Employers Care About More Than Competence

This post was originally posted on Career Rocketeer and written by Harry Urschel.

There have been multiple articles written in recent years about how younger job seekers too often act very poorly in the networking, interviewing, and hiring process.

There are ample stories of…

  • Taking phone calls during an interview
  • Speaking far too casually with the interviewer
  • Texting during a meeting
  • Presenting resumes full of typos and grammatical errors
  • Dressing far to casually or inappropriately in other ways
  • Having an attitude of assuming they will automatically get the job
  • Little to no knowledge of the company or the position
  • Chewing gum, or candy, or bringing in their own beverage

And some stories that show a complete lack of understanding of the hiring process, like bringing a pet or a parent to the interview.

In many cases, the individual got the networking meeting or the interview in the first place because they have had relevant training or experience. On paper, they seem to have the qualifications and a great degree of competence related to the job opening at hand.

And yet… they don’t get the job because other factors completely disqualify them!

While certain technical skills for a position are critical… employers don’t often hire the most technically qualified person. Rather, they hire the person that offers the best all-around package!

They are looking for someone that…

  • Has at least a certain baseline of necessary skills
  • Can represent the company and/or department competently and professionally to other around them
  • Can communicate effectively and professionally
  • Understands and can demonstrate appropriateness in a variety of situations
  • Understands the objectives of the company and will contribute

An employer is looking for someone that will be able to accomplish the required work and solve problems. They are not looking for someone to fill a slot for the benefit of that individual.

That perspective is often THE deciding factor between two ‘competent’ candidates. The person that takes the process seriously, shows appropriate respect and professionalism, and demonstrates a desire to contribute will get the job!

Simply because a resume shows someone has the most relevant experience, does not mean they will be the one selected. Employers care about more than competence!

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Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.

How to Hire the Right Person

Stemming from last week’s blog on what’s a bad employee costing you, this week we will share how to hire the right person.

Hiring the right person isn’t a perfect science, however, there are many factors to consider when looking to fill a position.

Here are a few tips to consider ensuring you get the right person in your next opening.

  • Make the job description clear and detailed. The more upfront you are with a candidate about their responsibilities the more you will be able to identify areas of concern with an unqualified candidate.
  • Match person to position AND match person to culture.
  • Schedule a series of interviews with different individuals and perspectives.
  • Check references. Investigate for accuracy in past experience.
  • Ask tough questions. But don’t interrogate.
  • Do a team interview. Have your team help with the hiring process.
  • Assess personality needs of your team/company. Assess candidate’s personality traits.
  • Know a person’s long-term goals.
  • Inquire about their passions.
  • Find out their expectations.
  • Share your expectations.
  • Ask what hiccups might occur in this position.
  • Study their body language. People will say what they want you to hear, their body will speak volumes.

Hiring the right person, while it may take more time on the front end, will save your company money in employee turnover, increase morale and productivity, and will keep your team happy!

And remember, you can always enlist the support of a staffing firm or recruiter to help make the right choice.

How to Know What You Really Want in a New Hire

You’ve burned through three new hires in the past nine months, all looked perfect on the date of hire, all went sour rather quickly, all of which cost you time and money….does this scenario sound familiar?

Unfortunately it is common for companies to go through a period of time where they just cannot seem to find the right person again and again.

What goes wrong? Why does this happen and what can you do to change it?

Well we could tell you that your office has bad Feng Shui or that hiring your friend’s nephew because you were in a pinch was a bad move, but in reality it’s more than just those things. It boils down to one major thing – clarity.

Most employers rarely take the time to figure out what they DO want in a new hire, instead a lot of focus is on what they don’t want. For example, the past hire that didn’t work out had family problems, always called in sick, and was chronically late. Then the next hire who looks good on paper, ends up being single.  Whether through a conscious or unconscious choice this person is seemingly the opposite of the previous person – due to the focus of what you don’t want.

The correction to the hiring process comes in when you now shift your focus on what would be best for the position, the company, and the rest of the team – including personality type, skill set, capability, experience, etc. The new person is in no way replacing the old person’s bad habits with new and different habits, but rather the person is chosen solely on being a good fit for the position and the company without any regard to who was there before them.

Getting clear on what you want for the position and who is right for your company may take a little time and brainstorming, but really it’s about focusing on the positive and helping you to recognize those skills that add value to your company and not dismissing someone because they have a similarity to the old person who was previously in that position.


Is Your Hiring Process Hurting Your Business?

Typically companies ignore the hiring process until a position opens up. The problem with this is that it leaves you scrambling to find the right person in the shortest amount of time. Companies who place more emphasis on hiring and who are always looking for key talent have an advantage and can quickly fill a position with the best person in the shortest amount of time.

What can you do to change your hiring process and make it a priority?

Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford of 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back state that hiring should be a priority at all times, even when all of your positions are filled. They say this does something incredible to company morale, since you have people waiting for positions to open up; your employees will be more productive and will be happier because they are working at a great place where many people want to come and work. Whatever you do, don’t go around telling your employees how hard it is to find good people.

To keep your potential employee pipeline filled work with a staffing company, recruiter, or other professionals who come across great talent. Whenever they have someone, even if you are not hiring, meet with them anyways. You never know, you just might find someone so incredible that it’s worth opening up a new spot in your company.

Top talent exists out there; you just need to do your part in consistently attracting them into your business