Talent & Vomit: An Analogy

Kylie Quetell Kylie Quetell, Talent Management 7 Comments

I hope that everyone’s holiday was better than mine. I spent Christmas night curled up on the bathroom floor at my parents’ house. I had food poisoning. I spent 36 hours basically replaying that scene from Bridesmaids. It is comedy gold, until it happens to you. I still don’t know how my body was able to find that much content to expel. Violently. I am not exaggerating this experience. For those of you that really need a visual aid to paint the picture, watch this clip. You’ll thank me later.

Lucky for you, my nausea lasted for a full week. As a result, I had a lot of time to think. This particular introspection birthed an analogy:

  • You knew when you interviewed that person, they weren’t the right fit. You felt it in your gut.
    I knew when I was eating that raw egg that it was probably a bad idea. My gut was telling me to stop.
  • You hired them anyway. You had a need for immediate talent. They fit that need. Plus, they dressed nicely and had a great hand shake.
    I ate it anyway, because it satiated my immediate need. I was hungry, and it looked good.
  • Onboarding was a breeze. Interview, hire, background check, orientation. Boom. New talent just like that. All of my problems are solved.
    I don’t know what I was so worried about. It tasted good enough, went down in 5 big bites. Boom. No longer hungry.

And just like that, you’ve solved your talent needs. You had a gap, they filled it. Sure, your gut was trying to tell you to stop, but that was just so damn easy. Now you can get back to business, move initiatives forward, and focus on doing your work.

But wait…

  • Holy shit, that was a horrible idea. They are personality poison.
    Why does my stomach hurt so badly? Oh man, this is going to suck.
  • Why didn’t I trust my gut? No problem, termination is easy. I’ll just fire them.
    Maybe if I just puke once, I’ll get it out of my system and my stomach won’t hurt anymore.
  • Why is this taking so long? Coaching, Human Resource Specialists, paperwork, more coaching, more time, more effort, more energy. I’m exhausted.
    Puke, poop, pain, brush teeth, shower, scene from Bridesmaids, puke, pain, puke, puke, puke. Over and over. I’m exhausted.

It was so easy to get them in here. It is so hard to get them out. What took a few weeks to hire, is taking months to fire. Zero energy needed to bring them in. Exorbitant amount of energy to get them out. Not to mention what they are doing to your organization while they are still here. If you had trusted your gut initially, you could have skipped all of this pain.

Shit happens. Literally and figuratively. You’re going to make mistakes, however it is important to look back and try to identify what caused it all. In my instance, I believe it was those raw eggs. I thought they were undercooked, but I didn’t follow up to ask.

In our analogy, what did you miss?

  • What could you have asked differently in the interview to identify the problems?
  • Did you accept the first answer given, because it was good enough and you needed to find talent?
  • How could you have dug in during the interview to find the truth?
  • If personality matters so much in your organization, what questions can you add to your repertoire?

Why didn’t you trust your gut?

  • Slow down, take time to think.
  • Write down all of the feels. We often say to keep emotion out of it. Do not do that. Allow yourself to feel.
  • Go back and reanalyze. If you’re on the fence about the candidate, the answer is probably no.

Don’t eat the raw eggs just because you’re hungry, and don’t hire that person just because you need talent. Trust me when I say, you will regret it. It takes moments to bring someone into your organization. It is agonizing trying to get them out. 

Comments 7

  1. Very interesting read. I fully agree with you that people should rely more on gut instinct (in psychology it is refered to as heuristics). I recommend an interesting book called “Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious” by Gerd Gigerenzer, the director of the Max Planx Institure for Human Development. Also would recommend “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell but that is just Malcolm Gladwell’s interpretation of the word done by Gerd Gigerenzer. They are both very interesting.

    In society today, especially the sciences, people will look down on anyone who talks about using gut instinct. I think this is extremely flawed and dangerous. Most of our situations do not allow us the time to collect all of the relevant data needed to make an educated/data driven analysis. Relying on gut instinct allows us to make the best decision in the moment and later we can change our minds once more data is received.

    1. In my experience, getting a feel for what your gut is telling you is only a part of the total evaluation of the situation. To me, being a great culture fit is big, but not complete part of the picture. So while I agree that trusting your gut is important, I would say that evaluating the entire scene, and using your gut as one of the data points leads to greater success. In the roles I recruit, having a history of learning is another giant part of success, so in addition to my gut, I also examine that. Luckily, that is much easier to gauge, since the evidence provided is more empirical.

  2. This is a new perspective that one can present. This would be the condition of every employer and the recruiters in the upcoming year. Thanks for mentioning this at the right time.

  3. Right on! There is definitely something to be said for gut feeling plus all of the other factors that we should be watching for! Great read 🙂

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