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December 12, 2019

The Cost Of Riskless Hiring

As job descriptions become more prescriptive and HR departments try to minimize churn, the result is a narrowing definition of qualified.

In his book Range, David Epstein quotes Abbie Griffin and her colleagues’ research into serial innovators:

A mechanistic approach to hiring, while yielding highly reproducible results, in fact reduces the numbers of high-potential [for innovation] candidates.

Risk mitigation is important, but it’s also important to remember it’s not costless. While well-defined, specialized jobs can create a clean target against which to evaluate candidates, they can screen out potentially high performing employees.

It’s a lesson finance learned long ago: by limiting the downside of a transaction, upside is capped.


Stephen Weiss

Thanks for reading! My name's Stephen Weiss. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn.
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