Have you ever had a time whenever you are applying for a job and you’re so interested in what you’re doing, you’re just very passionate about that particular area, that particular industry, and you just really love, love what you’re doing but you’re not a senior level position that the company needs?
Or, you don’t simply have near enough experience to do what the job description says, and you then immediately apply and then immediately you’re rejected. Does that sound familiar? It has happened to me and I’m sure it has happened to many different people and it drives me nuts. So, today’s blog is going to be sort of a rant for employers, recruiters, people that do hiring for jobs.
So, what I want to talk about is what I just mentioned, I want to talk about the employers, recruiters, any job hires that are looking for talented individuals, but they only look at experience. They only look at the line items on a resume of, “I need a Microsoft Cloud automation engineer.” “I need a DevOps engineer.”
Okay, well then immediately what you’ll typically see is “I need this, this, this, this.” All line items - You need three to five years’ experience in this, you need one-year experience in this, you need three years’ experience in this, that is ridiculous. Of course, there’s a certain baseline that most companies should look for.
Obviously, if you’re hiring for a senior architect role at a company and you have somebody that’s gung-ho wants to be a senior architect, but he’s only just graduated at college last year, he’s 18 years old and he’s been in the help desk for six months and he applies, obviously there needs to be some kind of baseline.
Candidates with Exact Amount of Experience ONLY
However, what I found is companies really focus on just making sure that every candidate has the exact amount of experience. They want somebody that’s been doing that exact same job forever, preferably.
They want somebody that’s been doing that job and they say transfer over to this company and do that exact same thing for us. It’s not going to happen, and many companies are just completely screwing it up, they’re completely limiting their talent pool and they’re completely limiting the right number of people.
Let me give you an example, let’s say that there is a person out there that is a perfect match experience wise for a job, that person has exactly the same years of experience that you need in Xyz and essentially, they’ve been doing that job their whole life and they can do it in their sleep. If you want a worker or you just want a doer, sure bring somebody in but you have no idea how interested they are in the job.
I mean, maybe they’re just doing it because they’re comfortable, they get paid a nice paycheck, they get their benefits and they go home and do their thing. They’re just doing it for a job and that’s fine, that’s completely fine and I’m sure that they would do their job well, but I think that employers should be looking for more than just somebody who wants to do their job.
Potential, Interest & Passion
Employers need to look for somebody with potential, somebody with interest, somebody with passion, somebody that can come up with ideas to implement another job. To me, I think a doer is just somebody that’s cranking out widgets in a factory. You go to work, you know exactly what you’re going to do, you just crank your widget, do your thing, and crank your other widget, do your thing and then you go home, and you go back and do it again.
There are no ideas of better ways we can improve the process, there’s no outside the box thinking, there’s no interest in what they’re doing. If they had the way they’d probably just sleep and do like a puppet that’s just going along moving their hands because they don’t really care what they’re doing, they just want the money.
Employers I think if they’re just focusing just on experience alone that that’s essentially what you’re doing. You’re looking to hire puppets because you want somebody, especially in the senior roles, you want somebody that can question everything, they can think creatively, is really passionate and really interested in what they’re doing because numerous studies show that if somebody is interested in their job they’re going to do a whole lot better than what somebody that just doesn’t care. It’s obvious, it makes complete sense.
Look for Pillars of the Community
So, if somebody is doing things outside of the job for free, like writing blog posts, doing training videos on TextSnips.io, or helping other people out in forums, essentially doing a similar thing that what they are doing at their job but doing it for free because if somebody’s doing something for free then they obviously enjoy doing it because it’s a hobby.
It’s just something that they enjoy doing. Those are the kind of people you need to look out for. You need to look for pillars of the community, I guess if you will, you need to look for people that are doing this already for free. That means they just naturally enjoy what they do.
If somebody is teaching somebody else then they obviously care about enough to care about the topic to really just enjoy, I mean they’re really passionate about what they do. Maybe they don’t have the ten years of whatever experience that you need but if you see somebody on the cusp of being able to have that experience, maybe they haven’t even been given the opportunity to do anything like that and as soon as you give them the opportunity they’ll just excel at it and that will make your existing processes better.
The Question Everything Mentality
I’ve seen multiple times in my personal experience where I kind of came in to do job X and I come in to do job X for a little bit, maybe I don’t have the experience that I should have in it so it takes me a little bit longer to get to learn about it and learn the process but I tend to have that question everything mentality, I’m always questioning how can we do this better, it’s just something in the brain.
Some employers or managers are like, “I don’t care what you think, this is how we’re going to do it.” Those people are probably the ones that have the exact amount of experience at the company hired, they’re doers. They’re either too lazy, they don’t care about changing existing processes and making the job better, the business succeed. They just want to do it and go home.
However, if you have an employer that is very receptive to feedback regardless of if it’s inside of your job, if it’s for another team, really just any feedback at all that can potentially provide a lot of value and to make an existing process, and existing project better, that’s the kind of company that you need to work for.
Some of this receptive viewed that regardless, so if you are that helpdesk tech that just graduated college and thinks, “I’ve been answering this phone and I’ve been going in and resetting these passwords forever, why don’t we just create a self-service portal or something and let the user go in and change their own password.”
That’s just a small example of thinking outside the box, thinking of cutting unnecessary steps in the process and maybe this helpdesk tech has no idea how to create this solution webpage or whatever kind of implementation it’s going to be. Maybe they just say to their boss, “hey, why don’t we do it this way?”
Nine times out of ten if you have a very receptive boss and a receptive employer they will say, “okay that’s great. I know you don’t have the experience for that but that’s a really good idea. Why don’t you start doing that? Why don’t you start taking a certain percentage every time, every day and learn that? I’m making that your project.” What that will do, once you give somebody the opportunity to have the experience, they will learn so much because it was their original idea to start with. They will put a lot of ownership behind that particular project if it was their idea.
This is my project I’m going to make it a success and that just iterates and expands upon getting more experience and more experience and more experience and eventually you get more senior roles and you go from there and then you deal with the employers that work for those jobs that say, “I only want five years’ experience with X” and now you have five years’ experience with X not because of that company that’s requiring it but because of the company that you started with that gave you the opportunity to have that experience in the first place.
Employers Really Need to Stop Focusing on Experience
So, that’s all I have to talk about today. As I said, that’s just been kind of driving me crazy how I’ve been thinking about that. How lots of employers just really focus on experience so much rather than potential and opportunity and engaging. You know, passion and interest and somebody that’s just really, really excited to come to work.