For HR and hiring managers, finding new employees rarely goes beyond the traditional résumé and interview process. However, sometimes the best candidate for the job doesn’t know the opportunity exists.
Since it is the hiring manager’s job to recognize top talent, it’s important that they look beyond the interview room, keeping their eyes open for untapped potential in even the most unexpected places. This can include existing employees within your own organization, in which case fostering their continued growth and regularly assessing their strengths is key.
Striking Gold in A Bowling Alley
Fun fact: One of TempWorks Software’s most valuable employees never formally sought out a position at our company. One evening after a particularly stressful workday a few years ago, several members of TempWorks’ leadership team decided to go out to our local bowling alley.
For whatever reason, our lane continued to experience technical difficulties all night. The attendant on duty, Ryan, serviced our lane each time, demonstrating exemplary customer service through his patience, humor, and friendliness. Ryan never displayed frustration, even when the issues continued, in spite of his best efforts.
Being able to observe Ryan’s positive attitude and customer service skills in a real-world situation showcased his work ethic and personality in a way that never would have come across on paper. It also demonstrated the true way he would interact with a customer, and not just a show for an interview.
That, coupled with the technology prowess he demonstrated working with the alley’s software, made Ryan the kind of IT team member we were looking for. After interviewing Ryan, we offered him a Staffing Support Technician position, and since then, he’s been promoted three times, proving himself to be one of our most dedicated and trusted employees.
Tips for Finding Talent in and Out of the Office
Finding talent in unexpected places rests on a hiring manager’s ability to keep their eyes and minds open. Finding the common denominator between what skills are essential to the position you’d like to fill and the people you encounter, will help you determine who will be a great fit for your organization. Whether it’s a skillful salesperson that convinced you to add to your purchase, or an organized office manager that made your meeting go smoothly, some people will inherently exhibit the skills you’re looking for without even trying.
The unique opportunity presented here is an unfiltered look at the true face a potential candidate will put forth to clients. While the traditional interview process will continue to be your main source of new talent, take advantage of the opportunity to observe individuals doing exemplary work outside of your office or industry. While it’s easy to fudge a bit on a résumé, or put on your best face in an interview, real-world tests can’t be faked.
In addition, sometimes the perfect person for an open position is even closer than you’d think—right under your nose. It’s important to be able to recognize individual strengths within your existing employees and consider each when a new role becomes available. Are all your employees’ best traits being utilized to their greatest potential?
Try to think of your employees beyond their current positions. Identify the key requirements for the position you’re trying to fill. If no one in your office held a particular position, would any of them fit this new role? Identify their transferable skills, and work with them to decide if they would find it more fulfilling to take on the challenge of this new position.
Transferable Skills That Are Right Up Your Alley
Ultimately, we hired Ryan because he demonstrated multiple transferable skills—those abilities that can be applied to a wide range of jobs and industries. While Ryan may not have had staffing software experience, he had transferable skills in spades. His ability to quickly learn new software, solve problems, and communicate effectively ultimately helped him succeed within an industry that was totally foreign to him.
“The opportunity to switch from a bowling alley job to a career within an unfamiliar industry was intimidating at first, especially since staffing software seemed so out-of-the-box at the time,” said Ryan Conover, now an implementation specialist at TempWorks Software. “However, when I stepped back and considered the things I was already doing at the bowling alley, and then compared them to the responsibilities of a job with TempWorks, I realized my skillset was completely transferrable. The software’s concept was easy to grasp, and I found I was still working with customers on a day-to-day basis.”
Depending on the position you’re looking to fill, transferable skills and experience in other industries can bring valuable perspective to an available role. The key is to avoid becoming so devoted to a job description that you fail to keep your eyes and mind open to the people that could bring measurable success to your organization.
Ryan’s story highlights the importance of learning to identify potential wherever it may hide—whether that’s out in the real world or right under your nose. Then, you must empower those individuals with the opportunity to unlock their potential through further development of their existing skillset. When it comes to finding diamond-in-the-rough employees, like Ryan, always keep an open mind and think outside of the box when it comes to your recruitment strategy. You won’t regret it.
|David Dourgarian is the CEO of TempWorks Software, based in Eagan, Minnesota. 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.|