How False Assumptions Wastes Good Talent

Generalizations can save us a lot of time. It’s what our brain does to organize our world and help us make quick decisions. But, do you ever think how false assumptions can obscure great opportunities and waste a lot of our time and energy from bad decision-making.Bad Decision based on False Generational Assumptions

Case in point. A seasoned executive recruiter, over 50, was discussing some of his searches for a large media company. He said they were looking for a senior creative executive to oversee the graphics and art design of a new TV network.  He already had two candidates but he said they were in their 60s and the client thought the candidates might not be up to speed on the latest technology. The client wanted to pass on the 60 plus candidates and look for younger candidates, assuming they were tech savvy.

Stop. That assumption could be dead wrong. Talk about a generalization that could lead to a lot of wasted time and loss in productivity.

That’s like assuming entrepreneurs have to be young 20 something’s and anyone over 30 is a has been. Think about the repercussion of that false assumption when you’re looking for your next great talent. Here are some stats on entrepreneurship that we found quite surprising ourselves. According to a recent Kauffman Foundation study of entrepreneurship, Boomers are outpacing their younger brethren in starting their own companies.

“Some people are calling entrepreneurship the ‘new mid-life crisis’ for the 76 million-strong demographic once thought to be over the hill”  writes Marty Zwilling in Startup Professionals.

Zwilling provides this data from the Kauffman Foundation:

  • In every single one of the last 15 years, Boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 have had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than Gen-Y, aged 20–34.
  • These trends seem likely to persist. In the Kauffman Foundation Survey of nearly 5,000 companies that began in 2004, nearly two-thirds of the founders are now between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • Additionally, Kauffman research has revealed that the average age of the founders of technology companies in the United States is a surprisingly high 39 – with twice as many over age 50 as under age 25.

Maybe, it’s because Boomers have the savings to go out on their own. Or, maybe some of them are frustrated they can’t find a job. Whatever the case, being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts and constant learning.

So, let’s get back to our executive recruiter and his client’s assumption that 60 plus year old job candidates aren’t up to speed on the latest technology. Luckily, the recruiter realized that’s probably a faulty assumption and is planning on quizzing his client on exactly what technology experience the job entails.  Most likely he’ll save himself and his client a lot of time chasing a myth when the perfect candidate could be right in front of them.

Here are two business training video courses that can help your organization make smart talent decisions:

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