Take a chance when recruiting
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It’s time for NZ employers to give people a chance when recruiting
By Mark Wager
With unemployment on the rise my heart goes out to those people who are finding it difficult to get an employer to give them a chance. Senior managers of companies say they have positions available, maybe not as many as previous years but they are having difficulty finding the right people. In some cases this is current New Zealand lacking skills in certain fields but in the majority of cases this is complete and utter rubbish. New Zealand Managers need to stop being lazy with recruitment and start unearthing the talent that is waiting in the job market for them.
I believe the main problem is that employers have no idea just how transferable some skills are and seem to think that people can only do a job if they have specialist experience of their industry. While there will always be some jobs that have specific expectations, websites like SEEK advertise customer service and leadership roles that have the application criteria so detailed that they might as well have a line stating “only apply if your name is....” Not only is this lazy management but it is incredibly reckless and downright stupid employment practice. Our economy is influenced negatively while , people are missing out on hiring staff who could make valuable contributions to their business.
You can teach technical skills but you can’t teach integrity, drive and passion
I look at my own career in the UK and I genuinely believe that if I was born in New Zealand I wouldn’t have been given the opportunities I got in UK and that’s a shame, with such a small population base and such a tight economy it’s vital that managers change their attitudes with recruitment. When I left school I went to work in a shoe shop where after a year I became a store Manager and went around the country managing different stores. When my travels took me to London I saw an advertisement for an unsecured underwriter in a Finance House. I applied and the Managing Director gave me a chance at the interview and subsequently hired me. I went from managing a shoe shop to managing a portfolio of clients. Now you might think that’s a strange leap but the Managing Director knew what a lot of good Managers know and that is you can teach people technical skills but you can’t teach them integrity, drive and passion. The decision to hire me was considered strange by some of my colleagues. I had no university education at that stage. I barely had a high school education, I was just a working class kid who had hunger to succeed. I knew what it was like to be poor, to be so broke that you have to rely on hand-outs and charity. It’s that type of hunger that no school or university can teach you. Within a year I became a Broker Sales Manager and in the process I made the company a lot of money.
I can fix many things but I can’t fix stupid
When I moved to New Zealand I was contracting at a small company that sold photocopiers. One day an Indian man was going from office to office with his CV in hand asking if there were any jobs. He didn’t care what it was he just wanted a foot in the door so he could prove himself. The Sales Manager told him he had nothing available and asked the man to move on. I asked the Sales Manager why he said that when earlier in the day he told me he was looking for a new sales person. He replied “If there was a good salesperson I would already know him." I could have put him straight but I pride myself on being able to find a solution to almost any business problem but I can’t fix stupid.
Skills such as customer service and especially leadership are easily transferable if they belong to a person with drive and a helping of common sense.
Lastly, a word of advice for those Managers who think they know of the ideal person for a position and decide just to give only that person the position. You need the best person possible and if the person you know is the best person then a recruitment process will prove that. If they are then all you have lost is some minimal time short-listing and interviewing yet if you manage to find someone better then you will look back on that time as one of the best investments you will ever make as a Manager.
When recruiting by all means look for skills and experience but never forget the most important qualities of any employee are the same ones that you can’t train. Integrity, drive and passion.
This article is taken from the book "Elite Leadership" by Mark Wager. To purchase clink on the picture below
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Posted: Monday 15 April 2013