Beard-osophy aka ‘Phil’osophy or The Choices We Make


My companion for lunch this week commented on my new beard before they even said hello generic synthroid.

“Wow. You’re growing a beard.”

When hair starts appearing on your face, you get one of two comments. Either the one listed above or “So … you’ve stopped shaving …”

It’s funny. That’s two ways of looking at the same thing. I know I’d prefer the former comment as it seems to indicate I’m doing something deliberate, constructive and possibly even doing something that involves effort or sacrifice.

Last night at dinner another friend asked the obvious next question to the former comment. “Why did you grow a beard?”

Well I don’t have an immediate answer to that. The reality is that not a lot of thought went into it. It wasn’t on my annual goal list. It just sort of happened – I went bush for a couple of weeks and when I came back, it was there.

The beard reality is that whilst not a lot of thought went into growing a beard (or from the other viewpoint, being a little lazy and not shaving), I still did make a choice. Maybe I wasn’t conscious that I had, but I had.

By this stage you are probably asking what this has to do with recruitment.

We make choices every day in what we do, who we hire and even who we keep hired. Even when we do nothing and maintain the status quo, we have made a choice and are experiencing a ‘human capital opportunity cost’.

Over the years I have observed a range of behaviours, justifications, criterias and other reasons for making a specific choice to hire one person over another or to not hire at all. And other times not a lot of thought seems to go into the choice at all.

You might now be asking if the choices made with the most thought, criteria, justification and effort produce the best outcome and results? I can’t say that is correct on all occasions.

Does this mean we should question our reasons for making certain choices.


We need to be conscious of our choices and why we make them. In the hiring game, it’s much easier to say no to hiring someone and justify that, than it is to make a conscious choice to say yes and hire someone. I think we have developed a hyper sensitive nature about hiring the wrong person that this fear now seems to outweigh any benefits of actually making an effort to hire anybody.  Because of the perceived pressure associated with making a bad decision, many organisation’s, or hiring managers, now hire to a mean reversion outcome of their people’s capabilities.

Once again, is this a bad thing? I’m not really sure. But I do think it explains why entrenched cultures within organisations are hard to change and if we want to change them, then we certainly need to review the choices that we make and why we make them.

Bottom line though is, we are always making decisions even if we’re not conscious of it. It’s been said that we are the sum total of the choices we make, so make them knowingly.

See, the beard is really making me smarter. It was a great choice after all!

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