“We are trying to fill that position,” the owner explained as I reviewed his organization chart.
“Really? What are you doing to find someone?”
“We tried running an ad, but no one qualified applied.”
This is a classic conversation in my advisory practice. For most small businesses – that is companies with less than two hundred employees – recruiting and hiring is too granular of a skill to employ full time. Hiring is often left to the Human Resources Manager and the supervisor in need of an employee.
To say that you cannot find qualified candidates is acknowledging that you are not skilled at hiring. Like accounting and customer service, hiring is a fundamental need of any growing business. Neglect this skill set and you risk stagnation or worse, a revolving door of employees each leaving a little damage in their wake.
Everyone is qualified to learn.
We all learn a bit differently. The question is whether you as an employer are qualified to teach them.
Knowing how little time we have to train new employees, how infrequently we get to do it, and the fact that we aren’t sure what to teach them – what’s the right interview question?
“Describe a skill you taught yourself to do. Why did you learn it? How did you teach yourself?”
Yes, this is three questions rolled into one. If you want to hire clever employees, you need to learn a little flexibility yourself.
What they are passionate about and how do they learn?
“I really love video games,” scares many business owners. However, consider the concentration, task completion, and computer skills it takes to win.
How did they do that?
“I made mistakes until I beat it,” demonstrates perseverance and independence. Provide this person someone to teach the basics, assign them completable tasks, and they should learn new roles quickly.
“I studied lots of videos on Youtube and did it step by step,” suggests that the end result is more important than the journey. Could be management material.
“It seemed intuitive to me. I just kind of figured it out,” sounds like a technical person. In my day, this was a show technician profile.
“I never really got that good, but I enjoy the game,” indicates this worker likes the social aspect of activity. They could be a valuable member of a crew (or they belong in sales!).
Round out your team.
The tendency of many employers is to hire people that learn they way they do. Consider the benefit of having a mix of learning styles and approaches that lets lifelong skills develop. Help your managers and supervisors embrace the differences as well.