3 Tips for Finding and Building Upon Existing Talent
Sometimes, the most valuable job prospects aren’t those who sent in their resumes in response to a job posting. Unexpected candidates can be found in the most unlikely places—as in the case of TempWorks Software, at a bowling alley—or right under a hiring manager’s nose as someone who already works within the company. Managers on the lookout for the best talent shouldn’t limit their prospects, but instead need to keep their eyes and minds open to identifying talent wherever it may exist. Here are three tips to identify potential in those outside your own industry, and foster growth and purpose among your current employees.
1. Keep an open mind. One of TempWorks’ most valuable and dedicated employees never formally sought out a position at our company. Instead, we met Ryan at our local bowling alley, where he was working as a technician. Whether through some sort of underlying mechanical error or our own post-workday goofiness, our lane encountered a great deal of technical difficulties, which Ryan addressed with composed patience and a true display of phenomenal customer service. Since offering Ryan an interview for a Staffing Support Technician position on the spot, he has been hired and promoted three times, and has proven to be one of our most dedicated employees.
Observing Ryan’s positive attitude and patience in a real-world situation demonstrated his customer service aptitude in a way that never would have come across via a traditional resume or interview. This, coupled with the technical prowess he demonstrated while working with the bowling alley’s software, helped us realize that Ryan was exactly the kind of IT team member we never knew we needed. Had we not kept our eyes and minds open that night, we would have passed Ryan by, never incorporating such a valuable asset into our team. A bowling alley isn’t the first place you think to search for new talent, but in this case, it was the best place to find it. Hiring managers across a variety of industries should keep in mind that transferable skills often can be a better predictor of workplace success than technical skills.
2. Find the common denominator. An important aspect of finding and building upon existing talent is determining the transferable skills necessary for the position you’re looking to fill. Transferable skills, or those abilities that can be applied to a wide range of jobs and industries, can be viewed as the common denominator between the position the person currently has and the position you are trying to fill. In Ryan’s case, these skills were his technical experience with the bowling alley’s software and his customer service abilities.
When hiring managers are looking at candidates, it’s important to not be too married to the job description or discount candidates who can learn those non-transferable skills with on-the-job training. Instead, identify the key traits that will make a person valuable in that position and to your organization. Finding a candidate from a different industry can provide a unique perspective that changes your business for the better.
3. Foster internal growth. Just as you should keep your eye out for diamond-in-the-rough candidates outside of your industry, you also should regularly assess your current staff when it comes to finding the perfect candidate for an open position. It’s important to identify the strengths of each existing employee, as well as his or her unique talents and interests, to determine whether he or she might flourish in a new role within your company. Someone already in the organization won’t need to be vetted through the traditional interview process, and you will already know he or she fits into your organization’s culture. Your current employee also will have the opportunity for a more fulfilling career that will both challenge him or her and potentially make him or her a happier, more productive employee.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when looking for new employees via traditional online job boards or recruiter assistance. Even if you do identify a seemingly perfect candidate who does a stellar interview, you may not see his or her authentic personality or lackluster work ethic until it’s too late. If hiring managers keep their eyes and minds open, they will find that great talent exists in unexpected places—sometimes in a bowling alley or even a current employee right under their nose. Across the board, identifying the transferable skills that are critical to the job will allow you to build upon existing talent, no matter where it’s found.
David Dourgarian is the CEO of TempWorks Software, based in Eagan, MN. His accomplishments within the company include launching the payroll funding and payroll processing divisions, as well as engineering a substantial software partnership with Sterling National Bank.