During the hiring process, employers look for applicants who will demonstrate two main qualities at work: intelligence and investment. If you’re an employer looking to make a new hire, here’s what you should be asking yourself:
Which quality is more important in an applicant?
Okay, but why?
These days, employers focus heavily on long resumes that are packed with experience after experience. But does that really create the ideal employee? Or does it call for pause?
Picture this, if you will:
Two recent college graduates with the same degree apply for a position with your company. The only major difference between the two applicants? Experience. Applicant “A” has had multiple internships with large companies, as well as a current full-time position that is similar to the one your company is hiring for. Applicant “B” has had only one internship and currently works part-time in a field unrelated to your company.
Applicant “A” represents the intelligent employee and Applicant “B” the invested employee.
So, which do you hire? In order to best answer this question, consider these factors:
- Applicant “A” might job-hop more frequently. You can spot a “job-hopper” by noting the length of employment at all previous jobs listed on an applicant’s resume. If those jobs didn’t last for more than a year or two, it’s generally a sign that your company will soon be just another name on a long list of companies that person used to work for.
- Applicant “A” is probably used to hearing the word “yes”. If you’re looking to fill a position with someone who will remain invested in your company, try setting up an interview with the person whose resume may have been overlooked in the past. He or she will likely be so grateful for the opportunity that it will inspire a sense of devotion to you and your company.
- Applicant “B” will find purpose in the position. Most employees these days are constantly thinking about “what’s next” for them — especially when it comes to their careers. The intelligent applicant is likely to move on without hesitation, whereas the invested applicant requires far more convincing to leave a job once they feel they have a purpose there.
- Applicant “B” will be easier to train. With a ton of experience, comes difficulty adjusting to a new company’s way of doing things. The invested applicant will be easier to train because they’re still sort of a blank slate. Think of this person as someone who can be molded into an example employee for your company, rather than just any company.
- Applicant “B” may have more travel experience than Applicant “A”. It’s safe to assume that the person with the packed resume also comes with a packed schedule and little to no free time. Travel experience is important because it shows that the applicant has been exposed to other cultures. In almost any business, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position is an invaluable skill.
But how do you really know if an applicant is going to be invested in your company?
Strong Cover Letter
The best place to look for professional investment is in a cover letter. If you haven’t already, request that all applicants submit one before coming in for an interview. Though a good cover letter is typically written in a professional tone, it should also provide ample insight as to who the applicant is on a personal level. If at the end, you’re left feeling like they lacked desire or ambition, it’s probably best to move on.
If your applicant walks into the interview with a smile, a firm handshake, and their head held high, you’re off to a good start. However, when it comes to hiring an employee who will remain devoted to your company long-term, what you’re really looking for is passion for the position.
More often than not, employers find themselves torn between multiple applicants. If you find you’re ever in this position, pay close attention to the little things applicants do to set themselves apart. For example, give extra consideration to those who send “thank you” emails within an hour after the interview and “follow-up” emails the following week.
What does this mean for the intelligent, experience-packed employee?
Let me start by saying that applicant “A” is not a bad employee. Though there are many reasons to hire applicant “B”, there are also reasons to do the exact opposite.
An experienced employee is best suited for a position that requires consistent use of a specific skill set or training. Website design, for example, is one position in which previous training is a must.
In this situation, I recommend first consulting with a firm, agency, or freelancer about the work you need done to find out which is cheaper: outsourcing the work or taking on a salaried employee.
Hopefully by now you have a clear picture of the kind of employee you want to hire. However, if there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be this— If you’re ever lucky enough to find someone who is both an intelligent AND invested employee, don’t let ‘em get away.
If you enjoyed this article feel free to let us know in the comment section below or by sharing it on social media! Thanks for reading, and may the hiring process be ever in your favor.
— Amanda Myers, Copywriter at BoydTech Design, Inc.