You Get Hired for What You Know, You Get Fired For…

Great article this week on Psychology Today website called You Get Hired for What You Know; You Get Fired For….  Spoiler alert:  They authors claim you get fired for WHO YOU ARE. The subtitle of the article is:  Lessons from our favorite leadership nightmare, The Office’s Steve Carell.

I fundamentally agree with this interesting point of view – that a candidate can mask most flaws to get hired, but that a person’s basic flaws ultimately will show in the workplace, and for some people, will prevent them from achieving great success. 

The author’s advice to employers is to probe deeply for traits that manifest themselves in success (and in failure, by their absence), and to see if you can discover the truth about what will be a prospective hire’s undoing.  Not a bad idea, but we stick by our often repeated suggestion:   Ask performance based questions to detect the person’s capability to do specifically what you need done!  Probing into the specifics of relevant successes and failures will get you even more precise qualifying information.

Psychology Today’s archives are full of interesting articles that relate to behavior in the workplace, so explore more of these for good writing by experts.


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Comment by Brian Larson on April 27, 2011 at 11:38am
Great point.  The key is probing for "traits" in personality traits.  Typically, a person cannot change their personality; it's who they are.  You may be able to adjust it some, but as Popeye says, "I am who I am".  True words when describing people in the workplace as well.  A person's true stripes will typically come out when operating under crisis.  A good tactic when hiring is to not only dig into what was behind a candidate's successes, but also what they did and how they reacted when faced with crisis.  Good article.
Comment by Leigh Cosgrove on April 28, 2011 at 3:49am
If you look at it the other way around if a candidate is who he is in the interview then there shouldn't be too many surprises once they are hired. The problem comes when candidates are overly preped by the recruiter trying to make a placement rather than matching candidate and employer. It is fine to help the candidate highlight specific skills and qualities required for the job but when other parts of their background or personality are swept under the CV carpet, those skeletons are bound to bust out of the closet at somepoint.


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