One good guideline in recruitment is to hire the person who wants the job, not the title. Even if they are less skilled initially, motivation to push through and learn easily outperforms learned skills that are sloppily applied.
But is this all there is to it? I don’t think so.
The modern workplace is undergoing constant change. The jobs change, some becoming obsolete and new ones appearing. Therefore, the job you are now hiring for may not exist after a while, having been replaced by something else.
People change. Companies even encourage them to do so, as continuous improvement is not possible without people improving themselves. Many companies are happy to let their people grow into new roles and new challenges. Even if yours isn’t, hiring someone who wants the job now may not keep that person around for long anyway.
Furthermore, wide experience possessed by generalists is good for innovation. Well, this causes even more change, I guess, so you end up with a faster and faster loop of changes, people working in different roles, innovating more, and causing more changes.
So, what can you do?
Instead of hiring the person with the most experience in years, instead of hiring the person who wants to do this exact job and would not consider anything else, you can hire a person who wants to join your journey!
A person who wants to join your journey won’t be sloppy, nor tied to the job description. A person who wants to join your journey will do what it takes to reach the destination. Furthermore, as the job changes or the person outgrows it, he will still be there, because it was never about the job, but about the common journey.
Are we there yet?
When looking for a job (and I am currently looking by the way), I first ask myself whether the company is on a mission I want to join. If it isn’t, a job I could do does not entice me in the least. If it is, the next question I ask myself is how I can contribute to this journey – what competences I have that they need right now – and then pursue those opportunities.
Pursue missions that inspire you, because otherwise you may end up at a company that you don’t really care about. (And if someone reaches out, listen, because not all missions worth pursuing are well-known)
Alas, beware, for you just may confuse recruiters who look for people for a specific position, not to join a journey. As a recruiter recently told me: “It’s not normal to be capable of and interested in so many different things.”
In the changing world, however, it may become not just normal, but mandatory to be capable of and interested in many things in order to create real value.
I guess we’re just not there yet.
Photo: Backpacking Incan Trail by fortherock @ Flickr (CC)