Are you hiring for today…or tomorrow? Chatting to a recruitment colleague the other day I was surprised to hear that all-too-many companies seldom see beyond the ‘here-and-now’ when filling vacancies. In particular, he mentioned how his usual practice is to not only provide his clients with the CVs of people who clearly match the job specification---but to also add one or two of those whose talents are above-and-beyond that required by the actual vacancy. Yet all too often he finds the latter group disregarded on the grounds that they’re ‘Over-qualified’. While it’s understandable that most companies usually want a round peg to fit their round hole, why such a short-sighted approach persists in the logistics industry, beats me. Surely someone who’s not only capable of doing the job (and has a proven track-record of doing it) but also had a broader employment ‘hinterland’ could well provide something valuable beyond that immediate right-now requirement. People DO move within (and out of) companies---and being able promote someone from within who already has experience of the next level up, even if they’re not actually using those skills in their current job, sounds a good idea to me. Of course it may be that guy who’s hiring is worried about recruiting someone who might turn out to be capable of doing their job. But even taking account of our natural paranoia is that really the best excuse we can come up with for ignoring ‘future growth’ potential in job applicants?
THE OTHER HALF
I recently visited a Global supplier to the truck industry to hear all about their R&D operation. However, whilst I was there I also learned that six out of the 11 scientific and engineering graduates they’d recently recruited as trainees were woman. In fact, my hosts went to great lengths to explain the value of having women engineers in their organisation, in particular within management and project teams. Without thinking I quipped: “So you get left AND right brain thinking---and multi-tasking too eh?’ ‘Of course’ came back the straight-faced reply (reminding me once again to think before I speak.) But what really made me sit up was when the head of R&D talked about the different way men and women behave when they’re offered a job. The men tended to immediately say ‘I’ll take it!’ and start talking ten-to-the-dozen about how they were going to do this and that--often before they’d heard what was fully involved. In contrast, he noted, women asked for more information, wanting to be absolutely sure of what it was they were taking on, and what was expected of them. And this, he said, could all-too-easily be misinterpreted as reticence or a reluctance to accept the offer---when in fact they did want the job, but weren’t about to make any hasty leaps of faith. Not a bad strategy. And worth bearing in mind the next time a job applicant says to you: “Well before I say yes, can you just tell me a bit more about....?