John E. Struggles, the legendary former CEO of executive search firm Heidrich Struggles, famously described a three-question exercise that organizations employ to assess a job candidate’s suitability:

  1. Can the worker do the job?
  2. Will they be happy doing the job?
  3. WILL WE HATE THEM?

That last question is provocative—brusque and terribly rude, for sure—but it aptly captures the often meaningless “fit check” process that, to this day, hiring managers faithfully employ to determine a candidate’s suitability for an open assignment. As we explore what we hope to be meaningful career opportunities, we must keep that last question top of mind.

As a veteran executive recruiter, I can attest that a job candidate “worth their salt” will get from the hiring manager a thumbs-up on questions 1 and 2. However, the candidate cannot independently impact question 3; instead they find themselves completely at the mercy of the hiring manager and other team members. And what happens most often with this three-question exercise is that companies ultimately hire workers who “look like” the existing team but don’t change, expand the specialized capabilities of, or enhance and improve the culture of the organization.

And that is a serious problem.

Our guest on The Tightrope with Dan Smolen Podcast, workplace performance expert Adrienne Shoch, Principal of 5-to-1 Consulting in Washington, D.C., believes that the key to placing more people into meaningful work roles is by embracing neurocentricity and practicing empathetic recruitment. According to Shoch, neurocentrity is a barometer to how we see the world; it describes the dynamics that encapsulate how we relate to our environment and what allows us to thrive. It also helps to keep the nervous systems of all involved in the hiring process at ease. Empathetic recruitment draws extensively from neurocentricity, to place the hiring manager and the worker on a level playing field.

Of empathetic recruitment, Shoch describes the process as a validation of the people involved: the candidate’s needs, wants, and desires are taken seriously and the hiring manager gains confidence that the candidate that they hire becomes a trusted, respected, and productive member of the team. Additionally, she says that “if you [the job candidate] are smart, flexible, and nice, then we [the hiring manager and the candidate] will figure it all out.”

Shoch believes that smart companies will embrace neurocentricity and empathetic recruitment, because it makes good business sense; hired workers will enjoy longer and more successful tenures at the company doing meaningful work, and, hiring managers will gain more inclusive and successful teams that meet and exceed objectives and scale more revenue. All good!

Listen to our engaging episode with performance expert Adrienne Shoch HERE.

Image Credits: Explore and Empathetic Workers, iStock Photo.