Don’t just hire for skills or fit but also for learning

Don’t just hire for skills or fit but also for learning

In the 20th century, business owners sought talented individuals who had the right skills and aptitude to contribute to a growing business. This philosophy resulted in thousands of companies on college campuses to recruit hundreds of thousands of graduates to find their company’s next generation of leaders. With such high expectations, it’s no wonder many business leaders were disappointed. Recent college graduates have little business experience, ability to be practical and often have unrealistic expectations of immediate career advancement.

By the turn of the 21st century, many business owners recognized they needed to hire for fit. In other words, they recognized the importance of their company’s culture and how critical it was to find those individuals, regardless of their skills or experience, who were “cut from the same cloth” and thus could succeed in the organization. The thinking was that if a job applicant were hired for their character and ability to mesh with a company and its culture, they could subsequently be taught the needed skills and thus would succeed.

As the 21st century is unfolding, the downside of hiring first for fit is becoming clear. Business owners need adaptable, flexible employees who can learn. Unfortunately, many loyal and agreeable employees become more of an obstacle than an asset for the company that needs to change with the times. Every time an owner says, “That’s against our culture,” what he or she is really saying is, “My people are so hard-wired into their current practices and pathways to success, I cannot change them.”

So, while it is always important to hire for ability and fit, it is ever more important to hire flexible people who can learn and adapt to the 21st century. After all, if you as the leader are expected to do so, why shouldn’t they have to do the same?

By |May 4th, 2015|21st Century Thinking, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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