Check your EGO at the Door, Please

I hear it from clients all the time – candidates who apparently do no wrong, can part the Red Sea and can literally (if needed) ‘walk on water’. Why? I’ll never know. When dealing with candidates’ large egos, I lose interest quickly. Life’s too short.

And guess what?

I’m not the only one who’s turned off by this sort of behavior.

Organizations need team players to fall in line, embrace it’s strategy, and deliver services and technology – and do it with a high degree of quality. Organizations also need leaders to lead by setting a good example and by driving the strategy in a professional and positive manner. What is NOT needed is a bunch of EGOMANIACS either on the team or leading it. These individuals have an inflated sense of self-worth and know no other way to behave. If there is an organizational morale issue – it’s clearly never their fault.

Without trying to be cruel (ok, maybe I am), I just have low (zero) tolerance for people with big EGOs. They are destructive to building high-performance teams, and a big reason why great talent goes looking elsewhere for employment. It’s ‘their way or the highway’ as they rarely contemplate making a mistake or – heaven forbid – admitting to such an atrocity. C’mon people! Who wants to work for (or with) someone like that? I once had the unpleasant experience of working for an egomaniac, and it absolutely killed the entire team’s morale. I spent more time looking for a job than focusing on the trivial tasks this knucklehead doled out.

During the hiring process, employers and recruiters should evaluate and assess candidates in the pre-screening process to determine how inflated an individual’s head really is. If they can’t check their ego at the door, it’s best to shove them out the door early-on. Hiring BIG EGO employees has a very predictable outcome. And it’s never good. Trust me!

High-End Suits and Hiring…

When it comes to hiring, I’ve never really seen the secret sauce. Sure, there are lots of hurdles to overcome (and plenty of boxes the hiring manager must check), but there isn’t a silver bullet that a candidate can fire off to impress someone enough to employ them on the first (date) interview. Just don’t tell that to a really qualified HCIT candidate I interviewed earlier this month!

Okay, yes, he was very sharp – no question about it – with all the right credentials and a great educational background. So everything a hiring manager would see on paper, one might think he could be a real “lay-up”. In other words, an easy shot and one you might predict would have a positive outcome in advance.

Or not…

The old adage “it’s too good to be true” came into play in this particular scenario.

We started talking about success metrics (you know I’m a big believer) and the conversation went south. Quickly.

He told me he wasn’t all that concerned with explaining his previous success (a clear indicator of future behavior) because he wears $1,000 suits.


You heard me. This Superstar relies heavily on his Hickey Freeman suits to sell his story. I asked what seemed liked a simple question: “How’s that working for you?”

His answer? “It’s served me well so far”. OK. Fair enough.

To me this seems like a bad case of E.Q. – not a well thought-out strategy in my humble opinion.

Never a dull moment in the search business. Never.