The Kenny Rogers of Hiring Managers

I feel for you, Talent Pro. The labor market is tight, executive expectations are high, yet through it all, you’ve built out a well-respected and high functioning recruiting organization within your company.

In your shop three years ago, talent acquisition was a mess. No one knew what success looked like, bad hires were common and good hires were accidents. Corporate spend on third party recruiting was undisciplined, random and expensive. You and your team came in and showed what a recruiter could do when they picked up the phone and built relationships with candidates and hiring managers.

Now, you’re valued. You have solved business problems involving people for the executive group, and you and your team walk around the office like the HR version of Ron Burgundy and squad. The execs trust your judgment.

Um, except for Tommy. You see, Tommy knows how to hire and says he’s got a great gut feel and knows how to read people. He can “size people up.” Tommy likes taking risks on people because they pay off high rewards. He quotes Kenny Rogers.

He’s a gambler. A rogue hiring manager. He can tell when people have “it.”

The problem is that Tommy usually sucks. Tommy doesn’t understand the difference between investing in talent that might be a bit outside of normal parameters vs. gambling on some random waiter he bonded with last night at Chevy’s Fresh Mex.

When you run into “The Gambler”, here’s a definition from Cullen Roche at Pragmatic Capitalism to educate him or her on gambling vs. investing:

Gambling is placing capital at risk in a zero sum game with an uncertain outcome in a system in which the odds are generally unfavorable over long periods of time. Investing, on the other hand, is placing capital at risk in a positive sum game with an uncertain outcome in a system in which the odds are generally favorable over long periods of time. (emphasis mine)

In The Gambler’s mind, someone has to lose. I’m better than you at this, so I’ll win by taking a chance on a hire (zero sum).

That’s different than:

We can systematically and intelligently put a process in place that identifies what makes people succeed–and then screen, select and develop (increase capital) to get more than just what they brought to the table originally.

Show that quote in italics above to the Gambler, educate them on how you can help them invest in talent, and get one more person believing in your system.

And never, ever quote Kenny Rogers.

FOT Note: This rant is brought to you by the good folks at OutMatch who like us enough to be an annual sponsor at FOT for all content in our Talent Selection and Employee Development track (and don’t expect that we run any of this by them ahead of time). 

FOT Background Check

RJ Morris
R. J. Morris is based in the STL as the Director of Talent Acquisition and Management for McCarthy Building Companies, a multi-billion dollar national firm. Like many others in the FOT clan, he’s a sports nut who can endlessly draw the parallels between athletes, sports and the talent management game. I know, I know, as if we needed more of that. He has 10 years of practitioner experience leading talent efforts in corporate HR and another 7 years in leadership roles on the agency side, so he gets both sides of the desk. Talk to R.J. via emailLinkedInTwitter...

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