The World Doesn’t Care What You Know!
by Kevin D. Crone
“All it cares about is what you can DO with what you know”, says Harvard education expert Tony Wagner. It used to be that you were something if you had a degree in anything. However, employers no longer consider a bachelor’s degree an adequate proxy for your ability to do a particular job, or even to be hired. Just ask the worldwide group of bright young graduates who are part of the twenty percent unemployment rate or who are working in low-paying jobs.
Jobs, and the tools to do the job, are evolving so rapidly that employers are using different ways to measure an applicant’s skill. Somehow the world of business has finally learned the difference between knowledge and skill . Today, many applicants don’t have the skills that employers are seeking and don’t know how to get them, but these applicants still have high expectations for themselves. Many employers have high expectations as well. They don’t want to have to train new hires – employers expect them to be already qualified to perform at a high level.
In the new world economy, you need to prove yourself. A degree or a well written CV is not enough. Today, applicants should find out what the position’s results description is (what has to be achieved and how it will be measured), and then demonstrate they can do what’s required. For example, if they apply for a sales job, they make a video of themselves selling the company’s offering and demonstrate it live in the interview. They want to prove that they are selling in a way that’s appropriate for the style of the company. Is it a service sale, a retail sale, or a direct sale? Do they need to prospect? Applicants are way ahead of the old game if and when they pay attention to these particulars.
If you’re hiring:
1. Ensure that your job description isn’t just a list of fuzzy personality and other non-measurable traits. (Unfortunately, most of them are.) Take the job description and add a list of outcomes to be achieved and then answer how you will know they are being achieved. In other words, add outcomes and measurables.
2. Further, make a list of things that could be demonstrated for each outcome and metric. For example, if candidates are applying for the position of social media manager, plan to have them demonstrate the effective use of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, etc. Now, give the applicant a chance to use those skills on a simulated project. Show the applicant your offering, then ask him/her to formulate a tweet promoting it. Be reasonable. They aren’t experienced at your business, but you will see their skills at composing a message.
As an applicant, your mission is to demonstrate how you will add value to the business. As the employer, your mission is to test whether they can do that. Granted, as products of academia, most new hires aren’t clear about what they want and what skills they have. They believe knowledge is everything and they Google everything. They often believe that because they know something, they must be able to do it, so they don’t work on developing the skills needed today. But the best job applicants are inventors and solution finders. They are relentless at reinventing themselves. They are entrepreneurial and try to figure out what the market wants, and they match their skills to it. They don’t need a degree to think that way.
The best hiring companies specifically know what they want done and test applicants to see if they have the necessary skills to do the job. Then the business brings its employees’ passions and talents to new skills through training and development. That is how their organization grows and how an enterprise expands its capacity to find and keep customers. They expect and design training to match up with outcomes and changing measurements in a rapidly changing, new economy.
Your clients want value-added. Your people need to provide that, and you need to hire and train effectively and resiliently in order to continually expand as markets shift.
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