Why Your Mindset Can Determine Recruitment Advertising Success Or Failure

mindsets determine success or failure

A person’s learning-style mindset can ultimately determine success or failure of recruitment advertising and employer branding programs.  Does the person have a tendency to rely solely on current “Industry Trends and Best Practices?” Or are they open to exploring and learning new concepts that could lead to improved performance and more satisfying results?

Carol S. Dweck, a psychologist on the faculty at Stanford University, has proposed mindset theory as a way to identify a person’s approach to intelligence and learning.

Remember the classic, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Mindset Theory breaks it down into two schools of thought:

  • “Is the old dog eager and willing to learn new tricks?”
  • “Is the old dog content with his/her current level of knowledge and therefore not interested in learning any new tricks?”

This applies to “Young Dogs,” too. No age limit to “fixed minds” versus “open minds.

Dweck says, for example, challenging situations are seldom solved using the same thought process that created the problems in the first place. To overcome the challenges, first change the mindset. Read more about her research and findings, as explained in this article from “Learning Theories“:


Mindset Theory

Your intelligence and other characteristics – where do they come from? Can they change?

People vary in the degree to which they attribute the causes of intelligence and other traits. Are they innate and fixed factors (“fixed” mindset) or are they variable factors that can be influenced through learning, effort, training, and practice (“growth” mindset)? A “growth” mindset is generally seen as more advantageous.

Carol S. Dweck, a psychologist on the faculty at Stanford University, proposed mindset theory as a way to understand the effects of the beliefs that individuals hold for the nature of intelligence. This in turn has implications for learning and education.

Mindset Theory – Fixed vs. Growth Mindset Fixed mindsets love their comfort zones.

Dweck proposed that the implicit theories that people hold for the nature and causes of intelligence have a number of implications, particularly for motivation to practice and learn[1].

In her earlier research, Dweck identified “entity” and “incremental” theorists, based on whether individuals attributed success in tasks that required intelligent behavior to having sufficient native aptitude (entity) versus having practiced a skill and improving performance over time (incremental).

Eventually, she proposed a theory of “mindset” to integrate a number of related ideas that she had developed over the years[2]. “Mindset” refers to implicit theories that individuals hold regarding the nature of intelligent behavior; to the degree that individuals attribute intelligence to fixed traits, they hold a “fixed” theory of intelligence (that is, a fixed mindset), and to the degree that they attribute intelligence to learning, effort, training, and practice, they hold a “growth” theory of intelligence (that is, a growth mindset). The terms fixed and growth mindset replaced the earlier terms for entity and incremental theories of intelligence.

  • Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities (such as intelligence and other personality traits) are “set in stone”– how God made you is basically who you are. One’s traits are fixed — not something that can be practiced or developed.
  • Individuals with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that effort or training can change one’s qualities and traits.

Individuals with a fixed mindset tend to be interested only in feedback on their success in activities to the degree that it serves to evaluate their underlying ability. They are not using the feedback to learn, since they do not believe that their success depends on their effort to learn. Rather, they believe that success depends on the level of innate ability that they have. Therefore, they dread failure, because it suggests constraints or limits that they will not be able to overcome.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, attributes success to learning. Therefore, the individual is not terrified of failure, because it only signals the need to pay attention, invest effort, apply time to practice, and master the new learning opportunity. They are confident that after such effort they will be able to learn the skill or knowledge, and then to improve their performance.

Messages to children can influence the development of mindset. If parents or teachers constantly seem to attribute success to inborn or innate abilities, children will come to develop a fixed mindset (“Johnny failed the math test because he is low on math ability”). Praise of a child’s performance can be particularly likely to produce a fixed mindset when it attributes the success to the child’s intelligence (implying aptitude or fixed traits).

However, if parents or teachers attribute success to effort and practice, children will be more likely to develop a growth mindset (“Johnny failed the math test because he did not do his homework, but he will pass the next one because I will make sure he puts in the time and practices”). Praise of a child’s efforts to practice, or attributions of success that reference the prior practice in which the child engaged, can spur the child to develop a growth mindset.

Differences in mindset may affect broader issues as well, including how employers focus on hiring staff … Employers that hold a fixed mindset may focus more on investment in high ability employees and correspondingly invest less in professional development and ongoing training…


Dweck, C. S. (2000). Self theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.
Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Constable & Robinson Limited.

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If you are an employer of 500 to 5,000, and have a “growth mindset” for learning more about alternative employee recruitment for open mindsetstrategies and tactics for employee recruitment and employer branding, take the first step and contact Shana Reinhart at Mitton Media. Shana will work with you to assess current recruitment programs and then suggest additional true-fit ideas with proven track records for success in similar situations.

At Mitton Media, “We do the work. You get the credit.”®

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