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Controlling the Monster Mentality in Recruiting


“The real world is where the monsters are.” ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

When we grow up and go to work, we essentially begin to lose our youthful innocence over the years and learn to face the business world with a new outlook.  In this world that we adjust to, we often see that real humans can be more frightening than any of the scary tales we heard around campfires or at sleepovers.

But, as adults, we also have the ability to see the magic and enchantment in what we can create, even when business can be frightening or unnerving at times.  And, as we focus on building an organization, sometimes we have to reign in our monster mentality to make the right decisions when it comes to talent selection.

“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.” ― Salman Rushdie

Beware if you’re seeing ghosts when you recruit.  They can take many forms and be very likable.  Sometimes, we see the faces of former employees or past bosses as an apparition in the candidates we interview and place misguided expectations on them based on our ties with the people they bear likeness to.

“Ghosts have a way of misleading you; they can make your thoughts as heavy as branches after a storm.” ― Rebecca Maizel, Infinite Days

Perhaps you couldn’t hold on to a valuable employee or the applicant has a similar life story that you sympathize with—don’t let your unfinished business with other people haunt you during the selection process.  See the candidate for who they really are and allow their story to speak for itself without letting your past experience shadow your judgment.

“This is the part in the movie where that guy says, “Zombies? What zombies?” just before they eat his brains. I don’t want to be that guy.” ― Holly Black, Kin

Don’t be ‘that guy.’  You know the one that everyone’s yelling at the movie screen not to go into the next room alone or who separates from the pack and then ends up dead.  Talent Acquisition should be a team effort with everyone looking out for each other. No one should be in denial of the importance of making a good hiring decision for your organization as well as the obstacles you will face to get there.

If you’re feeling like a lone wolf or if everyone is distracted from the goal, you’re never going to make it out alive together—or at least your hiring decisions aren’t going to be as sound.  They’ll be made out of frustration, desperation, or even lack of motivation and submission to the treacherous path ahead, which could end up killing your business.

“I will not negotiate with the undead!” ― David Wellington, Monster Island

Also, beware of inviting zombies into your workforce.  They may have brains and be in want of more, all the time, but that doesn’t mean they’re using them.  Sometimes what can appear to be drive or ambition towards a goal is really just an illusion or survival tactic on behalf of the candidate.

And, while it’s tempting sometimes to fill a seat with a body, not all bodies are warm bodies and many have the potential to fester and rot in place.  Look for candidates who have more than one motivating factor for wanting to work with your company.  If all they want is a paycheck, that’s likely what you’ll be giving them in exchange for a lifeless work ethic.

“Monsters were wild. Monsters were strong. Monsters were fierce and free.  If I was monstrous…perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing.” ― Sarah Diemer

Not all monsters are a bad. If you recall, even Frankenstein had a kind heart that was misunderstood due to a wretched exterior and Casper was a ‘friendly’ ghost.

Sometimes your business may require you to hire someone who is monstrous—just make sure you’re examining the right qualities in what makes them that way.  No two monsters are alike, and every once in awhile one might surprise you and actually be a fantastic fit for your needs if you can look past what makes them different from what you thought was your ideal job applicant.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Make sure you are not the invisible problem you’re fighting against to improve your recruitment process.  Negativity, disruption, frustration, complaining—these are all things that can turn you into your own worst enemy and frighten others away from wanting to work with you towards a solution.

“Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.” ― Brom, The Child Thief

Take a long, honest look at your process to make sure you are not the one creating the problems and that you are not acting in fear.  Fear can cripple even the best talent acquisition strategy and immobilize it. If you are afraid of your decisions, you will only see the bad and not the good.

While hiring can be stressful, look to the positive in the situation that you have the chance to bring on board someone with fresh eyes, a new perspective and new talents and skills to share.  Don’t let whispers of doubt creep in when you could be enjoying the thrills of inviting a new employee to your team.

“Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not.” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

When it comes to bringing on new talent, always remember your purpose and don’t get bewitched by your own mindset.  And, if your brain starts playing tricks on you, remember the treat at the end of the path is to add great talent that is going to help grow your business.

Don’t get caught up in what can turn into a recruitment nightmare, but instead focus on the rewards of the process, and you will be better served.  In the end, the only true monsters are the ones you create and let run wild.

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Robin Rayburn

About Robin Rayburn

Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.

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