Presidential Debates

The Presidential Debates strike me as very similar to (technical) job interviews.

  • Candidates spend a lot of time preparing and training for artificially time constrained exercises and sound bites that do not mirror their day to day job.
  • Candidates strive to give the illusion of confidence, competence, and all-knowingness.
  • Candidates, despite wanting to showcase qualifications, want to come off as mostly relatable and someone you “want to have a beer with”.
  • Decision makers have to make snap judgements with little nuanced information to differential candidates.
  • Decision makers often feel woefully underprepared to ask the right kinds of questions and yet are forced to anyway.
  • Decision makers like to think they decide based on facts, but 90% is based on emotions and intuition (is this someone “you want to have a beer with”?)

It’s long been recognized in tech, as I’m sure it is in other industries, that our current interview style is terrible for selecting the best quality candidates. Yet we assuredly make recommendations anyway. We spend hours debating who won these Presidential debates as if these have any significance to how effective someone would be. Yet we vote for a candidate anyway.

We reject so many other frameworks of thinking because its not logical to us, but perhaps we are emotional thinkers who fit our facts to fit our emotions and not the other way around.