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The results are in... and who knew...

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

I recently put a poll out there to my LinkedIn colleagues asking them "What is you most important qualification that you look for in a new hire? Education, Experience, Previous Success or Interviews Well..." and the results are incredible. I also received other values and I agreed with them however LinkedIn only allows for four and let's go through the results.

Coming in last and surprisingly so was Education. At 4% of respondents this surprised me the greatest as its one of the biggest hurdles in the filtration of the interview process. A lot of companies won't even take a look at you without a degree if not a Masters or higher for a management position. This intrigues me the most. Is it because of the filtration process and the Interviewer can move on to other determinations or just because it doesn't matter? This frightens me as if it's the former many great individuals could be overlooked and if it's the latter then how are the candidates actually being vetted. Personally, this is the variable that has always effected me as I do not have a degree, not by direct choice but by a car accident that rendered me unable to complete school at the time yet I surpassed almost everyone of my school through sheer will and determination to achieve what I wished to accomplish.

Again, back to the importance that most levy on this, why? Elon Musk once said "I hate when people confuse education with intelligence, you can have a bachelor's degree and still be an idiot". Unless the degree is in the direct discipline, does it show that you can objectively handle the tasks in the required position or that you committed yourself to study and passed the necessary tests to the approval of the professors? Thinking this through I would have to agree with the pollsters and place this dead last. In my humble opinion, Yes, a education means something but it doesn't need to have a degree attached to it, The School of Hard Knocks is a tough earned education as any degree if you excelled and passed it with success.

In third place, Interviews Well came in at 24%. So those who prepare, show up promptly on time, are polished and can answer the questions are given a favorable tick by our pollsters. In fact 6X higher than Education as a priority. Is this a display of eagerness, professionalism, or any number of traits all positive for the job? What if this person is an actor in the greatest sense of the word? From my experience I've seen both. Personally, I would never show up late, unprepared, or dishevelled, never have and never will; I look for this in all hires but recently I had an individual come to me more prepared than anyone I ever hired in my career. She, was prepped and ready to go, knew the brand, the competition, had awareness, incredible references, asked the right questions, even reversed the interview to why she she work for us. We accepted her immediately to start and within 30 days the regret was there. She was an actor and we got played. If she only continued on the tract she displayed at the interview she'd been a superstar. Too bad as she only lasted a few more months, all painful because the potential was there but not being utilized regardless of the mentoring.

Now on the other hand, I hired an individual, who displayed similar traits, wasn't as polished, but showed passion and devotion to getting the position. He was a solid mid to upper pack performer. His passion showed through and his genuine care allowed him to overcome his downfalls. He was a team player that looked out for us as a whole and kept striving for more. He didn't interview well at all but there is not a day I regret hiring him as he brought more to the dealership than 98% of the people I have hired. So much so when I friend within the business was hiring for his Lexus store I recommended him right way to forward his career beyond what I could do for him. Since, he has excelled beyond what was expected to lead the team there. So which way to do you go... Hard pressed for the right direction... As you never know if there is a lion in the cub. Gut rules here.

Placing narrowly second with 35% of the vote, Previous Successes, is my personal answer and these successes do not have to be in the discipline the individual is being hired for, in fact, I couldn't care less what they were only that the succeeded in something. For me, it shows, drive, determination and tenacity. Were they successful in a previous position, great, did they win a school championship, fantastic, did they lose 40 lbs. even better. each requires fortitude and a work ethic to reach their achievements. It says more about them than an education or interview ever will. One person comes to mind, he arrived as a refugee, without means, he walked around a city with no contacts asking for a job. He was a hired by a man who showed compassion and after working years for him at his restaurant I got the opportunity to hire him when he moved to my area. Never once did he disappoint, his work ethic shined from his previous successes. Now, you might say where was his success? His success was he fled a war torn country with nothing and survived. To me, that was a success like no other. So, let's decipher the wins from the losses and place more leverage on this.

Finally, Experience won the poll at 38%, but should it be the winner? Do you actually need experience to be successful or could it be a skill set that you require. Theoretically an individual could have years of experience does that mean they are ready for the position you are asking them to do. I always go back to the books here, so many times I have read how they promote the best or most senior salespeople to be managers and I know we have all experienced this in our careers. On paper they usually are the most experienced, right? So why wouldn't they be the best choice? Let's look at it in another way... How about the individual that has had a few positions, they are experienced too. What if former is best selling and the move around individual moves because they lack competence then experience does not matter. Sure experience is going to assist us in the onboarding but after that it's who the person is and that leads me back to second place, Previous Successes.

Regardless of how you chose to answer in the poll, we all have our opinions on how we look to hire but after seeing the results we see here I am asking for you is open yourself up to new thoughts as what is important in a new hire, what the flip sides can be, and how you can take an individual that doesn't meet any of the criteria and find the brightest star.

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