Friday, March 28, 2008

Why do employers fail to reckognize talent? pt.1

There's been a lot of talk about the democratizing effects of the internet and the 21st century employee. Older generations tend to quiver at youngsters changing jobs every year or two. I know people who don't understand folks who can be on the internet 24hrs a day. The reality is that this generations work IS the internet - not that we created the internet but our work happens online. (My opinions on SaaS and the future of office productivity will have to come later.)

Now, I may be over generalizing, but we don't really turn to a card catalog anymore to figure out where to learn something. It takes too long and our time is priceless. (I shamelessly wear my bias on my sleeve.) Information comes at us all day long and our alone time is a luxury.

Our only true commodity is time. A person can choose to farm or to go to the library. Both have some return and both decisions can be quantified in [currency of your choice]. So if time is the only true commodity then the person who can do things faster and more efficiently has more "powerful" or valuable time. I think this points to the importance of experience; assuming that, generally, people with experience (in whatever field) can do things more efficiently and effectively. So, if I have to choose between a couple of people to hire, I choose the candidate with the most experience because they are a more efficient worker. No brainer there.

Another important ingredient to this whole mess is that experience isn't valuable in a vacuum. An employer must perceive a particular job candidate's experience to be the "right" experience. This is why your network, professional or otherwise, is incredibly important.

Now, years ago, people would be given opportunities based on socioeconomic class. The offspring of a wealthy family would have a much better chance of getting into [insert prestigious school/job] because of who the family was. Now a days, it is cheaper to come across information than it was back when the printing press was invented. Wait a minute! The book was a luxury and that may be a reason that wealthy people had more education. They could afford the books.

Either way, we find ourselves in an environment where good information is cheap. People can build competency quickly and easily. And socioeconomic class no longer determines your ability to land that awesome job. This is over simplifying the whole ball of wax, but you get the point.

So if we are all equal in our ability to get information and put it to use, then why pick on person over the other for a particular job? Its all about final product, see. Does one candidate produce a better final product than another? and how do we know?

Seth Godin talks about scrapping the resume in favor of a portfolio and letters of recommendation. Fastcompany says that if we want to get somewhere in this world we have to dot the I's and cross the T's. We are now the product.

So I end, or should I say start, with a potentially alienating and verbose post to say that the next segment will be about the challenges of attracting and recognizing talent. Why are so many people not good at it?

1 comment:

William said...

You are missing the interpersonal dynamics. You may be good but can we work together? Can you work on a team? An experienced candidate gives you a sense that there were past successes that can be replicated. You had goals/objectives that were surmounted. This could be an indication of the future.
Also, If I have a respected friend that recommends you, I will be more inclined to give you the benefit on any doubt.
Generally "Experience" reduces the risk of the hire. We don't know what will be produced but we want to be risk adverse in our decision.