In the security industry, we talk about “fail open” and “fail closed.” Fail open means when you have uncertainty, you err on the side of letting things proceed—on the assumption that the risk is low. Fail closed means when there’s uncertainty, you shut down the process rather than risk a bad outcome—even if it means losing a possible benefit.
One of the reasons managers reject so many candidates is because the worst mistake a manager can make is to hire poorly—a fail closed situation.
If you’ve ever had to manage a difficult employee, then you know how stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming it can be. Managers who’ve been there are justifiably gun-shy—most of us would rather reject a candidate than risk making a painful mistake.