Posts Tagged ‘hiring’

Talent Versus Experience: Which Factor Should Win Out When Deciding Who to Hire for the Job?

Hiring based on talent or experience isn’t necessarily an either-or choice. The desire to grow should be evident in both cases, says our regular HR guest blogger Robin Paggi.

Talent vs. Experience

If you’re trying to decide whether it’s better to hire people because of their natural
talent or their job experience, Googling quotes by famous people on the subject
will not give you a definitive answer. You’ll find sayings like, “I’d rather have a
lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent”
(attributed to UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who won ten NCAA national
championships) and “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented
individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work” (supposedly said by
award-winning best-selling author Stephen King).

In his article, When to Hire Raw Talent vs. Job Experience, CEO and Founder of
Khorus Software Joel Trammel said hiring based on experience is best when filling
a leadership position because, “If this person has no experience managing others, it
will be difficult for him or her to build and guide a team.” He also suggests hiring
someone with experience when you need specialized knowledge for things your
organization doesn’t know how to do or doesn’t do well. Hiring based on talent is
best for just about any other job in which the new employee will be added to others
performing the same job following clear processes and procedures.

Zane Smith, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, said
that hiring based on talent is best for most of the positions in that organization.
When be became the ED twenty-one years ago, Smith managed seven employees
at one location. Now he is in charge of 550 employees at 63 locations throughout
Kern County and one in Barstow. Much of the Clubs’ success is due to the people
who work closely with its members, so Smith and his managers are choosy about
whom they hire. While education and experience are important, being talented
more often tips the scale in the applicant’s favor.

“Applicants for hip-hop instructor should be able to impressively ‘bust a move’ at
the interview; applicants for art instructor should be able to pick up a drawing
element and create an inspiring work of art; and, applicants for resource
development staff should be able to role play a major gift ask with finesse.
Although we value work experience when it comes to making decisions that will
directly impact our children, we tend to place a higher priority on talent that can be
developed and expanded with training,” said Smith.

According to Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, senior adviser at executive search firm
Egon Zehnder, a person’s ability to be developed and expanded through training is
called “potential” and that is what’s most important when making hiring decisions.
Author of the book, It’s Not the How or the What but the Who, Fernandez-Araoz
said in a recent Harvard Business Review article that, “organizations and their
leaders must transition to what I think of as a new era of talent spotting – one in
which our evaluations of one another are based not on brawn, brains, experience,
or competencies, but on potential.”

After spending 30 years tracking and studying the performance of executives,
Fernandez-Araoz concluded, “The question is not whether your company’s
employees and leaders have the right skills; it’s whether they have the potential to
learn new ones.”

How can you tell if someone has potential? Assess whether they are motivated,
curious, insightful, engaging, and determined during the interview process. Here’s
an important clue: “High potentials…show deep personal humility and invest in
getting better at everything they do,” said Fernandez-Araoz.

I’ve trained thousands of people over the last 20 years, and I think that wanting to
learn and improve is critical to success, regardless of the job being filled.
Experience is more important for some positions and talent for others; however,
the desire to grow must be prevalent in both cases. You can quote me on that.

Robin Paggi is the Training Coordinator at Worklogic HR.

She last wrote for us on Pets in the Workplace: Do’s and Dont’s and before that on  What We Wear at Work Matters, and before that on Too Old To Wear Jeans,  Cultural Diversity Workshops and before that Managing Five Generations at Work, before that on Accommodating Religious Beliefs and before that on Politics and Work and before that on Emojis-A Workplace Communications Menace and before that on Alcoholism and the ADA in Employment. To read her previous columns, search Paggi in the search box at the top of this home page.


$1.65M Settlement in Racial Bias Suit Against N.J. Trade Union, School, Reached, EEOC Announces

Justice delayed is justice denied, so the saying goes, but for African American and Hispanic journeymen and journeywomen denied assignments by a New Jersey trade union, justice has finally arrived.

Local 25 of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and its associated apprenticeship school will pay $1.65 million to settle race discrimination claims filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on these journeypersons’ behalf, the agency announced today.

The settlement covers violations from April 1991 through December 2002.  Analysis of hours and wages showed African-American and Hispanic workers received fewer hours of work than their white co-workers for most of the 10-year period, the EEOC said. Prior court actions in the lawsuit resolved violations before April 1991.

The suit was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1971; the EEOC replaced DOJ as prosecuting counsel in 1974.

EEOC’s decades-old lawsuit continues to address allegations that Local 25, which is the trade union for sheet metal journeypersons in northern New Jersey, together with Local 25 Joint Apprenticeship Committee, discriminated against black and Hispanic journeypersons in hiring and assignments.

Read more about the settlement.

Gender ID Bias Included in Fed Contractor Order

Federal contractors must not discriminate against employees based on gender identity or transgender status. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Prgrams made that clear yesterday in Directive 2014-02.

It’s a follow-up to Executive Order 13672 issued earlier this year by President Obama, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and applicants.

But that latest order didn’t specify gender identity and transgender status as types of sex discrimination.

The new directive clears that up.

Lighting Company Dimwitted on Religious Bias, But Smart Enough to Settle EEOC’s Suit

Maybe if the light bulb had gone off earlier, Voss Lighting Co. wouldn’t have found itself in court battling the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and wouldn’t be $82,500 out of pocket for choosing to settle the case.

Turns out that was a bright decision if the EEOC’s allegations are to be believed. According to the commission, the company denied a job to Edward Wolfe, despite his qualifications, because it didn’t like his religious beliefs.

The branch manager who did the hiring, for example, asked Wolfe to identify every church he has attended over the past several years; where and when he was “saved” and the circumstances that led up to it; and whether he “would have a problem” coming into work early to attend Bible study before clocking in. “According to Wolfe, the branch manager expressed dissatisfaction with his truthful responses to the religious questioning,” the EEOC said.

And this was after a supervisor had asked Wolfe for personal religious information during his interview with him.

In announcing the settlement, EEOC made clear that refusing to hire an applicant because he holds different religious views than those of the employer violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, even if the employer is a for-profit company with a religious mission or purpose.

Now it should be noted that a religious institution can limit employment to co-religionists if that is a business necessity for the position. But that wasn’t the case here. Wolfe had applied for an operations supervisor position, and besides Voss Lighting is not a religious institution.

Read more about the case.

Tech Companies at Top of M.B.A. Student’s Wish List

Good news for HR departments at tech companies like Google. A recently-released survey shows that the M.B.A. students from top-ranked schools are increasingly naming technology firms as their most-desired employers.

For example, 28 percent of respondents named Google as their most desired employer.  Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. edged out Google for first place at 29 percent., which was chosen by 10.6 percent of students, was selected by 6 percent of students in 2008.

Read more about the survey results in today’s Wall St. Journal.

Employers Relying Less on Online Job Boards, More on Professional Networking Sites, Survey Finds

Here’s a good reason for job seekers to keep their online profiles up-to-date. It’s where employers are going now to find qualified candidates.

Employers are using online application site less and relying more on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to find qualified candidates for hire, a new survey finds.

Some 24 percent of employers plan to decrease their usage of third-party employment websites and job boards this year, according to a December survey from the Corporate Executive Board Co., a business consulting firm. Another 80 percent of respondents, meanwhile, intend to increase their use of job-related alternative methods this year, such as employee referrals and other websites like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Companies that plan to cut the number of job board postings include McLean, Va.-government contractor Science Applications International Corp., Sodexo USA, and Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

The change in focus comes as more jobs open up and the number of job seekers also rises. According to the survey, between December 2009 and December 2010, recruiters saw a 17 percent increase per opening.

This is putting the pressure on online job boards to find ways to retain their employer customer base. Toward that end, Monster Worldwide Inc. says it plans to launch technology that ranks candidates based on how well their applications fit requirements set the recruiter.

Anticipating Workforce Growth, Companies Hire More Recruiters

More employers are adding to their recruitment staffs because they expect to hire more employees over the next year, a development that holds both opportunities and risks.

Recruiters are in great demand as employers make plans to hire more workers over the coming year, the Wall St. Journal reported yesterday.

More employers are adding recruiters to their staff in preparation to do more hiring. In the past four months, for example, Sodexo USA has added three recruiters to its staff of 55 and currently has openings for two more.

A survey conducted this past summer by CLC Recruiting found that about half of employers planned to increase their recruiting staffs, compared with 19 percent that expect to shrink them through 2011.

Another baramoter: In November, the number of U.S. job postings with recruiter in the title rose 20 percent from June to 5,306 on, which aggregates job postings from thousands of company websites and job boards.

In-house recruiters can, if they engage in discriminatory hiring practices, make their employers liable under employment discrimination laws. Similiarly, outside or third-party recruiters can be held liable for discriminations as “agents” of employers on whose behalf they recruit. See george’s employment blawg for more information.