The Tallest Pygmy

The “Tallest Pygmy”

Are you hiring the first reasonable candidate that comes along? Do you ‘settle” rather than looking for better candidates? The problems with successful hiring all start with the “Tallest Pygmy” approach and cost incalculable amounts in lost productivity. A story illustrates the point:  

An NBA General Manager, the story goes, wants to find a new center for his basketball team. Because of the intricacies of the draft and the competitiveness of scouting systems he can’t find and sign the right mix of height, movement, jumping ability and ball handling skills in the US.

One day he hears about the legendary Watusi Tribe in Africa. Widely believed to be the tallest people in the world, they are renowned not only for their height but also for their dancing ability. They are found East of the Congo and so he flies to Uganda to start his search for a player to change the face of the franchise.

He heads south from Kampala but goes a couple of degrees off course and finds himself in a Pygmy tribe instead. Dispirited and in a hurry to find a player,he doesn't take the time and trouble to make the effort to find the Watusi. Instead, he simply holds trials where he is and signs up the Tallest Pygmy he can easily find.

Please consider this question: Does your hiring process look like this?

So many people hire in this hit or miss fashion. They don't take the extra trouble to find the right candidate and simply settle for the best of what they can easily find out there. They wonder why they have poor employees, and it all begins and ends with the hiring process. 

A Note About the Watusi

The spectacularly tall, slender, and statuesque Watusi tribesmen are a proud Hamitic or Nilotic people who migrated to Ruanda-Urundi country over four centuries ago. Many grow to heights of seven feet or more. John Gunther, who spent some time in Ruanda gathering material for his book, Inside Africa, found many things about the country fascinating, but what makes it the most distinctive, he writes, is the Watutsi giants. "Outside the hotel in Astrida we ran into the tallest man I have seen except in a circus. He made the American playwright Robert E. Sherwood, who is six foot seven, look like a dwarf. He must have been at least seven and a half feet tall." Because of their great height, the Watusi can accomplish certain feats, like clearing a bar in the running high jump at more then eight feet, or rearing back and throwing a spear to an unbelievable distance.

The Four Critical Steps to Hiring

  • Establish the Profile

    Make sure that you know what talent you are trying to hire. Start from scratch and take time to define the job rather than rushing and simply rehiring the person that you are replacing.    

    The Time Edge



  • Develop the Process

    Successful hiring depends on having real choices. Write advertisements that will attract a large pool of candidates and have a process so that heavy response levels don’t stretch your resources    .

    The Time Edge

  • Grade Candidates

    You can’t afford to rush the selection process. You need to have an effective screening process and evaluate candidate skills carefully in relation to the job profile you established.

    Edge Business Essentials

  • Evaluate and Execute

    It is essential to have a robust interviewing process. You need to have candidates interviewed thoroughly and then check references and do background checks.

    The Alternative Board