It is both really good — and really bad — that we mostly get out of people what we expect of them.

By Steve Moran

Recently Denise Boudreau-Scott posted this in the Senior Living Leadership Facebook Group:

“In 2018, you’ll hire people you never would have hired in 2008.” Sitting on the beach and reading my Fortune magazine from February 2018 (don’t judge, it takes me a while to get to them!). Do you find this to be true?

The idea behind her post and the quote is that because unemployment is so low, hiring managers are going to end up hiring people who are not that good, people who never would have been considered for the position in more “normal” times. This is because they:

  • Are too old

  • Are too young

  • Don’t have enough experience

  • Don’t have the right look

  • Are weird

My initial reaction was that — regardless of how hard it is — a hiring leader should never compromise when it comes to making the right hiring decision. But the more I think about the question, I wonder if I am too hasty. Here is why:

  1. Some Positions Just Have to be Filled: It is painful to admit but sometimes you actually are in a position where putting someone in a position is better than leaving it open. You have a shift that needs covering, the front desk needs to be covered by someone. Sometimes you have to made these hard choices.

  1. Giving People a Shot: I am actually really intrigued by the idea that we might be “forced” by circumstances to hire folks that we would not normally hire, people who don’t fit the mold, people who make us feel uncomfortable.  

    Is it possible that those are the individuals who, if given the chance, will be the ones who will excel? Is it possible they will be the ones who will be so hungry to succeed, to prove conventional wisdom wrong? Might they be the ones who blow it out of the water?


It is both really good — and really bad — that we mostly get out of people what we expect of them. Even if we never tell them what we think. There have been some fascinating studies where teachers have been told a random group of ordinary students was extremely gifted and, magically, they performed like gifted students rather than ordinary students.  

My Big Idea

That next hire you are not crazy about, or that last hire you didn’t really want to make . . . start thinking like they were a star. Start talking to them about how responsible they are, how creative they are, how trustworthy they are, what a superstar they are!

You will be amazed at what you get.