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HR Tips from Hannibal: Think Like Your Employees

Posted by Brian Spence on Apr 9, 2014 8:30:00 AM

Employees, Temp Staffing, HR Tips In the TV show Hannibal, the main character Will Graham is hired to help solve serial murder cases because he has the unique ability of being able to think like a psychopath without actually being one.  This is not to say that Will has no mental issues whatsoever.  He himself is sociopathic and has trouble feeling normal emotions in everyday life.  However, he is not a psychopath.  The show revolves around Will’s increasing closeness with the psychopath Hannibal who, strangely enough, considers him a friend and is obsessed with how his mind works.  Eventually, it’s up to Will to prove that Hannibal is a serial killer himself.

Thinking Like a Psychopath vs. Thinking Like Your Employees 

An HR professional can learn many things from observing this show.  The reason why Will Graham is hired to catch killers is because he can think like one himself.  An HR professional must also learn to think like the various employees whose jobs they’re trying to fill.  What does it take to be a customer service representative?  An HR professional must be able to think like one if they’re going be able to fill this position successfully with a good employee.  What does it take to be the CEO of a company?  An HR professional must learn to think like a CEO in order to fill this position.

Of course, it may not often be necessary to find a CEO for a company but there are many positions with different requirements that need to be filled.  They may be high level or low level and may require different sets of skills.  An HR professional has to learn to think like the kind of person who would be good at a certain job in order to fill it.

Going Past Appearances to the Person Underneath

Secondly, if you consider the contrast between Will Graham and Hannibal, you see that it’s very easy for a person to mistake a psychopath for a healthy person (Hannibal) and a high-functioning, socially useful sociopath for a psychopath (Will Graham).  In order to be really good at HR functions, you have to learn to look beneath the veneer of social acceptability that people project.  You have to learn to understand who they really are.  Of course, as an HR professional, the choices you make aren’t going to revolve around life and death, as they do in Hannibal.  But you can also use the same set of social skills to fill positions well and save yourself trouble in the long run.

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Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.