There’s no doubt that job searching is stressful. With a competitive job market and many graduates entering the workforce, the search of landing a full-time job is no walk in the park. So what do employers look for when they’re hiring? In “Five things I look for when I’m Hiring”, written by Liz Ryan, she states how many hiring managers and recruiters want employees who already have experience in the job they’re applying for and individuals who have a linear career path. However, this view is dangerous. For companies to be innovative, their employees need to learn and develop. So how do employees learn and grow if they have experience doing the same thing over and over again? They don’t. There really is no point for employees finding new jobs if they are going to be performing the same tasks as the old job. In addition, focusing on a linear career path is perfectly fine, but so is focusing on a non- linear career path. Ryan explains that although some employers are looking to hire individuals with some experience, she prefers to hire someone that had to make tough decisions and take chances, rather than someone being carried along by the wind. Here are the five things Ryan looks for in a new employee:
- A person who can come up with their own ideas
- An individual who is intellectually curious
- Someone with a personality and a sense of humor
- An individual who knows themselves and what they want
- Someone who has worked toward a goal and reached it
By the time the hiring manager is interviewing a potential candidate, they have already found a reason to meet with them. Whether their resume demonstrates that they have the right skills and knowledge for the job opening or the hiring manager believes that they have the capability to help solve a problem. Either way, the hiring manager is going to hear about their career history at the job interview, but it would be counterproductive to hire someone just because they have already done many of the things you need your new employee to do. Ryan wants to hire someone who is smart and inquisitive and explains that the right person will teach themselves on the job, with the help of her support. Obviously, this can’t be the case for all jobs such as a surgeon or a doctor. But how does the hiring manager determine if the candidate has the necessary five qualities Ryan looks for? She states that one can achieve this by setting aside the interview script and communicating to the candidate like they’re meeting for the first time. She advises recruiters to tell potential employees about the job and let them ask questions. The questions they ask will demonstrate their thought process than their answers to scripted questions ever could.
In addition, Ryan unfolds the issues of focusing on linear career paths. These employees typically do not have their own ideas or opinions, and may not even realize it. Employees will respond with an answer and won’t even know why they feel that way. They are conditioned to reply with certain answers because that’s what they’ve always been told. Ryan advises candidates to question themselves when they answer a question. Ryan challenges them to ask themselves, “why do I feel that way?” “why is this the answer?” and encourages employees to share their thoughts and responses to other colleagues.
To conclude, not all hiring managers and recruiters are like Ryan. Some of them hire based on experience and prefer the traditional way. However, the hiring process is slowly changing and many companies are shifting away from this paradigm. Thus, it is the smart employees who are the ones that are noticing the outdated recruiting and interviewing mindset is what hurts the company and helps their competitors. Read more on Ryan’s article on “Five things I look for when I’m Hiring”.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.