How Hiring a New Employee is like Getting a Free Five-Dollar Bill

Some companies decide to hire new employees slowly, inviting their candidates to come back two, three, even four times for interviews with different decision-makers.

The process begins with an HR interview, and then is followed up by a different interview, on a different day, with the hiring manager for the open position.

If that goes well, the candidate comes back a third time to meet with the Department Head and, if that ends with a thumbs-up, the candidate returns a fourth time to meet with the CEO or some other C-level person entrusted with what is commonly referred to as the “personality check” interview. Nothing technical is discussed, but the final interview is a company officer deciding if the new hire is representative of the corporate culture.

This all looks great on paper, but let’s reframe this exercise by imagining a metaphor for the same situation.

In our theoretical example, your banker strolls into your office on a Friday afternoon clutching a handful of currency, walks up to your desk, and fans them out.

“Take one,” she says, her face beaming with delight.

You peer at the sheaf of currency she’s got fanned out like a hand of cards, and you notice a $100 bill, two $20 bills, and a $5 bill. “Any bill?” you ask, a smile of doubt on your face.

Your banking benefactor smiles warmly.

You hesitate. You’re not sure. It would be so easy to take the $100 bill, but there has to be a catch, right?

You say “Come back next week. Let me think about this.”

The next Friday, she strolls back into your office, holding a handful of currency. She walks up to your desk, fans them out, and says “Okay, how about now?”

You peer at the fanned-out bills, but all you see are the two $20 bills and the $5. “Where’s the hundred?” you ask, brow furrowed in confusion.

“Oh,” says the banker benefactor. “Somebody else snatched that up last week after I left your office. Don’t worry, I have PLENTY of bills left.”

This doesn’t sit well with you, because it’s only been a week since the initial offer. You demur, asking her to come back next week. This all sounds very much like a scam. Too good to be true. Free money?

You spend that week researching scams with bankers on the Internet, reading through dozens of how-to and advice columns, and you’re prepared for the banker’s return on Friday.

When she walks in, striding with power and purpose, you stand up at your desk. Today’s the day. You’re going to relieve her of one of her proffered bills.

She steps up to your desk and holds out a single bill. It’s the $5 one.

“Wait, just a second,” you say, growing angry. “Two weeks ago, you offer me my choice of four bills, but today you have only one?”

“Sure,” she shrugs. “I make the same offer to all my clients, and every client grabs the most valuable bill first. The only bill I have left is this one, which was considered less valuable by all my other clients. Take it. It’s yours.”

So you take the $5 bill and she whirls around and leaves, out into the sunlight, away from your company.

You slowly sit down. You took three weeks to make sure that your decision was the right one. You were careful. You didn’t make any hasty decisions.

And you have a $5 bill to show for it.


Think about that for a moment. You had a $100 bill, but somebody who moved faster than you grabbed it. Same thing with the two $20 bills. At least you got SOMETHING.


Hiring employees in today’s economy isĀ  rewarding to those organizations who move nimbly, evaluating a candidate quickly, running them through well-planned interviews with decision-makers who are all-too-aware of how the best candidates, in an equal environment, are hired before the less-worthy ones.

And, if your organization takes three weeks or more to make an offer to a candidate, the chances are very strong that the only candidates still around to accept that offer will be ones that weren’t snapped up by more organized companies.


Lou Berger founded Talent Recruiters, Inc. in 2009 and is pleased to work with companies who seek to hire the best possible candidate before somebody else grabs them. To work with Lou and help improve the quality of your new hires, email him at Lou@TalentRecruiters.net, or call him at 303.539.9350.

Lou Berger

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