Where Are The Workers? You Might Be Looking for the Wrong People

Along with almost everything else in business, the criteria for selecting individuals with great work ethics, solid value systems, internal motivation, and the ability to work well with others, has changed – dramatically. 

Both the demographic background and the psychosocial characteristics have undergone significant changes; changes that have flipped the selection process on its head.  Here’s some of the “do’s” and “do-not’s” that we’ve seen our clients struggle with, over the last four decades:


Look for candidates raised in the center of cities, or the far out suburbs.  Anywhere in between, will get you smart, articulate, whiners, with an awesome sense of entitlement.  (By the “center of cities” I mean neighborhoods of modest homes or apartments, not penthouses in high-rises.)

Look for candidates raised in small towns (one, or at the most, two stoplights) or very rural areas (preferably family farms or ranches.

1.) Look for candidates whose families moved a lot when they were growing up.

2.) Look for candidates who were driving motorized vehicles before they were twelve.


1.) Look for candidates who made a real and meaningful contribution to their families sustenance.

2.) Look for candidates who had part-time jobs while in high school.

3.) Look for candidates who went to work (full-time) after high school. 

4.) Look for candidates who went to college after three – five years of work.

5.) Look for candidates who grew up in multi-sibling families, with spacing between children of no more than five years.

6.) Look for candidates who grew up in multi-generational families (not necessarily the same household), especially those who had grandparents who lived thru very hard times (economic and/or political.)

7.) Look for candidates who experienced the loss of an important relationship (family member, relative, or close friend) in their childhood or young adulthood.

If you want to learn how to operationalize this information in an interview, I conduct a powerful workshop – “Picking Winners and Keepers” either remotely or onsite. I will work with your recruiters, managers and company leaders. Check out my website store for various products to help you staff-up!

Feel free to drop me a line at morrie.shechtman@gmail.com, and make sure to visit my website at morrieshechtman.com

4 Responses

  1. Good information as always!

    Another characteristic I look for is someone that participated at a high level of athletic competition. They understand the concept of teamwork to advance a common goal and they are used to being “coached” to improve their performance.

    1. Hi Jeff — you make a good point. Those who’ve played team sports fully understand the concept of working together for a shared goal. I’m currently updating Morrie’s “Picking Winners And Keepers” program — and will be offering a special discount (for groups of 10 attendees) next month once we complete the revisions. Hope to continue to see your comments and thoughts here. Stay in touch and make sure to reach out to me at morrie.shechtman@gmail.com if you’d like to connect.

    1. Thank you Susan! Real good to hear from you. The current workforce, and related issues are unlike we’ve ever seen before. Stay in touch, and I welcome your continued thoughts and comments.

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