By Jim Wong, CPA | November 16, 2016


“You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb.” – Andrew Carnegie

For many hiring managers, human resources professionals and recruiters, there is a common belief that to make a successful hire you should hire someone who has been previously employed in the same role elsewhere. In addition, another common belief is you should always hire someone out of the same industry you are hiring for. Generally, these types of candidates are considered most desirable or “ideal” candidates.

After all, the learning curve is minimal and they can hit the ground running in no time.

If all things are equal these beliefs generally hold true. However, there are other factors to strongly consider when trying to hire the best candidate for a role.

There is a lot to be said for a job-seeking professional who is looking to take on more responsibilities with every new role they take on and not remain stagnant in certain aspects of a position. It shows their drive, determination and motivation for further developing their career—which is often what companies are looking for—to develop and grow their business.

Even though hiring a professional who has previously performed the responsibilities a hiring manager is looking for sounds like an easy choice, a hiring manager should consider other components to the person’s experience as well. Isn’t there value in considering a job seeker who wants to challenge themselves rather than one who just wants to remain status quo?

I recently read a Forbes article that discusses this topic, and I knew it would be beneficial to share with you, especially accounting, finance and information technology professionals who may not necessarily agree with this logic. While the career path for many can appear to be more linear, it doesn’t have to be. Job seekers can take their careers in many different directions. That’s why it’s essential for hiring managers to understand job candidates’ career goals while interviewing potential future team members.

Learn the 5 Factors to Consider When Hiring the “Ideal” Candidate below.

1. Does the person have their own ideas? 
The writer of this article sums it up nicely, “I’m looking for someone who has made decisions about their career, rather than being carried along by the wind.” Of course linear career paths have their merits, but it should be stated that non-linear career paths also have their own unique merits. Too often, job seekers get discouraged by non-linear careers, when the truth is, they can utilize their various experiences and skills to secure a new position.

2. Are they intellectually curious? 
This is important for any job seeker, no matter if they have a linear/non-linear career path. While hiring managers should hire qualified candidates—for example, a CEO should have certain degrees and certifications—many roles have overlapping tasks that can be applied to different positions. It’s up to both the job seeker and the hiring manager to determine how to leverage these skillsets.

3. Have they set goals and achieved them? 
Hiring managers will want to know that the person they are interviewing is goal-driven. This not only shows determination, but it shows hiring managers that even if a professional doesn’t have all of the specific skills within the designated job description, other important characteristics can and should be taken into consideration.

4. Do they know themselves and what they want? 
This ties into my previous point that it’s important for job seekers to showcase their goals and accomplishments in order to show interviewers that they are serious about the role. Knowing what one wants and going after it is incredibly important in any role, especially for job seekers who might be taking a risk on a job that is different from their background. In other words, job seekers should be able to prove their determination and reliability in any job interview including ones that are a leap of faith.

5. Do they have a sense of humor? 
This may not be as obvious as the other points I’ve made but it’s equally important. Hiring managers will benefit from hiring a candidate with personality and a sense of humor because they bring energy to an organization. Further, the person is likely self-aware when it comes to their strengths and weaknesses. If a job candidate has a strong personality, but doesn’t necessarily have all of the skills on paper, that’s not an automatic reason to write them off. Rather, it can be a great jumping point in a job interview.

These are only a few of the things hiring managers should keep an eye out for when interviewing job candidates. Do you have other suggestions? Comment below and let us know.


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