58% of College Students Are Willing to Lie

According to a recent study by NetImpact – What Workers Want in 2012 58% of College Students (1,726 total in the study) would take a 15% pay cut to work for an organization who’s values matched their own.  In another study, I’m willing to coach the Los Angles Lakers for less than half what they are paying their current coach (1 total in this study)!

These studies are silly – it’s hypothetical, college kids still believe in things – like fairness and equal opportunity and you’ll always be able to drink 12 beers and get up the next morning and run 3 miles.  Let’s wait for all 1,726 college students who took the study to get a job and then 5 years from now when they are employed we’ll go to them and force them to make a choice –

1. You keep your current salary and stay with your current job

2. You take a 15% pay cut and move to Employer A which happens to have the same values as you, under the current leadership team

I will bet my entire life savings that less than 58% of those people would choose to leave their current employers (no matter what job they have) and take a 15% pay cut!  In fact I would be fairly confident to say only about 10% would take us up on our offer, and they were already looking or getting pushed out. So, what does the study really say? That college students being asked silly hypothetical questions for a study about how they will act in the future, are willing to lie.

Why do I think these studies are silly?  Because solid, well meaning, HR Pros will go out and start recruiting folks to their organization who have the same values that “they” have.  “They” being the key word.  Who is “they”?  Well, Tim, we went to our leadership and our managers and our employees and we did value assessment and we found that 73% of our folks valued honesty and integrity over 67% that valued hard work and a fun work place.  Oh, you’ve got it figured out…

Here’s what I’m thinking – values are hard to hire – but you think they aren’t.  I can hire for skills, I can hire for past performance, etc. When it comes to values and morals, I’m really throwing myself down the rabbit hole.  Hiring for values and morals puts the selectors values and morals into play way too much.  If Peggy is your main screener – you better damn hope Peggy shares the exact values and morals you’re trying to hire for – or you’re going to be in for a surprise down the road.

I’m not saying don’t do it – I’m saying you better weight it appropriately with some other criteria.  I seem to be in the minority who still believes having the fire power to do the job, and some past performance to back it up, is still fairly important when selecting candidates. And if Humility doesn’t seem to be a part of their value chain, I think I might be able to work around that – if they can perform!

One thought on “58% of College Students Are Willing to Lie

  1. I think we all go through that stage in college where we say to ourselves “I am going to get a job that is worth something and goes along with what I believe, even if I only get paid pennies!” We were all a bunch of big fat liars, to ourselves especially. For most adults, once you get a “real” job with “real” money… you don’t want to lose it! It pays for your bills and car, and if you’re good, you have extra money to go shopping! No one wants to give that up.

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