A Risky Hire – Taking a chance and winning

Recently Nordasec needed to fill a professional position. The HR managers discussed what qualifications and skills the successful applicant would need to satisfy the terms of the job. The directors discussed the personal attributes they would like to see in the applicant. The other staff discussed the need for a team player who was excellent at trivia so they would finally be in with a chance to win the weekly pub trivia fruit basket. Everyone in the company had an idea of who would be best for the role and what the person would need to bring to the company to make a rewarding contribution.

The applications flowed in. Each was reviewed, sorted and compiled for the HR managers to assess. As this process was taking place, it became apparent that many applicants had the technical skills but no experience, while others had the attributes and aptitude, but not the qualification needed. As applicants were selected for interview, one of the HR managers made a thoughtful suggestion.

‘Why don’t we interview this applicant? She doesn’t have the qualification or technical experience, but she does have all the interpersonal skills and workplace background that we said were necessary for the role?’

We had been focused on placing those with qualifications above those who had experience. So we took our HR manager’s advice and added not only this candidate, but a few others with similar qualities to the interview pool.

On the day of interviews we were highly impressed with the level of talent that had applied. We believed that when we painted the picture of the perfect candidate that we would need to change the palette at the least to find a fit. However, our work was made more difficult because we actually had to repaint the picture entirely.

Our candidates were educated but not skilled, or experienced but not trained. We had to revisit our priorities. In a managerial meeting while discussing the candidates and the job, it became overwhelmingly apparent that most of us were happy to train the right candidate, but we were not happy to work with a person who did not meet with our company values or understand the maturity required to commit to the role. Our HR manager had been right.

So we took a risk. We overlooked the need for a qualification and chose a candidate who suited the interpersonal aspects of the role. We chose a woman who had many years working in the public sector and who was ready to become part of an intimate team. We chose a professional who understood the value of her contribution, who was committed to learning and who was flexible. We chose a team player with integrity and transferable skills.

While we thought what we needed was the technical input from a learned professional, what we found we really needed was a motivated self starter who had the maturity and ambition to learn what was needed for the role and make it her job to understand how to fulfill those needs within the company.

Taking a risk and hiring a person who was not qualified, but who had transferable skills, ambition and a sense of creativity meant that we found a person who was willing to engage with their work and imagine their future with Nordasec.

Unfortunately, not all things go to plan. Our consummate professional, who always delivers high-quality work on time in conjunction with the team she leads, is terrible at trivia. As yet, Team Norda has not won the fruit basket. It is our hope that our next hire will prove more successful in this arena.