Do you discriminate against boring people?

In hiring, we now know that we basically discriminate against almost every form of everything! Sexual identity, gender identity, race identity, height, education, weight, religion, you name it and someone out there has a bias towards or against you and whatever form you are.

The reality is, every single time you hire, you are discriminating against something. As a society, though, we’ve deemed some forms of discrimination as wrong, and some we are completely fine with. “Oh, we are going to select the white candidate.” That’s bad. “Oh, we are going to select the skinny candidate.’ That’s good.

I have a bias away from boring people. When I hire, I discriminate against boring people. Turns out, no matter the role, I don’t like to hire boring people. I don’t like to interview them. I don’t like to hire them. I don’t like to work with them. Why? Because they are boring!

Now, you can rightly argue I’m a complete fool. There are plenty of boring people who can be great hires and perform really well. Boring people can be considered safe, calm, nice, non-instigators, even keel, etc.

Is there anything worse than being labeled boring?

I think I would rather be labeled ugly than boring. I mean we all love to hire pretty people, but you would much rather hire an ugly person with a great personality, and a good-looking boring person. Besides how someone smells, it’s really the first thing you notice in an interview! Not how ugly they are, how boring they are!

I’ve heard executives say that the greatest trait they can have in an accountant is that they are boring. No one wants the party playing around with their money. But, still, I disagree. While I don’t want the party running around managing my money, I still want the person managing my money to have a pulse!

Boring is one of those traits that are hard to change. It’s hard to coach up a boring employee to have a personality. If I hire an ugly person, I can help them be better looking cosmetically. I can help a fat employee lose weight. I can even help a smelly employee smell better. But, boring is boring!

I’m sure all of this triggers some folks. For the most part, if you’re triggered and you’re boring, I don’t care, because it’s not like a boring person is going to do anything about it. If you’re not boring, and you’re triggered by me discriminating against boring people, well, isn’t that a strange wall to be standing on?! “I’m fighting for all the boring people! #BoringLivesMatter” But, do they? Do boring lives matter? And if they do, to whom? I mean, they’re boring.

A funny thing happens when we come clean about our discriminations. They seem silly. To write them down and defend them. To try and make sense of it all.

The more discriminating one’s eye for talent is, the more they open themselves up to discrimination. That’s the catch 22. The more specific you get about what you want in a hire, the more things you add into the wants and needs column, the more likely you are to cut someone out who deserves a shot.

I’m still against boring. Change my mind.

6 thoughts on “Do you discriminate against boring people?

  1. I am not a boring person in my personal life, but I pretend to be one while at work. The women I work with have been known to be quite over-reactive, so I find that when I act boring, it kind of evens them out. If I join in on their latest rants, gossip, nosiness etc, it tends to fuel the fire. Also, being boring, I get 2-3x the work done that they accomplish in a day. Between complaints about customers, or how their baby kept them awake all night, they are not exactly task oriented. The sad part is, my work gets overlooked, while the “yappers” as I call them get promoted for doing nothing. Unless you’re in the circus business, boring people could end up being your best assets.

  2. I make the distinction between boring and overly analytical. Hiring for IT and engineers( software, mechanicaL, electrical, civil, etc) the process of extracting information can be downright painful. Add in that these populations tend to be introverts and you better be prepared to do some heavy lifting..

  3. This is one of the root causes of bias. It proves what I say all the time “we are primative creatures, living in a modern world.” Deep down in the remenants of our reptilian brain, we had the inkling of an ego. This ego developed to better enable us to survive, and in our own version of selection, we felt “hey, I’m pretty awesome at this survival thing, so if I had more of me, I’d be even more awesome as surviving!” I always relate it this way to folks: If I was a caveman, and I was doing alright: tight cave, lots of fire and mammoth to eat, but all of a sudden I notice sabre tooth tigers are starting to take interest. So I have to get a tribe together to keep the tigers at bay and all of a sudden I see a fat dude wearing a “Han Shot First” T-shirt and my primative ego says “That dude is just like me, so it will be like doubling my awesome!”
    You know me Tim and you know my teams, they certainly are not dopplegangers of myself!
    No one will ever accuse you of being boring, and I’m betting your own success has rubbed that primative egos belly and got it thinking that boring is a “bad” thing that can only weaken the tribe.
    I say you tell that reptile ego to shhhhssss for a moment, and give boring a try, it’s the only to test your idea.

  4. Oh, I read the headline and thought to myself…Do I discriminate against boring people? I probably do, but it’s was not, until now, a conscious bias I was aware that I exhibit.

    As a recruiter, I’m a talker and I like to interview other talkers. I love interviewing sales people because they are entertaining and provide details without having to probe a lot. On the other hand, they are always selling, so I have to dig through the crap to get to the gist of the answer.

    But with boring people, I have to really probe through interviews so much that it exhausts me, and in turn, I’m sure I put some unconscious bias into the decision making. I now know this is an issue for me and I’ll be aware in the future.

    I’m also of the belief that I’ll interview anyone who looks good on paper. Not perfect, but good enough. I have found diamonds in the rough by doing this. Do I interview a lot of duds this way? Yep, I sure do, but when you find that one person who didn’t look like star on paper and turns out to be a superstar as an employee, there is not a better feeling!

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