Obviously, every company culture is different and sometimes what hiring managers think and say they want is exactly the opposite of what they really mean by fit. Do you find this to be the case in your recruiting experience? If so, what's the main cause of this discrepancy?

In job opportunity listings, we often see terms such as:

  • Self-starter
  • Innovative
  • High tolerance for ambiguity
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Takes initiative
  • Fast-thinker
  • Continual learning
  • Risk-taker
  • Problem-solver
  • Multi-tasking
  • Take-charge attitude
  • Resourcefulness
  • Capacity for change
  • Go-getter
  • Opportunity spotter
  • Learns from mistakes (not afraid to fail)
  • Self-motivated
  • Leadership
  • Driven
  • Intellectual curiosity

The traits above could apply to a wide array of professionals, but they are commonly attributed to characteristics of self-employed, freelancers and entrepreneur types. Ironically, the article here suggests that those classified as such are routinely shunned as suitable job candidates in corporate environments. http://qz.com/97962/entrepreneurs-need-not-apply-companies-shun-the...

Are “independent” workers unfairly stereotyped as non-conformist, boat-rocking, disruptive, rule-breaking rebels? Or, are the labels above viewed positively and sought after when seeking new talent? Have the economic events of the past several years influenced opinions one way or the other?


Views: 669

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 28, 2013 at 11:20pm

I see that gradoo all the time in almost every JD i get.  I don't think it's the hiring managers, i think that is a bunch of HR speak that has become the attempt of people in HR who have decided that throwing all that claptrap in makes their job description sound sexy.

What i hear the most from hiring managers is :  Find me somebody who is smart, can think, communicate verbally and in writing above the high school level and doesn't bitch all the time or drive everybody crazy.  I don't have time to babysit nor do i want to.  I want somebody who "gets it", if they don't know they know how to find out.

I just had a hiring manager tell me the story of a candidate he interviewed for a chemical plant management position.  The hiring manager asked him a question about what kind of pump he would order for a certain process.  The candidate looked him in the eye and said, "I don't know but give me a minute."  The candidate whipped out his ipad, took about 30 seconds and told the hiring manager that based on what he had been able to check very quickly he would think that x kind of pump would be the best but of course he would double check that decision with the hiring manager since he was unfamiliar with the specific pump.

Hiring manager offered him the job over other candidates who either guessed or went through a long bunch of BS. 



Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on July 1, 2013 at 8:32pm

Thanks for commenting, Sandra! It sounds like we could all use some more HMs like the ones you deal with. How nice to focus on the basics that matter rather than a bunch of touchy-feely fluff. I wonder how many capable candidates are being passed over because they present "plain" and don't put a PC spin on every interview answer to tell the employer what they want to hear and how they want to hear it. 

Comment by Derdiver on July 1, 2013 at 8:43pm

Brilliant. This is sadly true and what we have been saying fro some time.  Google just said that standardized testing is worthless in finding good talent. Bravo!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 1, 2013 at 9:00pm

I'm happy to report we're getting better at this :) our HMs are told to focus on certain areas and I think that helps... instead of making a blanket judgment call they are tasked with "is this person collaborative" or whatever (broader than that but you get the idea lol) it helps a lot and when there is disagreement we can talk about why someone was a hire or no hire and decide from there. They are developing pretty good BS monitors too which is great.

as far as entrepreneurs - I think there's been a long standing myth that the self employed or even contractors can't be "managed" but we're finding that's not always the case. :)


Comment by Will Thomson on July 1, 2013 at 11:11pm
Great Post Kelly. Really made me think. A lot of corporations really do want "yes" men/women and the not the self starter/entrepreneur. Corporations are getting better at this and that image is changing slowly. I admire and respect independent workers. We need the Steve Jobs and Michel Dell's in this world. They too were once "independent". Thanks for the thought provoking post. Will
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on July 2, 2013 at 7:30pm

Thanks for commenting (& tweeting too) Derd, Amy & Will. I appreciate your input.

I think this topic is full of contradictions. There is so much bias and subjectivity in most hiring processes.

I was so glad to see the recent Google announcement acknowledging the worthless nature of those silly interview questions. I know I would've totally blown chunks if asked most of those questions AND I would have been completely annoyed at the lack of relevance to ANYTHING pertaining to ANYONE'S job. 

I know so many people that would be considered sucky at interviewing (as candidates) but totally deliver in the on the job performance department. I'm always pushing for more objective analysis of each person's potential and capacity for adding value beyond what goes on in the typical interview conversation.

The sad thing is there are plenty of talented people not selected due to being at the mercy of poor interviewers on the employer side - those that ask dumb questions - or - don't understand what they really want/need in the first place - or - start out on one course and suddenly change direction after needlessly rejecting those that met their stated needs, but not their hidden agenda for ??? 

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. 

~KB @TalentTalks 


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