Why Hiring is Like a Three-act Play
By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 2008
And How Great Beginnings Help Ensure Strong Endings
Aristotle divided drama into three parts - a beginning (where a situation is introduced), a middle (where the situation unfolds) and an end (where the situation is resolved, for better or worse). For example:
- Introduction - Prince Hamlet agonizes over the death of his father, whom he believes was murdered by the new king (Hamlet's uncle, Claudius).
- Development - Hamlet devises an elaborate scheme to expose King Claudius.
- Resolution - Numerous bad people and good people die, including Claudius and Hamlet.Shakespeare actually wrote the tragedy in five acts, as was the custom of the day, but the principle of a beginning, a middle and an ending remains. Hiring is no different.
In the beginning, a position opening occurs - generally for one of four reasons: someone got promoted, someone was fired, someone quit, or the position is new.
During the middle, one or more methods are used to identify and attract candidates for the position. Interviews eventually take place. As in Hamlet, twists and turns of fate occur and, before you know it, the middle act turns into several acts.
At last, however, a candidate is hired, and the curtain comes down - one hopes to rave reviews.
Is it drama? Is it comedy? Sometimes it seems to be a little of both, and we are not quite sure whether to laugh or cry. The drama began most seriously, with a critical position opening demanding to be filled. Then there were those couple of pratfalls, which changed the tone entirely. (Remember the interviewee who spilled soup in his lap?) And when the nod went at last to the internal candidate, it seemed almost like an anticlimax.