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Lose Your Soda Straw

Lose Your Soda Straw
© Wes Gow

Maybe you’ve had a job posted for 6 months, and your recruiter hasn’t delivered squat.

Maybe you’ve been slumped in your office, whining about how much you could accomplish with the right talent.

Maybe you’ve been dumbfounded at how your competitor keeps finding young guns with enough determination to outpace your entire department.

* Maybe you need to re-examine your soda straw. *

I’m talking about your overall hiring process, everything from the job description to the recruiters to the minimum qualifications, etc. All of these essentially make up the very narrow lens through which you’re looking for talent. I know you believe the straw is there to save you time, to help you sift through the unqualified. I know you trust it.

But here’s something to consider: the traditional routes of job acquisition (and thus work force preparation) are changing. There’s a line of thinking out there that says you don’t necessarily need the degree or fancy letters after your name to make a big ruckus in an industry, let alone just get a job.

Sure, your approach still exists. The minimum qualifications and arbitrary years of experience and preferred list of endless certifications.

Yes, you’ll finally (!) get someone who makes it through your algorithm obstacle course. They’ll look good on paper and have all the right stuff. You’ll get them to an interview, maybe even hire them (gasp), only to discover that they can’t deliver.

Wanna know why?

Because they’ve been sitting in class for ten years, earning your minimum qualifications, instead of learning how to swim in a market that demands immediate value impact.

In my experience, the best, most driven, passionate talent isn’t going to waste time on your soda straw. They’re going to reach out through nontraditional means and find someone who will give them a chance, someone who’s probably an industry heretic just like them, someone who’s learned the finer points of spotting talent. That manager or owner is going to give them a chance, they’re going to throw them into the deep end for 90 days and see if they can hang.

Show me an individual who’s dramatically affected their industry, and I’ll show you talent that was at one point repeatedly overlooked and undervalued.

And most of the time, they hang. Most of the time, they deliver. Most of the time, they add all kinds of value.

Wanna know why?

Because they are unleashing a typhoon of overlooked and undervalued energy. Because they are driven by the passion to prove themselves worthy, to prove their new boss right, and to prove you so freaking wrong.

Lose your soda straw. Ask yourself what on this list might be turning away talent. Ask yourself what creative measures you can add that will help you spot talent. Whittle your bullet points down to the necessary acumen, and then trust that you can train eager, teachable candidates.

Or don’t. Keep your algorithms and qualifications and stiff hiring funnel. Your competitor’s roster won’t have near as many acronyms after their names, but it’ll be full of applicants who didn’t get past your recruiter, and who are all hell-bent on proving you wrong.

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