Recently a friend of mine @mkhulusi sent me a Facebook message:
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Hi Mohammed! we were; me and my friend discuss this, there is a quote of Sun Zzu said:
Why employer is skillful if he employ the covetous and stupid? If I know that a candidate is stupid, why should I employ someone who will make many mistakes that affect my work?
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I decided to turn the table and share that quote on my facebook page and tag some of my friends to spark discussion about the quote so I tagged Walter Akana, Julie Walraven who run Design Resumes and Heather Coleman who run Career Savvy. The last two are member of Career Gurus’s team.
There was confusion to define stupid man!
Julie Walraven said: You have to first define stupid. To me the stupid person is the one who has blessings all around him and opportunity but sits watching TV or drinking beer or both and ignores his God-given potential. To me, that is a lesson to keep going.
This discussion inspired Julie to write a blog post about stupid people but in another view, she wrote in How do you start your day?
What makes some people so different? I really don’t think it is because they are stupid. I think it is their choices.
Heather Coleman said: If Sun Tzu’s definition of stupid is “simple” then I can understand his statement. Varying skill sets, talents and personality types are necessary to maintain and grow a successful company. A position one person would find mind-numbing and beneath him/herself another will do with great pride because it is necessary.
Walter Akana shared what he found in Google. For the wise man delights in establishing his merit, the brave man likes to show his courage in action, the covetous man is quick at seizing advantages, and the stupid man has no fear of death.
Interestingly, based on these definitions, there are lots of otherwise intelligent people who may appear or act ‘stupid’ at times!
Then, I asked: Why should a skillful employer employ a stupid man?
Heather Coleman said: I do not generally hire stupid people. Although I *have* inadvertantly, and found out later that they were very good actors during the interviewing process.
I believe the most dangerous person to a company is one of below average intelligence who is ‘stupid’ but also cunning, clever and manipulative. Selfish, self-centered and jealous with limited capacity to share in a vision, these types can wreak havoc within an organization.
If ‘unskilled’ is the definition, I think these people are integral to an organization. Some qualities I have observed are that many people like this take their on-the-job training seriously are pleasant to work with, loyal and show pride in their work.
Walter Akana said: I think Sun Tzu may be onto something with stupid/fearless for something like a (sales) blitz! There is in some businesses a need for some fearless execution of a plan, without a lot of individual discretion or worry. However, I’d want to be precise enough, in my hiring, to know when I need that.
In the end …
Julie Walraven said: I am not a recruiter and I don’t hire. I work with job seekers to help them find their niche and I read the response that doesn’t seem to be on the end of this by e-mail that said that it was a hidden skill not revealed. My clients are all coached “accomplishment, accomplishment, accomplishment” and while they could miss something, they are challenged to focus on that both in the written materials (resume, cover letter, emails etc. and in any interviews) so to not show it would be an error but I probably wouldn’t call them stupid ever.
Heather Coleman said: I would end my comments here by saying that while I have never intentionally hired anyone whom I thought would be incompetent, the interviewing process is not perfect, so I have made errors in judgment. Today with Social Media and Personal Branding we have a much clearer idea of who we are potentially hiring.
As for the term ‘stupid’ – that was written in a specific context for a specific time in history. I have never and would never consider utilizing that terminology. My focus is understanding each person’s specific abilities and talents, and encouraging them to realistically highlight their accomplishments as well as their future potential. From this perspective, in addition to teaching the soft skills required for any position regardless of title, I believe that all levels are necessary for an accomplished workforce.
My idea here still falls along the lines of personality type, sense of responsibility and accountability, vision and integrity. Any person, lacking these, will be a liability to an organization.
Walter Akana said: Fearless, interestingly, is a great quality! In the end, though, “stupid” is the probably not a good classification, because I don’t think we really don’t mean that. What we may mean is people who don’t take the time to question, but are willing to fearlessly execute.
Thanks to social media, one status spark this informative discussion. Anyway, nothing finish without my touch.
I don’t think there is stupid people and don’t think someone will employ them unless there is a conflict of interest. Whatever the reason that Sun Tzu call them stupid, I think he meant different people who could add value to the employer.
My other point from this post is that: I see stupid recruiters more than stupid candidates and that’s a big reason why these successful entrepreneurs Are Making These Business Mistakes? Most of them said: bad hires!
We are living in Trust Agents age where: “Success in the future will not be based on one-way communications about one’s resume or brand, but two-way conversations inside communities of shared interest.”
If its the candidate job is to prepare for the interview, its recruiter job to do the same and even more than that. How do you call a candidate a stupid because he didn’t answer one question? Why do you hire someone whose acting on you and you are happy with that? Why don’t you hire the linchpin one? Seth Godin said: linchpin is someone who can walk into a room and create order out of chaos. They are special people who view the world differently and who may or may not have the title applicable to the value they bring.
A candidate could be stupid when he knew there is upcoming interview and he didn’t prepare well because he thought its just another wasteful time one. You don’t know when the dream job comes.
A recruiter’s job is to make the interview a garble one where he try to ask questions that show the unique brand attributes of candidates. How many times an ambitious entrepreneur you interviewed and you think he/she was stupid and after few years, he/she become the one that you pay anything to bring him/her to your company?
Lets take an example to demonstrate the last paragraph: Assume an interview for opening social media position and the recruiter ask the candidate: How many Twitter followers you have? The candidate reply 20,000, the recruiter say WoW! You are the man! You are hired!
Is that what expected from the hiring manager? The recruiter job was to investigate how he got the 20,000 followers. Did he earn or buy them? Was his conversation on Twitter influential? What type of Twitter personality he has? What about asking him about a web link he shared recently about social media statistics? Why recruiters are not asking good questions!?
@animal said: The recruiter is only stupid if she falls for inflated numbers. But she would be wise to discuss follower strategy.
Did we define Stupid Candidates right? Are you going to hire them? Did I define Stupid Recruiters right? Whats missing here? talk with us!
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