Happily ever after in Hiring: a Fairy Tale or Reality?

Happily ever after in Hiring_ a Fairy Tale or Reality_

… and they all lived happily ever after. 

Ask a thousand recruiters, hiring managers, or anyone else involved in the hiring process what they think is indicative of hiring success and you’ll get a thousand different answers. But I can almost guarantee that most of the answers will revolve around the fact that hiring success implies a sort of a happily ever after between the employer and the employee. 

And even though that does indeed sound like the end goal, so to say, I’ll try to debunk the aspects of the happily ever after in hiring: Is it a fairytale or reality? 

Only one way to find out – continue reading!

The Fairy tale: Beauty and the Beast

I’m sure you know the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast in which Belle embarks on a journey to rescue her father from a dangerous creature that has captured him in a dungeon. Eventually, she learns that the beast is actually an enchanted prince who has been put under a curse because of his arrogance and selfishness. 

Now, you might be wondering what this fairy tale has to do with recruitment – so let’s dive in.

The Beauty – believing we always know best

Absolute clarity about what makes a candidate a good or suitable hire is KEY to recruitment success. And I’m sure you already know that. And I’m also almost certain that you think you know what you need – what kind of skills, experiences, personality, and so on that your ideal candidate must possess in order to excel at their job. 

Just like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, every recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone else responsible for hiring in a way is a dreamer. We all dream of finding the perfect candidate (or rather the candidate finding us) for each open job role. I mean, who does not love the idea of  – running around in a field of flowers and casually strolling through a cute village with a book in your hand and getting a free cupcake from the local bakery. All while the magical “all I ever wanted” candidate shows up on our doorstep. Literally. Best. Day. EVER. Right?

Sounds too good to be true? Well, it probably is. Actually, it most definitely is. 

We all tend to guess what makes someone successful in our company, while there is no one definition of what makes someone a great employee. The reality is that it’s context-dependent. The fact that some people are your ‘top performers’ does not mean that they are the best out there. 

Or even that they are the best for your company.

As a result of making assumptions like these, for example, you fall right into the belly of the Beast. What do I mean by that? Well, continue reading on…

The Beast – our own biases as our biggest enemies

Belle is a beautiful young lady, and Beast is – well, the Beast. Let me guess, when you read out the word Beast, you’re probably thinking of something terrifying, dangerous, and something to avoid by all means. 

But as the story goes – the first impression of the Beast is that he is scary and intimidating, yet as Belle gets to know him, she learns that there is so much more to him than what’s visible on the facade. All he needed was for someone to give him a chance, the benefit of the doubt.

And the only Beast in this situation is our very own unconscious biases standing in the way of us making hiring decisions that are future-proof and our assumptions that hiring a new employee should result in a happily ever after

So, here’s a reality check for you – fairy tales are not real & neither is happily ever after in hiring. Unless…

The Reality: fairy tales are not real & neither is happily ever after in hiring

Fairy tales are not real, but they do give us valuable lessons

Even though the story of Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale, it does provide us one very valuable lesson – the importance of not judging a book by its cover (or in this case, looking beyond the facade of the Beast).

It takes one-tenth of a second to get a false first impression of someone. That is also how long it can take you to completely undermine your entire recruitment process, hire the wrong person for your team, and find yourself right back where you started months ago and a huge headache later.

The thing is we all think we know what we need and what makes the best hire (this is the fairy tale, the happily ever after we all so desperately seek). That’s why we often choose to trust subjective assumptions over objective indicators when evaluating candidates and making a final hiring decision. 

This is the self-fulfilling, bias-feeding concept in our brains, which makes us judge people (or fairy tale characters, in this case) within the blink of an eye. Without really even attempting to form an objective opinion or getting to know the person they actually are.

What we fail to understand, however, is that there is no one ubermensch form of what makes a perfect candidate, there is no one definition that is valid across industries, departments, and specific job roles. No one description of what will make someone successful at a job. It’s all context and situation-dependent. 

On top of that, it’s also highly dependent on the current team composition, product, and markets your company is operating in.

The happily ever after part

The first consequence of having a candidate-focused market is a rise in the number of people leaving your company. Your best employees probably get sourced by recruiters on a daily basis, and there’s a fair chance that they will eventually leave you to join a company that better reflects their personal goals or beliefs.

So it comes without a surprise that Employee retention seems to be on top of everyone’s minds during one of the most challenging times in recruitment – The Great Resignation.

I personally think employee retention is a horrible way to describe the relationship between an employer and an employee because it implies that employees should be almost somehow forcefully kept within the company no matter what. I mean the definition of retention is quite literally “the continued possession, use, or control of something”.

The fact that the market is so candidate-driven that often, especially, within the SaaS industries that are either in the startup or scaleup phases – people tend to leave, not because they don’t enjoy the work they are doing or the company they work for. But simply because they don’t want to stay in the same company forever.

You should understand this and embrace it – we don’t live in the world our parents grew up in, where you got a job and spent 15-20 years within the same company. In fact, I don’t really know anyone that would even want to do that. People grow from change and change is constant. And inevitable. Especially in the world we live in now. After all – new people bring new perspectives and with new perspectives, there is more innovation, creativity, and opportunities to do what you do even better.

How Equalture can help you make the fairy tale a reality

Here at Equalture, we develop gamified psychometric tests that allow for an unbiased, objective & gamified way of assessing candidates so you can get to know the person on different levels, to objectively and accurately assess someone’s fit with the team, culture, and job. 


Hire the right person for the job, team, and culture & create your own version of happily ever after. Make the fairy tale a reality.

Get in touch with us & we’ll gladly tell you more about it!

Anete Vesere

Cheers, Anete

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