Nihilist Hiring

Malcolm Gladwell's Hamlet Was Wrong
Malcolm Gladwell’s Hamlet Was Wrong

I’ve often wondered if I was alone in my thoughts about hiring people and the hiring process. Take, for example, the NFL Draft whereupon millions of dollars in salary and millions more as a football organization are at stake as teams select amateur athletes to become professionals in the first round.

The process is absolutely grueling and, I promise, unlike any job interview you’ve ever had. After being picked over near-naked in a public venue in front of hundreds, you are tested in every aspect of your athleticism and physical body at the NFL Draft Combine. (X-rays, blood tests, EKGs, MRIs, drug tests…) You are interviewed in person for hours, but, with so much on the line, organizations have also taken to interviewing nearly everyone you’ve been associated with since you were old enough to throw a football. It’s a process a private investigator would drool over.

And yet?

Of the 223 first round picks over the past seven years, 120 have averaged an AV (Approximate Value) of 5 or more for their careers so far; that’s good for a 53% success rate.

Vincent Richardson
“First Round Picks Only Have a 53% Success Rate And Other Troubling Draft Thoughts,” The Riot Report

“Hamlet Was Wrong”

The phrase that Hirschman and Colorni would repeat to each other was that they hoped to ‘prove Hamlet wrong.’ Hamlet shouldn’t have been frozen by his doubts; he should have been freed by them. Hamlet took himself too seriously.

Malcolm Gladwell
“The Gift of Doubt,” The New Yorker

Your final decision is a coin flip. It turns out Malcolm Gladwell has a similar belief in hiring.

Photo via Revisionist History, captioned by Gladwell: “Hiring nihilism in action.”