You should know, this issue is more about how robot-like hiring practices, and the industrial-age practices for hiring erode competitive advantage at your company in the long-term. A number of articles have been published on the long-term unemployed. Two of my recent favorites are: “Why HR Needs To Stop Passing Over The Long-Term Unemployed.” And, “The American Way of Hiring Is Making Long-term Unemployment Worse.” Both articles come from the HBR Blog Network.
Before going any further, if you are an executive, ask how you might lead change in this area. If you are a hiring manager, how might you structure your job descriptions to look for talent and behavior, over direct skills and past experience. If you are an Human Resources leader in you company, don’t be a robot, repeating yesterday’s industrial-age method of hiring; instead start the discussion.
Adding to these articles focused on the unemployment issue, we believe that inevitably, the practice of filtering out candidates that lack recent experience, or that have gaps in their employment is overlooking significant talent. This practice needs to change by focusing not on “experience-based hiring” but on “performance-based hiring.”
Experience-based hiring is matching a candidate’s recent experience with long-requirements for doing a specific job or role listed in a job description.
Performance-based hiring is fundamentally identifying candidates that a) can perform the job duties, and b) want to do the job for the company hiring.
Hiring managers sometimes overlook these simple and observable facts:
- A young person entering the job market after receiving a degree, or vocational training, probably knows more about how to preform a job, across all aspects, than a candidate that has done it for a dozen years.
- An experienced candidate that has significant experience can accelerate learning curves and apply best practices learned in tangent, or not-so-tangent roles in other companies.
- The candidate that has done the exact same job described in the job description for 10 or 15 years is not necessarily bringing experience to your company, but may be bringing problems or bad habits learned at another company, to your firm. Problems that have prevented him or her from advancing in their career.
Instead of screening out candidates that have no experience, or gaps, consider focusing on the following:
- Do they wan the job?
- Do they have the basic, and other applicable skills that add value on the job?
- Do they have motivation to learn?
- Do they have initiative and show a pattern of successful progression and advancement?
If these four things are present, you have a much better chance of hiring a great addition to your organization. It’s best to avoid hiring someone that has the 10+ years of experience, but brings with it bad habits and behavior that make him or her a problem employee. Or, equally disruptive to your business is to hire that tenured candidate only to find out he or she is tired of doing that job, and immediately wants to move out of the very role you hired them to do.
It may very well be the candidate that has a gap in their resume that has a greater potential of being a fabulous employee. In the economic downturn, the jobs-game of musical chairs didn’t just shift only one chair out of the circle. Instead, it took half the chairs away. That left an enormous group who are willing and able to perform the job you have to fill, but will never be considered because of HR hiring policies about “gaps” in work history.
he bottom line is that gaps in work history, or tenure of experience indicate nothing specific about a candidate’s ability and willingness to perform the job you need to fill.
This issue is not a new one. Returning veterans or members of the military returning to the civilian workforce have struggled with this. The big difference post-economic recovery, is that the pool of people able to contribute to the global GDP and your company’s competitive advantage, is much greater than ever. Leverage this, and your company will be the leader. Fail to recognize this, and fall behind.
Barton Professional Placement Group can help you see through the methods of hiring based on the wrong approach. We can do experience-based hiring if that is what you need, but we are direct in sharing that this will eliminate a significant portion of the possible candidate pool. Our question for hiring managers is simple: “If we find a candidate that can perform the job, fits in your culture, and exhibits the behavior of an exemplary employee, will you hire him? Let’s talk about ways to end industrial-age practices for hiring that erode competitive advantage you need to change at your company.