It’s been an interesting week so far as I’ve been in a Beta Teach course at Microsoft. We have a very interesting cross section of people in the course and, as one usually does at a course, I’ve struck up conversations with various classmates. One thing that has struck me is the really deep pool of talent that is represented in the course. The other thing that has struck me is that a number of the people attending are currently unemployed and while all are actively looking for employment, all are also frustrated by employer’s that look at only the certs or the weight of the CV.
OK, I know I’m just a dumb Canuck and things work differently here in the great US of A but I’m here to tell you, people, that you need to think “out of the box” when you are hiring. A person with a good CV (but not, necessarily a “great” one) but who exhibits thoughtful confidence, is self-aware (and by this I mean knows what they know and, more importantly, what they don’t know) and who is not afraid to ask questions and do the digging is frankly worth tons more than the jaded pro with certs out the wazoo. A person willing to learn and willing to do the hard work to get to the next level is someone that you can mould to specification. More importantly, that person will deeply appreciate the chance to prove themselves both to you and to themselves.
I have been lucky that employers have given me such a chance in the past and I have hopefully paid that kindness forward by hiring people that may not have seemed the best choice on paper BUT who absolutely blossomed when given the opportunity. And those people have always turned out to be the best hires in the long run.
We have a dictum inside itgroove that we “roll our own” consultants as we never seem to find candidates with the exact qualifications that we want. What we do find is people that have great skills in other areas that may be transferrable and that also have a real desire to learn. And we have been very successful doing this both in our SharePoint practice as well as in our SMB practice. I see no reason at all that the same approach cannot work elsewhere. Ultimately, employers want great and loyal employees; great employees are “made” through a confluence of factors and loyalty is something that is earned over time. Providing an “opportunity” to someone that you might not normally consider is definitely one of those factors and tends to engender loyalty very quickly.
So, go ahead, take a chance on the kid that shows the aptitude and the confidence but who may not have the “required” certs. Take another look at the older person that still shows the passion but who may not be up to date on absolutely everything. And, please, don’t get hung up on previous job titles as they are almost meaningless. And remember, hiring is ultimately a crap shoot. Hiring the “pro” that is just using your posting as a placeholder while they look for something better serves you far worse than hiring someone that has the potential but not (yet) the skills.
Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.
Ralph Waldo Emerson