For thousands of years, and as recently as the 1930s, phrenology was seen as a useful proxy to judge someone’s character.

Carefully charting the bumps on someone’s head, along with the slope of their forehead and other telltale signs was seen as a thoughtful and proven way to determine whether someone was creative, honest or empathic.

Even with the nutty pseudoscience we are all surrounded by, it’s pretty easy to tell that this is nonsense.

And yet, we want proxies so badly, we embraced this idea for centuries, despite a lack of evidence.

We engage in this soothsaying search for proxies every time we do a job interview with someone. Unless we’re interviewing for people who have interviewing as their job, there isn’t a lot of evidence that doing a great job in the interview means you’re going to do a great job.

False proxies are expensive. They also create significant social and moral hazards.

Perhaps hanging up this poster is a good way to remind us not to fall into that trap.

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