Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:10
"Like an archer who wounds everyone, so is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by."
This is not a proverb so much about the fool as the person who would hire a fool. One has to have a clear picture of what a fool is so that you do not hire them – no matter how good they look on paper or do in an interview.
The Hebrew word is kesil here in this verse – one who is obstinate, selfish, or self-focused; one who consistently makes bad choices, moral stupidity. When a person brags about themselves constantly, they are giving evidence of foolishness. Now, all hiring procedures are beauty contests, but if the person being hired really is stuck on how wonderful they are instead of how much they want to help the company, then their fool quotient is too high and they will wound everyone if you hire them.
The point of the proverb is to talk about the consequences of hiring a proud, self-focused person who is obstinate. If you hire this person, you will be wounding people in every direction. Now it doesn't seem like it, because it looks like you are getting a star who will rocket your company to new heights, but actually you will be putting a bow and arrow with poison-tipped darts in the hand of a mad man is what Solomon is saying. Their insensitivity and selfish, egotistical orientation will wound people; it is just a matter of time. It is the humble, meek, and wise who will be a great asset to the company.
I have even seen pastors who seemed like world beaters in interviews but were just too stuck on themselves. When they were hired, the church always paid a heavy price for their self-focus.
Solomon also gives out a piece of advice about hiring in terms of checking backgrounds and references. He basically says that any employer would be a fool to hire a person without doing the proper amount of homework.
Constantly we hear about people – especially older people – who hire people to work on their house without checking them out thoroughly, and then they are scammed and ripped off. Do not hire anyone without checking out who they are, even if it is a passing gardener.
This bit of wisdom is crucial as we become a more and more specialized society. Check into the dentist you hire, the doctor, the plumber, the pastor, the mechanic, the tax man, the employee or employer, the charity, the coach for the kids Little League. If you don't check, then you may be contributing to a wounding that is unnecessary and unwise.