Random Thoughts on Life and Work

July 5, 2013

Skills Investment

Filed under: Non-Profit — Darren Mullenix @ 12:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

If we each think back to the early days of our respective career, we can hopefully identify an individual (or two) who took the time to invest in our skills development. This individual didn’t write us off for not having a certain skill but rather took the time to teach, to mentor, and to share – developing in us a desire to do more, to learn.

As a leader/manager, how do you balance that with the need to hire competent, skilled people because the job “has to get done”? Let me suggest a way to evaluate the dilemma.

  1. Does the potential hire have the major skills to accomplish the work? In other words, is the missing skill set a relatively minor subset of the position and the major skills override the missing minor?
  2. Is the missing skill easily trainable? Maybe it is simply missing knowledge of how to operate a particular device or software.
  3. Is there an “intangible” that this individual brings to the position?

I’m not suggesting that a blind eye be turned to the short comings. What I am suggesting is that at times the “required qualifications” drive the hiring process and as a result a true diamond in the rough can be missed.

This is why I like internship programs and temporary assignments. They are opportunities to evaluate through on the job performance and occasionally take a risk. They are also opportunities to invest in another person. 

Consider a different approach to your hiring process. Identify the non-negotiable skills needed (probably only 2 or 3) and hire for those. With effective training and mentoring, the others will take care of themselves.

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