Profile Your People – Myers Barnes

There is an age-old parable that demonstrates the benefit of profiling potential new team members during the selection process. It goes like this:

There once lived a scorpion and a frog, who by nature were natural enemies.

One day, out of necessity, the scorpion had to cross a pond, but being a scorpion he couldn’t swim. So he approached the frog and asked, " Please, Mr. Frog, won’t you consider carrying me across the pond on your back?"

"You can’t be serious." replied the frog. "Why would I consider placing myself in danger, knowing you will sting me as I swim across?"

The scorpion replied, "But why would I sting you? It’s not in my best interest to sting you, because if I sting you, then I will drown."

Although the frog knew the nature of the scorpion and how lethal he was, the logic of the argument made perfect sense. Wanting to believe the best, the frog felt in this one instance the scorpion would keep his tail in check. So, the frog reluctantly agreed. The scorpion climbed aboard the frog’s back and they set off across the pond. Just as the frog reached the embankment on the other side, the scorpion set his tail and stung the frog. Mortally wounded, the frog cried out his last words: "How could you sting me? You promised!

"I know," replied the scorpion, as he waked away from the frog. "But after all, I am a scorpion. I have to sting you. It’s my nature."

If you doubt the validity of administering a personality profile on all prospective employees, remember what the frog forgot: Past behavior will normally predict future conduct.

Because individuals are so complex (yourself included), even the best hiring skills will give you only a certain insight and success rate. Each person is motivated differently and, because we are individuals, we have our own way of thinking and relating to others. Sometimes we adjust to others readily; other times we antagonize them.

Simple as it may seem, this is a difficult insight for many to accept. But the reality is, whether you profile job candidates or not, you will eventually learn their true nature. So, it’s better to find out as much as you can beforehand. Otherwise, you might discover that experience is defined as "knowing what you shouldn’t have done, if you had it to do all over again."

Best personal regards,

Myers Barnes Associates, Inc.

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