Election or selection? 6 short answers

Like in any other year in 2016 a huge part of the world population is going through elections.  Like in any other year in 2016 a lot of people are looking for jobs.  Candidates, whether on the political stage or the labor market, are striving to get a better “job”.  As both the elections and the selection are in fact a sales process in which some try to close the deal by convincing the others to choose their merchandised persona let us compare:

1. “Sales” promotion

In politics there are campaigns with thousands of participants, paid or not.  There are thousands or even millions of fliers, banners, pins, posters with smiling postures, colorful backgrounds, and slogans that people may want to believe.  In the labor market there is just a resume – sometimes in free format, other times squeezed into preset online forms.  Work history, education degrees, and additional skills are carefully lined up to differentiate from the many other competitors.

2. “Sales” guarantees

In politics dignified personalities are convinced to provide public endorsements – in verbal or printed format.  In the job market former colleagues, supervisors, or clients are persuaded to provide references for past interactions.  In both cases people advocating for the merits of their candidate lend their credibility to the future success.

3. “Sales” arguments

In politics candidates babble about values, ideals, and promises of a better future.  Popularity is their main weapon.  In the job market applicants must use their past results and salary expectations in hope for a fulfilled potential.  Predictable success is the key to employment.

4. “Sales” process

A political candidate is chosen by many voters, while an applicant is actually chosen by one person – the main link of a thoroughly documented recruitment process.  In politics charming the audience comes first sometimes accompanied by convincing.  In recruitment convincing plays the biggest part sometimes enhanced by soft skills arguments (flexibility, team play, people skills, etc.).

5. “Sales” outcome

Political careers are built on fuzzy descriptions of the outcome, mostly painted by vague verbs such as “ensure” or “promote” some worthy ideas or rights.  Professional careers are (usually) built on standard job descriptions which would need to be exceeded by successful occupants of the position who must use action verbs like “deliver” or “accomplish” concrete tasks.

6.“Post-sales” service

Politicians are seldom disturbed in their mandate by persistent and thorough checks of their performance as voters lack consistency and consolidation of requests.  Cases where poor performance led to a political resignation are so rare that they are treasured in movie scripts or history books.

On the other hand professionals are periodically evaluated for their accomplishments during performance reviews.  Lacks of results, misdemeanor or change in management surely bring the employee to dismissal and this is perfectly accepted as a norm.


Similar or different (as you draw your own conclusion) election and recruitment are both about selecting of the best choice.  Both imperfect, both subjective, and yet both hoping for the better.  Could this be good news?

Winning the election is a good-news, bad-news kind of thing. Okay, now you’re the mayor. The bad news is, now you’re the mayor.

Clint Eastwood