Over the past school year I’ve had the chance to meet with and exchange ideas through email with some individuals who hold hiring and leadership positions in a multi-billion dollar global corporation. Our discussions centered around educating youth. Since corporations employ about half of the nation’s private sector, I thought it would be interesting to get the scoop on the kind of qualities they are seeking in young hires. Although they shared many, I’ve listed three qualities they say are hard to come by in a young hire. Numerous new hires have been fire from their corporation because they were lacking these qualities.
A Finished Product
It is the job of parents, schools, and universities is to educate youth; not corporations. A human resources executive stated that corporations want a finished product. It’s sort of like the purchase of a new car; it should be ready to drive. If you were told that the car is new but it just needs a set of brakes or a tuneup. Most likely, you’d find a different car dealer! A new hire should be ready to work. The new hire who just needs help prioritizing tasks, or a recent grad who just needs help with time management is a problem for the company, not an asset. In other words, as an exec told me, “I don’t want to have to educate anyone. That’s not my job.” It’s true that every company has to train new employees; but training and educating are different. Educating is far more labor intensive, time consuming, and expensive. “We want a finished product.”; someone who shows up with a mindset to work; a finished product; no nonsense, ready to work, work, work, work, rinse and repeat.
Some people are great at letting others know that they’ve found a problem. Furthermore, some relish at letting leadership know about problems, “You guys know I found a problem?” Truth is, problems are everywhere; and any fool can point out a problem. There are big problems, small problems, and every size in between; they’re on your commute to work, at work, at your home, in your life, you’re friend’s life, problems are in your dog’s life! Big deal, the employee pointed out a problem; or what she or he thinks is a problem. Question: What are the employees’ ideas toward a solution for the problem? They don’t need to have the solution, just reasonable ideas that could help move the organization toward a solution. One executive stated that if employees did this with every encounter of a problem (and there will be lots of them); efficiency and productivity, would greatly increase and there would be a sharp decrease in negativity (improved morale).
An employee’s range of abilities are integral to the strata of success in their career and success for the company. A new hire should continually take on the projects that they know the least about; in doing so they expand their skill-set. Some of the best students that I’ve ever worked with were the ones who were eclectic in academics and extracurricular activities; blending distinct subjects like math, history, science, writing, finance, and other disciplines for a practical cause like raising money for the homeless or starting their own business. We can use a person with a varied skill-set anywhere in the company; mobility in a company equals promotion in the company; is what one executive expressed to me.
What’s a Parent to Do?
A gardener plants in Spring and harvests in Spring correct? No. The harvest is much later, in a different season. Remember, there’s not a switch that just flips on after graduation that gives your kid these qualities. These qualities must be cultivated now (in “Spring”), so that your kid can reap a harvest in the professional world later; more importantly, these are qualities whose benefits are not limited to professions. Acquiring these qualities while young, will yield later benefits in every area of life.