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

One thought on “Hiring Only Employed Candidates vs. Training New Ones”

  1. I got started as a DBA when I applied for a job posting that stated, “will train on the job”. The Senior DBA, a Microsoft MVP and MCM, would sit down with me on a daily basis and train me up as a DBA. I had homework and assignments. Was not allowed to use the GUI in SQL Server and had to do every thing via code. Made me learn powershell. It was a lot when I started but some of the best memories I have in my IT career. This person still mentors me after I left that job almost 10 years ago.

    When I was put in the position to screen candidates, we would usually chose candidates without college degrees. The degrees folks had, did not add value to the enterprise. Their experience was too broad, they knew a little about a lot of topics but not enough to actually perform in the work place. So glad to hear that places like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Google dropped the degree requirement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: