The candidate thinks, “I really need this job.”
The hiring manager thinks, “I’m tired of this, I really need to fill this job.”
As a result, the candidate says what he thinks will get him hired. He’s not listening, not really. And he’s not telling the truth, not really. He knows that he needs to thread a needle and say what needs to be said to get the job. He lies to himself about what he wants and lies to the interviewer to get the job.
As a result, the hiring manager isn’t really listening, not really. She’s looking for clues, unstated hints about what this person is really like. And when she shifts to sell mode about the organization, she alternates between glossing over the bad bits, exaggerating the good ones (“Everyone here is really creative, and there’s no office politics…”) and being impossibly skeptical about the potential of the person across the desk.
No one is acting badly here. Cognitive dissonance is real, and the hope is that once in the new role, the hired person will grow to love it. And no job is static, and the hope is that with the earnest and generous work of the hired person, the role will get better.
We could all save a lot of time and energy if we could figure out a way to find an actual fit.
One person thinks, “I have room in my career for just a dozen jobs. Is this one worthy?”
And the other realizes, “We could outsource this work, but we’re going to keep it in house if we find the right match. Is it you?”