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An Employment Rant From An Outsider’s Point Of View

Getting hired hasn’t been a problem for me, nor do I foresee it becoming one in the future. Saying that may surprise many people, especially given the current state of employment in this country, but I’m not done… I’m 20. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Damn kids, look what’s being put into their heads. They’ve got no sense of reality,” but the only thing I have to say is that times are changing.

I’ve had a number of jobs; my current title being Marketing Director for a start-up out of Chicago (Dr. Beasley’s Car Care Products). When I tell most people what I do, they laugh and seem surprised that a 2nd year college student has what seems like a lot of responsibility. I tend to like the responses that I get because most of them expose what the older generations think of those representing the new-age of talent, such as myself. As you can probably assume, I most commonly get, “don’t you need a degree for that,” or “do you have the experience?” The answer to both of those questions is indefinitely, no.

From the responses I get, it seems that most people are focused on how beefy a potential hire’s resume is. I find this detrimental to success, and for good reason:

A resume doesn’t show you performance. It’s easy to tell, tell, tell, but going back to what every high school teacher preaches, it’s about showing, not telling. What is a phrase mostly used to express writing techniques is true about hiring as well. I know most wont agree, but I’d much rather have a potential employer give me a four-day unpaid test run rather than asking me interview questions that 1000s before me have answered.

So there is this change coming, and it starts with the interview process. It’s proven and well known that the behaviors and traits of a candidate will certainly dictate job performance. So why not implement this idea? Why not toss the ridiculous questions that don’t get to the heart of anything, such as my favorite: “Tell me about something you’ve accomplished as a team.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great question and all, but if you’re interviewing for the future, you should understand that every good team is a composite of multiple individuals, each playing a different note so the team can successfully strum a chord. Questions like these are too broad and can hurt a company’s ability to put the right person in the right chair by not tapping into the candidate’s individual motivators and strengths.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I think that each person can contribute something significant to the greater picture (in this case a company’s success). What has been qualifications and experience in the past needs to shift to traits and internal motivators that are ingrained in an employee’s behavior. We all know CFOs and Lawyers have specific identifiers in which success can often be predicted, and this is not to say that some can’t slip through the screen, but shouldn’t employers be more concerned with recurring tendencies than historical achievement? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from leeching off of my mother’s 20+ years in the industry, behavioral interviewing can not only help to identify an individual’s traits, motivators, and competencies, but in doing so, can also identify what is needed to build a successful workforce.

In short: Michael Jordan was and will always be one of the greatest basketball players to ever live, but you wouldn’t suit him up at 47 years old just because he’s done it before; you do it because he lives, breathes, and bleeds basketball. Make the change and start implementing behavioral interviewing in your company’s hiring process and see the results for yourself.

~ James Detmer


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