Consulting Corner: The Tragically Overlooked Interview Candidates to Target
Hiring can be fun and it can be miserable. When we find ourselves in need of a new employee we have several options including want ads, word of mouth, and recruiting. Finding the right employee is first, a time investment, and secondly a financial weight. You could have ten interviews lasting an hour each – 100+ applications to look through – expenses incurred for a digital or print “we’re hiring” ad – it all adds up. So many habits from the 70’s and 80’s are still indoctrinated into our hiring habits that we often overlook some employee types due to the sacred teachings of big business. If you are like me, you were taught to key in on interview candidates who avoided some “red flags”.
1. Gap in work history
2. Worked more than 3 jobs in a 10 year period.
3. No work experience.
4. Anyone who doesn’t show up early to an interview (rolls eyes)
5. Someone who is not dressed professionally for the interview.
Times have changed, but some businesses hiring practices have not. Let’s take a look at 5 employee types that you might be overlooking based on old ideas.
Give These Interview Candidates a Deeper Look
1. Baby Boomers to Gen X
Retirement ahead? While we all know that age discrimination is not an area in which we are allowed to disqualify a candidate, it still happens. Many companies are looking for an experienced worker with low mileage. The incurred costs of training is high, so the thinking behind it is financial. A young employee has more years to give after the training investment has been paid. The truth however is this. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics The average time that an employee stays at a job is only 4 years (read full report here). Why is that important? A person in their 50’s or 60’s has a lifetime of work experience that can help your small business.
Generally speaking, the Baby Boomer or Gen X’er has settled into life. Ignoring the knowledge built over a 25-40 year work history is a missed opportunity. Additionally, it is less likely to see them soaking up the training and learning just to leverage a better position somewhere else. I have talked to younger candidates who build that into their career plan. With such a low average employment tenure, remove age from the evaluation when making a hire.
2. The Retail Warrior (Best Interview Candidates)
Some of the best salespeople I know had a career path that started in retail. Let’s put it bluntly. Retail sales or retail management is not a respected industry position outside of retail. There are not a lot of rising college students trying to impress their family and friends by outlining their dreams of one day running a Sephora. The pay is generally much lower than it should be, the hours are long, and the thanks tend to gravitate towards staff pizza parties and not generous bonuses and new cars.
These workers rock. The former retail manager will treat your business like it was their own. These corporations ingrained structure, procedure, policy and salesmanship each and every day. If you take the time to listen to these interview candidates and evaluate the ideas coming from a former retail worker, you will often find that they can improve many of the day-to-day operations that you might be not as efficient in executing. I will almost always bet on a former Blockbuster Manager or a shoe store salesperson because they’ve been through some stuff and come out the other side.
3. The uninitiated
The running joke: “We are looking for an 18 year old with 10 years work experience”. The cycle of needing experience to get the job but to get the experience, you must get the job is a real thing. There are roles that needed experience should apply to, such as doctor, pilot, or sniper. In small business there are plenty of roles that can go to a candidate with less work history than others. This is the opportunity to shape a person’s career through leadership. It is easy to complain about how customer service has all but disappeared but each employee we teach to operate in a morally wealthy way, is another in the workforce to balance the scales.
There might be more of a time investment put in with a worker like this but there is no guarantee that the experienced worker will perform successfully. Be a mentor, be a leader and teach an unseasoned employee how to be a productive employee.
4. The gapper
Repeat this with me. It is none of your business why someone decided to take a year or a decade off of work. What is important, is if they can do the job you are hiring for. There are so many situations that do not need to be discussed in a professional interview setting and this is one of them. It should not be a red flag that someone decided to take some time away from work. It is my belief that this will be less and less important as Covid rocked our employment force over the past few years. There are still those that find this important and for the life of me, I can’t see why.
Mental Health – Physical Health – Hiring Conditions – Wealth – Life Experiences – Family – Transition – Self-Employment – Loss – Relocation
All of those are perfectly valid reasons to not be employed by a company and who are we to say what is right for another person’s work career? Furthermore, it really is none of your business. Find out how they performed when they were employed and leave the other parts alone. Value work experience over the gaps.
5. The Journeymen
I once had a Regional Manager who told me she wouldn’t consider an interview candidate in a district manager role or above if they had worked for more than 3 companies. This was not in an amount of years…as in ever. Every single place a person works has the ability to expand their knowledge and experience. I have worked in different industries, learning how people operate, and how to be efficient with operations. Having the gift of multiple perspectives can be a real asset for your business.
Identify your needs with a candidate like this. If you want someone who can catch on quickly then these are the ones. You may not get a decade out of them, but as mentioned before, the days of 25 years with a company are gone. The work experience will more than make up for the possibility they might move on.
If you need help with your interviewing practices, please reach out to us. We would be happy to set up a plan and even train you how to find the best interview candidates for your position. Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with Edgeview Creative projects.