When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

This is a phrase my wife is fond of saying. I read it recently in an article from a college football coach who was talking about recruiting and social media. He said it in terms of these 18-22-year-old kids on social media, and that it was really difficult to come to grips with this concept.

These kids are daily showing you who they are, but so many times we refuse to believe them. We make excuses, like well it’s just Twitter or the Gram, or whatever, that’s not really who they are. But it is! Whether we like it or not, they are showing us exactly who they are.

It doesn’t mean that as a young dumb kid we don’t make bad decisions. We all did, and they all do. It’s when the behavior becomes a consistent pattern.

We forget about this with candidates and employees!

Especially in a candidate-driven market. We start making excuses for candidates. “No, I’m sure it’s completely normal that his Mom died and he car trouble, and then he came down with Dengue Fever!” “Okay, it’s fine she ghosted us two times, let’s give her one more shot, but not three!”

Our employees are also constantly showing you who they are, both good and bad. I’ve seen the most amazing, giving behaviors in my life come from people I work with, and the most toxic, selfish behaviors come from those I’ve worked with. Almost always, I discounted the bad and didn’t appreciate the good, enough. All the while, each was showing me exactly who they are.

I have these moments after almost every single termination I’ve ever done. I’m usually sitting with the supervisor of the person who just got terminated and we start to reminisce back on this terminated employee’s time with us, and almost 100% of the time we have multiple examples of them showing us who they were and us ignoring it.

It’s quite normal. As humans, we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. We hope that people can change for the better. Also, people believe and hope that they can change themselves for the better, but it truly rarely happens. That sounds cynical! Just know, that’s your heart playing tricks with you! Your brain is also trying to yell at you to listen! But our hearts are often much louder than our brains!

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

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