“Take a chance on me.“ – Hire Talent and Train some Skills for a Change

January 31, 2014


Rosanna Palermo, one of our most seasoned recruiters here at Argentus in the Strategic Sourcing and overall Supply Chain space, recently posted a comment to LinkedIn that got some great discussion going in our overall network. The point she was making was to do with the issue of the  “mandatory” minimum requirement experience that companies place on vacant roles before they will even open the door for an initial exploratory conversation with a candidate when there is an open position. There was some good thoughts that stemmed from what she said. We wanted to roll Rosanna’s comment into one of our blog commentaries so as to pose the same issue to our wider network within Supply Chain Management both on the Talent Acquisition side as well as those who are hiring for their teams.

Rosanna’s original comment was this:

…“Here is a conversation I often have with my clients and some food for thought. Hiring managers often have an extensive check list of “mandatory experience” (for an open position when they begin a search).  But flexibility is important. Why would a candidate in Supply Chain/Planning/Strategic Sourcing want to move into a new position in  the exact same capacity, and at the exact same level that they have worked before? The strongest candidates are looking for growth and learning opportunities when considering a career move. Candidates must be given a chance to grow in their career (and reach higher potential) and therefore may fall short on some criteria, but should they not be given a chance?”…

She raises an interesting point and companies really miss out on some amazing talent in Supply Chain when they don’t open their eyes and their parameters to really work with their recruiting partner as a partner rather simply as an order taker and filler. Obviously skills and experience are very important to every job especially as they grow in seniority and specificity. And for every job, there are certain criteria that MUST be met – skills without which the job cannot be done. But consider this:

Most hiring managers we work with in this space are all about attracting the best talent, the “highest potential” candidates for their jobs – those who will have the ability to fast track.. They want people who have real personality and real ability to grow into a role and into an organization who fit their particular culture. But in the same breath, sometimes these same hiring managers will  take a pass on a candidate because they’re lacking in a specific piece of experience halfway down a long list of sometimes unrealistic expected “requirements” for a job.

We understand that hiring managers want new employees to hit the ground running and because of that getting as close to full expectations for the role will surely guarantee that. Being sure that they have the most experience is always ideal but it is a certainty of fit and success and often clients wait weeks and even months with open requirements. That in of itself is loss of productivity and puts an extra burden on the rest of the team.

But consider this – If you’re looking for someone who is really keen to take their career to a new level and has 80% or 90% of the skill base required, wouldn’t that be potentially a better bet? It’s certainly worth thinking about. Our point is that it’s somewhat contradictory to demand that a prospective employee already have the exact experience doing absolutely everything that the open opportunity demands.  That’s just not a particularly attractive proposition.

The real go-getter top candidates in Supply Chain are in very, very high demand. Motivation for career growth is something that hiring managers need to consider when luring them into their open roles and determining how they craft their job expectations and who they will select for interviews. Top up-and-coming talent wants a challenge – they thrive on new experiences.  And beyond that, their ability to adapt is what makes them “high potential” in the first place. They can move into a role and quickly ramp up where they might shortfall in certain skills.  

Anecdotally, we’ve had many successful experiences with companies who play ball with and open up on their expectations in this very tight market and get great results. It’s really all about being open to the possibilities

The fact is, by hewing too close to the “required experience” in a job description, hiring managers and internal talent recruiters can sometimes lose the chance to bring great talent to the table.

 The key takeaway here, hiring managers need to think strategically about a role before hiring. What type of candidate are you looking to attract? Are you looking for someone who can hit the ground running and has done everything in the job description before? And if so, how high will that price tag be to hire and how long realistically do you expect to be able to keep them before they move on to their next gig? Alternatively, are you looking for a proven high performer who can grow into a role and beyond? It’s easy to say “both,” but the two categories have less overlap than you might think.  Our suggestion – interview both types next time you hire. See what’s really out there. Don’t be closed off by a list of requirements that might just might make you lose that hidden gem.

Big thanks to Rosanna for sparking this discussion online and in our office.

Over and out






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