Why talent that is eager to stretch can often be a great hire

I have been recruiting and hiring talent for more than 25 years. As I look back, I would estimate that between hiring employees to work for me and recruiting and placing people for our clients, I have hired over 3,500 people which means I have interviewed well over 10,000 people.

You would think by now I would have figured out the silver bullet to successful hiring, right? When you are talking about the complexity of working with different types of people, levels of experience, generational differences, cultural differences, etc., there is no silver bullet. There are, however, some lessons I have learned that have helped me become successful in matching talent with the right opportunities.

Always be recruiting
and building your network
This should be the case even if you do not have a current opening. I have found some of my best talent from meeting with people when we did not have an opening.

Move quickly
I cannot stress this one enough. Do not keep top talent waiting. They will find another opportunity in the meantime and it will be a huge loss for you.

Look for transferable skills
Be open-minded to consider someone outside your industry, or who’s had a successful career in the military and is looking to transition into private sector work.  Just because someone does not have the exact match to your job description doesn’t mean they can’t transfer the skills they have to your line of work.

Hiring for potential vs. experience
This is the biggest lesson I have learned, what I call the status quo. Most companies base their hiring on how many years of experience a person within a certain skill set or at a certain level has. I am not saying that experience isn’t important, but it is not the “end all be all” that will ensure a person is a successful fit for your company.

Sure, it is a safe bet when you are comparing two candidates to say, “I’m going to go with the person who has more experience already doing this exact job that I need to have done.” But don’t you want to hire people who want to stretch themselves and strive to continually learn new things versus just maintaining the status quo?

When I look back over the years at the hires I have made, those that stand out are not those who came in with the exact experience we needed. They are the ones I hired because the opportunity stretched them to learn new things and perform at a new level. Once they mastered that role, they were also the individuals looking for that next stretch assignment.

So as you look to make your next hire, consider thinking outside of the box and challenge the status quo. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

SueAnn Naso is president at Staffing Solutions Enterprises