Magnetism and Talent: The Physics of Recruiting


August 15, 2011

Physics has always fascinated me.

silver and gold round coinsI’ve never been labeled a brainiac, but I certainly have enjoyed learning and studying many of the topics that fall into the physics realm.  I didn’t have enough interest to major in it in college, but Physics was my favorite class in my undergrad studies and I always made A’s.  One of my favorite studies was magnetism.

To understand magnetism, we have to first understand what a magnet is.  Basically, a magnet is a material or metal that has the ability to attract some metals or it can repel another magnet.  Magnetism refers to the force of attraction or repulsion that is caused by the magnetic field surrounding the magnet.  Something about the fact that it is not just about attraction but about repulsion appeals to me.  So here’s where it gets interesting, magnets have a north pole and a south pole.  In order to have attraction, opposite poles have to be near each other.  If “like” poles are near, the magnetic force actually pushes them apart.  Thus the theory that opposites attract.

From a recruiting standpoint, similar forces are at play.  And, if YOU (as the recruiter, HR, or hiring manager) are being the magnet, then you should be able to attract the “right” candidates and repel the wrong candidates.  Are you with me?  So, as you go through your slate of candidates, you don’t necessarily want the candidates you think are saying all the right things.  Anyone can practice to do well in an interview.  What you need to be looking for are those candidates who have the experience on paper AND who can bring something different to the organization.

That would be attraction.

I think that idea may be drastically different from what really happens most of the time.  Hiring managers tend to hire like-minded people with similar backgrounds to their own.  And although they would never admit it, they want to bring in little clones of themselves.  The challenge is to bring in someone who will have similar goals to the organization but who has skills that complement those of your current staff.  By doing that , you are ATTRACTING the right talent and BEING a magnet.



  • I love this post Trish. Thinking differently typically brings value, adds diversity, and allows for breakthrough ideas to get traction. The only way any of that happens organizationally is if we step outside of our comfort zone and think differently when we bring new talent into our companies.

  • Wouldn’t it be a fair assessment that sometimes it’s very tough to see complimentary strengths to a hiring manager? After all, you’re totally right- any of us hiring want mini-clones of us.

    I think of the last two assistants I had hired- one was just like me when I was her age- I wanted it all, and I was too talented to do grunt work for some old dude!!! She lasted a day…

    The other had attributes that were opposite of me, but in all of the wrong ways. I am type A when it comes to learning, and I have become even more type A in my work style. This poor assistant was unmotivated. Had her for six months, and did whatever cleaning I asked her to do!!! Nice girl, and she’s now working at a bank!!!

    While those are bad examples- I also see that when I am in a position to hire again, I will try and bring as much diversity into the mix as it does make the work environment better.

Comments are closed.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 17.20.39

About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


Play Video


Play Video

Related posts

Adult Learners, Chopin, & Experiential Learning

I heard a piece of music that made me cry. It may be because my hormones are diminishing as the […]

Read More

AI’s Impact on Outbound Recruiting Just Made it Easier

If you’re in the mode of hiring, which almost everyone is with all the staffing shortages, outbound recruiting should be […]

Read More

Partner with me


Get in touch today to find out more about how I can help your organization leverage HR and HCM technology to attract, onboard, retain and manage top talent.