Hiring philosophies run the gamut from “We always hire grads from these Top 5 schools and train them to be like us” to “We need people that are fully trained and already had a similar job and therefore know the job” and everything in between.
One hiring philosophy that I find interesting comes from The Untouchables’ Malone who told Eliot Ness, “If you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree.”
So, what characteristics are you really looking for when your firm needs to hire? Of course they need to be smart enough to handle the role but beyond that, what is most valued? Is it where they went to school or where they most recently worked? Is it their current skill set/s or their aptitude to learn?
I would think desire and dedication in the form of being willing to work harder and longer than others would be high on the list. Also, candidates that will listen to their bosses and follow instructions would be very high on my list. Finally, I believe you want people that can handle surprises and adapt on the fly. If you agree with me on these points, then I have 2 pools of candidates that may have flown under your radar: Military Veterans and Retail Veterans (especially those who’ve worked seasonal retail for 2 or more seasons).
You can work them slide sled dogs and they won’t complain (they’re thrilled to actually get a weekend off and work less than an 11 hour day). They’re clearly not motivated by getting rich quick (or they never would have worked in retail or the military in the first place), and I’d wager they’ll be more thankful and loyal to your firm.
They’ve already learned to deal with surprises on the job and to deal with very irrational, rigid and unpleasant people; they also can handle landmine-type obstacles and traps (the retail equivalent of which would be dealing with a discarded “loaded” diaper I guess), because they’ve done it before. Frankly, anyone who can adeptly handle a life-or-death situation or an angry housewife with screaming kids is a plus for my team.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention what school the candidates went to or where exactly they worked before – that’s because I don’t think it is as important as the characteristics I did mention. I guess I could use the school as a tie-breaker for two otherwise equal prospects but I would want to know what they did for their summer and Christmas break jobs… And if it was ROTC or toy retail (with loaded diaper parking lot patrol), they’d get the edge. (29)