Who Would You Hire First?

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 14 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

My Circuits teacher, Mark Lusk, made this point the other day:

Lazy Industrious

Given the above table, what order would you hire the listed people (Lazy Idiot, Lazy Genius, Industrious Idiot, Industrious Genius)?

One might think this would be the solution:

Lazy Industrious
Idiot 4 3
Genius 2 1

…potentially switching 2 and 3 around. But this would be incorrect! The actual order is:

Lazy Industrious
Idiot 3 4
Genius 1 2

Now you may be thinking, What?! Why would I want to hire the industrial idiot last? Better yet, why would I want to hire the lazy genius first?

Think of it this way. The industrial idiot is going to work hard (he’s industrious, remember?). But he’s going to work hard at the wrong thing…or he’s going to do it wrong (he’s an idiot). Working hard toward something that isn’t a company goal is bad. Even worse then doing the wrong thing half-assed.

Now, for the lazy genius. Why wouldn’t you want a smart person working hard? Because there’s always better way to do it. And that’s what the lazy genius will find: the lazier (and presumably easier) way to accomplish the task. Less time means more money saved.

Simple really.


6 thoughts on “Who Would You Hire First?”

  1. Looks right to me, but as you point out, the typical first instinct is to overlook the lazy genius, likely because the lazy genius is the least understood. Everyone can recognize hard work, but smart work is another story. When I rock a spreadsheet, you’d think I was working magic from the reactions I get. To be fair though, some of the clumped up spreadsheets I’ve seen were really close to requiring some form of witchery to repair.

  2. Very well said! That’s pretty much my entire argument cut down to the point. I will be sure to link to this the next time someone tries to bust my chops for my “dedication to laziness.” I keep telling them I’ve found really effective ways to do things simply because I was trying to avoid the hassle. Like how if you understand the psychology of memory generation, you know you stand the best chance with least effort to study for any test if you skim the info the night before and then sleep on it…and NOT EVER try to get last minute studying right before the test. Those guys look really dedicated and serious with their books out before the final, but who made an A on the test?

    Definitely go with the lazy genius. They made all this technology possible!

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