In a recent Harvard Business Review article the author discussed the evolving landscape at work and the need to adapt our hiring practices to recruit employees who can meet present day challenges in the workplace.
It went on to list the five hallmarks of potential and the author suggested that these should be prime factors when making an offer to a candidate.
Progressive ideas about recruitment and hiring say that "past performance is the best indicator of future success" and this article affirms that.
Stop hiring for competency. Hire for potential instead.
How often have you been in a search committee meeting where a strong candidate is summarily dismissed from consideration because he/she "has no experience in_______".
This completely misses the point. The better question is "has he/she consistently excelled in the responsibilities they have been previously given?"
That is the better indicator of selecting a strong hire. I have been in too many meetings where we question the "readiness" of people. But I still think that's the wrong question.
In addition to the five excellent qualities mentioned in the article, I would add one more that in my experience has separated good candidates from great ones. It is, quite simply, hunger.
Hunger is the more intense cousin of motivation. It is a restlessness that always says what else can I do? It is raw and can't be easily quieted.
There are a few ways to identify hunger. Is the candidate a go-getter, ambitious, and wanting to take on more responsibility? Do they see themselves in the larger context of their organization and their respective field?
Hunger is also rooted in grit. It is unfettered by traditional notions of age, ability or hierarchy.
In higher education, hunger is often lacking or it is penalized as bragging or brown-nosing. We proclaim humility as a value and being humble as an important virtue and yet Student Affairs as a division continues to get looked over because our humility is preventing us from telling our powerfully compelling story of how we move students through this challenging transition called college.
Instead, we may opt to keep our head down, stay complacent, blush at recognition and continue on doing the same programs and events each year--business as usual. This is not serving us--or our students--well.
Hungry people live by the motto "can't stop, won't stop." They know there is always more that can be done. They find ways to be contributors. They don't shy away from telling people about their teams' good work because sharing our success stories can result in increased resources and opportunities for our students.
I want to hire hungry people because they also keep me hungry. If you spend ten minutes at a job placement exchange you can smell the hunger. These candidates are poised for action! As supervisors we should provide fuel for that hunger and reward it. Supervisors need to help newer professionals grow their talents and discover how they will cultivate their hunger. Our departments and students win every time when we support and role model hunger whether we are in our first year on the profession or our 30th.
Longevity does not necessarily equal talent and hunger without a history of consistent success doesn't help our students either.
The recipe is one part hunger, two parts follow through. That combination can be found at any age and any stage. These are the folks who can move the dial, tell our story and be ready to learn about the next wave that will impact our campuses--and swiftly adapt, act and innovate.
I'm in search of hungry people. Anyone want to join me for lunch??