Hiring Only Employed Candidates vs. Training New Ones

“CEO has given us strict instructions to not hire people without an existing job, as we have been burned by candidates saying anything to get a position and then become a flight risk later.” – Redacted

That conversation happened many years ago and I’ve witnessed strategy hurting the company more than it helped. The job market for IT talent has been hot for the majority of my career, so, handcuffing HR this way won’t ensure a steady flow of talent. It’s time we think about developing new talent.

Question: Where do people entering into the job market learn basic business skills? IT employers expect the basic skills, like word processing, email, spreadsheet capabilities. But, customer service, how to communicate, performance goals, business acumen, all not taught.

Argument #1. This is what college is for. In my experience, a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee the candidate has any customer service capabilities, is an effective communicator, or has any business acumen. Not a hard rule, but time and time again, I have seen degrees leaned on but frustratingly don’t pay off.

Argument #2. We don’t have cycles or resources to train new people. This is the heart of it. We are busier now more than ever. And frankly, even seasoned people are having to re-learn the mechanics of how a company operates as they move. Again, similarities can be drawn (ie, information technology fundamentals are the same), but not investing cycles disengages the employee.

Argument #3. We can’t afford to train them, they could leave. I thought this was a joke when I first heard this 20+ years ago, but this is a common post on LinkedIn still today. Culture is king. Good culture means engaged employees + tasked with challenges + paid competitevly + constantly learning and growing = less likely to leave.

Many employers will teach the technical skills. Fewer teach leadership skills. Even fewer invest the time to teach employees what the business does. Even fewer teach employees what professional means in the workplace.

This is an interesting problem. Probably easier to hire talented people with experience. On one side, we shouldn’t complain about the lack of talent if, on the other side, business is unwilling to train and grow the next generation of people.

What’s your perspective?

\\ JMM

America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough…

I just got an email from a recruiter with the subject line “America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough.”

There are volumes of LinkedIn posts about the problems with employers, unrealistic job descriptions, and expectations.  So this post isn’t about that.

I have hired hundreds of people in my career.  While not all of them worked out due to a variety of reasons, most did.  Here are my top 3 observations based on today’s lightening hot IT job market, remote workers, and life with COVID.

#3. Misses Opportunities to Grow.

Granted, 2020 was a barren year. 2021 a few steps better. But so many employed candidates chose to not educate themselves or grow in their existing or desired profession during those years! Top excuses:

  • Covid Anxiety! You hibernated for 24 months?
  • Didn’t Have Resources. Put any effort in to find any? So many free ones out there.
  • Employer Didn’t Tell Me To. Uh, what?

Red Flags:


  • Work On Education. Take some virtual classes . So much free content out there.
  • Work On Labs. Used gear is aplenty these days. Get a lab up at home and a study book and get cracking.
  • Work On Certification. If mastering a skill, why not get the certification to prove it? No excuses. Focus and get it done!

#2. Forgotten How to Interview.

T-Shirts, unshaven, and bad language rise to the top of notable bad behaviors. Here is my advice on getting back to being an ace on interviews:

  • Dress for the job you want to have. Whether virtual or physical, put some effort in your appearance. Personally, I like the shirt and tie look for new IT professionals. Seasoned IT pros can get away with the turtle neck or polo.
  • Cleanup for Interview. Beards are in, yes. But, uncombed hair? Unbrushed teeth? 5’oclock shadow? Just got out of the shower? No. Attention to your personal hygiene often parallels to attention to detail and ability to execute, especially in manager positions.
  • Dropping the F-bomb. Which usually comes an apology right after, but again, how we communicate, verbally and in writing, equates to attention to detail, interpersonal savvy, and culture fit. Profanity should be minimal if not zero.
  • Read Lou Adler’s Book: Hiring & Getting Hired. Off all the books I’ve read, this one rises to the top year after year. $1.44 on Amazon used paperback. $9.99 on Kindle. No excuse.

#1. Undersell You By Submitting a Poorly Written Resume.

Reading resumes does take experience and wisdom. In 2021, I’ve seen an upswing in really bad resumes. Here are the top mistakes I’ve noticed:

  • Lots of Spelling and Grammatical Errors. One or two can slip, but 10+?
  • Poor Formatting. Think really hard before downloading the Microsoft resume template and filling out.
  • No Notable Achievements. Most people just list where they worked and what their job duties were. But what did you achieve while you were there?
  • Lots and Lots of Product Skills. Listing 100+ products you have used once or twice doesn’t mean your a product expert. Or even your experienced. It becomes clear on the physical interview padding is occurring.


  • Hire A Resume Writer. Investing in yourself. Expect to pay as $200, as much as $1500.
  • Read Resume Writer Blogs. There is so much advice out there that can help you.
  • Ask Your Family To Read Your Resume. Mom, dad, brother, or sister have a career? They may be a really good source for consulting.

Unsponsored Plug: Lisa Rangel with Chameleon Resumes is my favorite Resume Blogger who also offers webinars on multiple resume topics. “The Real Deal”.


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