This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Why You Lost That Job to an Idiot

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Losing a job opportunity is tough enough, but losing a job to a less-qualified candidate is really pouring salt on the wound.

Employers are really turning the screws on you by using bad information and lousy due diligence practices that lead to job offers for unqualified candidates.

"We would like to believe that the people who are making judgments that affect our lives -- where we get hired or what school we are admitted to -- have the wisdom to understand who we are, what we are capable of, what shortcomings aren't our fault," says Don Moore, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. "But our research shows people evaluating us have a great deal of trouble considering situational factors or context."

Moore has just completed a thorough look at the poor choices managers make when filling jobs and co-written an academic article on the topic, along with fellow Samuel and Francesco Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Zachariah S. Sharek, director of strategy and innovation at CivicScience, also contributed.

In the report, Moore cites two mythical job applicants -- John and Dave, who are applying for the same senior management post at Los Angeles International Airport. Both have comparable experience, with John working at an airport in Oakland, Calif., and Dave at San Francisco's.

But the decision-makers at LAX are using faulty logistics in picking their candidate. Moore notes that a crucial factor in the hiring decision process is the number of on-time flight departures under John and Dave's supervision, giving equal weight to the candidates' records.

"SFO is considered to be the more difficult airport to land planes, in part because it has more overcast days and only two of four runways in use," Moore says. "Therefore SFO rates lower in on-time departures, and John from OAK gets the job."

Then there's the issue of graduate school experience. Moore says John and Dave have roughly equal grad school qualifications, but John comes out of a school that reportedly has easier grading systems than Dave does. That affects the hiring decision and leaves Dave out of luck, primarily because his graduate school deployed more stringent GPA-calculation strategies.

"Our results suggested that alumni from institutions with lenient grading had a leg up in admission to grad school, and the reason for that is the admissions decision-makers mistakenly attributed their high grades to high abilities," Moore says.

Employers say they want to leverage situational differences when vetting job candidates, but given the opportunity to do so, they blow it off, Moore says. He calls that a "systematic bias" that often jettisons better candidates.

What can employers do to change that equation? Moore advises asking deeper and better questions among a diversified information pool.

"If you are a hiring manager, ask for more information about other people in the applicant's department and how the person you are considering is better or worse than others in the same situation," Moore says. "If you are an admissions director, ask for class rank."

Job candidates have to step up, too -- they need to "offer more information about their performance," Moore says.

Losing a job to an inferior candidate hurts everyone: the firm, the losing candidate and, yes, the actual job winner, who may be unqualified for the job and eventually shown the door.

And it's up to hiring managers and job-seekers to put a stop to it.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs