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Image Credit: <www.123rf.com

Image Credit: <www.123rf.com>

Corporate Recruiter Bonnie Ungaro recently wrote a great article on why it makes sense to hire for potential.

I think this is a great idea. As someone who has written his fair share of job descriptions (and has a good understanding of the work done in many of the jobs I’ve sourced for) I can say that the requirements listed in job postings are often  much higher / stricter than they need to be. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a hiring manager to more or less lift the resume of the previous incumbent in writing a job description.

This is a terrible approach to writing a job description for many reasons (topic for another day), the most glaring of which being that the incumbent may have left because he / she was overqualified for the job to begin with (the manager is repeating his / her previous hiring mistake), or conversely that said incumbent may have had skills and certifications that weren’t used in the job at 1. I think this sometimes happens because hiring managers don’t know what some of their direct reports do (which could be a big contributor to why those direct reports left the organization) Pro tip for managers: Take an active role in understanding your direct reports work. It will not only make you a better manager, but they’ll appreciate you more.all. 1

…So yeah, Ungaro makes a very good point. We (and when I say we I mean corporate America) need to loosen our job requirements just a little.

With that said, I do believe that this touches on a larger issue with college education – that being that college today often doesn’t prepare students for working in the real world. There are some definite pluses to attending a four year university (it’s where you learn how to learn), but there is also often a huge disconnect between the work corporations do and the work students do in school.

Perhaps teenagers aren't ready to be making five figure decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Image Credit: <www.nowpublic.com

Perhaps teenagers aren’t ready to be making five figure decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Image Credit: <www.nowpublic.com>

To be fair here, there is an argument to be made that it is not the role of institutions of higher learning to prepare students to work for corporations and / or government. Not everyone will work in these arenas, and smart students will look for internships in the industries they want to work in while in school.

I don’t quite buy this take on the role of educational institutions, though. Eighteen year olds don’t know anything about anything, really. Yet they’re encouraged to take on crippling student loan debt by society to pursue degrees that don’t give them the skills they need to get jobs high paying enough to pay down that debt once they graduate. Going forward this is going to have a crippling effect on our economy as students delay first marriage, first children, first homes etc. because of debt they took on before they really understood how they could add value to society.

I don’t know how much of this is a corporate America problem (as said we need to lower our hiring standards for job postings) and how much of it is an educational institution problem.

It’s definitely a problem, though.

As always, please share your thoughts below.

Best,

Rory

If you have questions about something you’ve read here (or simply want to connect) you can reach me at any of the following addresses: 

SomethingDifferentHR@gmail.com OR rorytrotter86@gmail.com

@RoryCTrotterJr

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