetMalcolm Gladwell SynchronicityHiring, Does College Matter?Interviewing and Hiring ProgrammersGladwell (and Drucker) on Pensions

One thought on “Hiring the Right Person

  1. I think the sentence, “Insisting on managing by the numbers even when the most important figures are unknown and maybe unknowable”. Can also be summed-up are follows:

    Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital

    Reply

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