Professor Dan Cable, London Business School
We document that recruiters are currently more likely to advertise for “talented” employees instead of “hard-working” employees. However, signaling a high premium on talent may not help organisations attract the talent that they seek. We develop person-organisation fit theory by highlighting how people’s self-perceptions are often biased, leading to a breakdown of the matching processes in the Attraction-Selection-Attrition cycle. We argue that when organisations emphasise talent as a cultural value, they attract more narcissistic job seekers who are not stronger performers, but only believe themselves to be so. We also show that recruiters are not aware of the adverse attraction resulting from their emphasis on talent, and they actually do not want to hire the narcissistic job candidates that they attract. The focus on talent in recruitment thus constitutes a case of bounded rationality, by which organisations disproportionately attract job seekers whom they are averse to hiring and which can damage the organisation.