The Mirror Effect and How It’s Hurting Your Candidate Search

When people talk about diversity, no matter the area – racial diversity, gender diversity, or a diversity of ideas, they often admit that having even one person who is different from the rest, opens the door for more difference.


The same can be said for your candidate search. Most hiring managers have a tendency towards one of two extremes. They either want to hire:

  • Someone exactly like them, looking for commonalities in the interview and resume, or
  • Someone who’s a mirror reflection of them, appears to be the complete opposite but in truth is really the same


Hiring a Recruiter Helps You See Things Differently

Have you ever gone out to eat before and asked your waiter for a suggestion on the menu? Some waiters will ask you what kinds of food you like and then make a suggestion from there. Sometimes their choice is a little adventurous for your tastes but you follow it anyway. Maybe you’re even surprised how much you enjoyed it, particularly if it was something you wouldn’t have selected for yourself.

When you hire a recruiter, that person will listen to your hiring needs, will ask you questions about your office culture, and get to know the requirements of the position. From there, s/he might surprise you. They may suggest you should look for more experience than you’re asking for or they may advise that you should open the search up to out-of-state candidates. For instance, often our clients ask for a straight university technology transfer background. If we think the position and team will benefit from it, sometimes we present a candidate that has a broader background to include start-ups or corporate tech transfer experience. It allows for a much broader spectrum search and candidates from that side bring viewpoints and experience that the university may not have considered. Ultimately, it’s the client’s decision but we want to make sure we present a well-rounded slate of candidates.


Why Different Is Better in a Candidate Search

Recruiters are looking for the best fit for your office, team, and the position, but they’re not looking in the mirror like you are. Recruiters have different connections and relationships in the industry. They can present a much more robust and diverse slate of candidates. They will not bring you a bunch of mini-yous.

And that’s a good thing. Not that you’re not a terrific person but…according to Joel Peterson, a consulting professor at Stanford and chairman of Jet Blue Airlines, hiring “yourself” is the number one mistake people make in hiring. He suggests, “You want to work with a group of people who challenge each other’s perspectives, and push each other beyond perceived limitations.”

If you’re ready to challenge your team and push beyond what you previously thought possible, consult a recruiter about the candidate search. See what they can do to streamline your hiring process and free up your time for things you’d rather be doing.

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