PeopleGuru Blog

Hiring- Separating the Posers From the Performers

Posted by Richard Cangemi on Oct 18, 2016 11:14:17 AM


The Urban Dictionary defines a poser as a person who habitually pretends to be something he or she is not. The Free Dictionary defines a performer as one that is able to carry through to completion.

Chances are that if you have hired enough people you have made your fair share of hiring mistakes. I’ve had my own personal frustration with a candidate (or two) where after in-depth interviews and reference checks the candidate still didn’t pan out as expected. The candidate turned out to be a poser. And the current job market has both overqualified and under-qualified candidates stretching the truth and posing to compete for the few available job opportunities.

There’s no question that bad hiring is an expensive mistake. The U.S. Department of Labor pegs the cost of a bad hire as up to one-half of annual salary. And that doesn’t count the potential impact to customers, coworkers, missed deadlines, and morale.

So what is a hiring manager to do? How can we identify the posers from the performers? To start with, you can use the following hints to separate the poser from the performer during your initial screening of candidates.

Posers versus Performers

 Posers  Performers
 Answer with rhetoric and hyperbole in an  attempt to redirect the emphasis from their  lack of experience or knowledge regarding  the subject at hand.  Cite real world examples of similar job  experience and knowledge regarding the  subject at hand.
 Are heavily coached on interviewing skills  and immediately ready with slick, rehearsed  answers to expected questions.  Make deliberate and thoughtful responses  that exhibit passionate answers with in-  depth analysis and problem-solving skills.
 May have resumes that are heavily  decorated with associations, certifications,  and memberships.  Tend to be more selective with their time  and resources and only hold certifications  and memberships that directly relate to job  performance.
 Self-label to guru status, go-to person, or  top-performer without providing the insight  into how they reached their current level of  success.  Tend to be more modest but exhibit a strong  interest in their field of expertise and the  trials and tribulations of becoming  successful.


Interviewing should only be considered one tool in the hiring process. A rigorous evaluation with a well-defined process and assessment criteria is your best defense to identify the poser from the performer. At minimum, I recommend the following:

  • Encourage candidates to qualify themselves with job listings that advertise rigorous selection and testing requirements.
  • Document the job requirements in terms of skills, experience, interests, special qualities, and educational job requirements. Evaluate each candidate in terms of his or her match to these requirements, and use the same process and assessment criteria for each candidate.
  • Don’t rely entirely on interviews. Candidates generally want a job offer so they’re apt to tell you what they think you want to hear.
  • Assess cultural fit not personality orworkplace.
  • Narrow down to a small pool of candidates and then enlist the help of an external testing service to validate your assessments and final choices before extending offers.
  • Finally, make all employment offers contingent on reference checks and completion of a 90-day probationary period.

I believe that a disciplined hiring approach that favors performers over posers will greatly increase your chances of selecting candidates that become happy and successful long-term employees.

This blog was written by Richard Cangemi, Chief Executive Guru at PeopleGuru™. This post may not be copied or published without PeopleGuru's express written permission.

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