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What's Best?

(September 20, 2006) We hear "best candidate" all the time. To attract the top candidate, do x. To keep them, you must do x.

"Best candidate" seems like code to me.

What does candidate really mean? The most experienced? Surely. The most educated? Probably. Well spoken, effective communicator, team player. Of course.

I would argue, however, that best candidates have less to do with experience and education and more to do with personality fit.

Do you offer them an environment and work that they can be loyal too? (and feel good about it).

Most people will work their butts off for a cause or purpose they feel passionate about. Gen Why (they demand honest answers) would rather work long hard hours, for less pay, for a cause they felt connected to than go to work for 40 hours a week for more money. A recent study conducted by SHRM found that 58% of Gen WHY want their work to offer pathways to personal growth. They are the least interested in pay increases. They are experience focused vs. status focused. (Employers, employees divided over key issues, Kathy Gurchiek, SHRM, 8/11/06)

These are impossible findings to ignore. Young people want to work for companies they understand. They want not only to know, but to understand company policy, environmental effect, philanthropic mission and why their role is at the heart of what makes things move.
They don't want jobs. They want work.

Of course, you could look at this as inflated egos. Or young, hopelessly romantic folks who want to change the world (and whose focus, you hope, will change). Let's note. I am not saying you are without heart. Or passion. Or deep commitment to the fact that your work makes the world a better place.

I am saying that to get and keep young people, who come surrounded by a network larger than yours, you have got to offer them a work experience that will pass the test of their network and provide a benefit for their community.

Why should they integrate your company, your product and your people into their people?

Best candidates have little to do with "experience" as traditional resumes understand it. Of course, you aren't going to hire a dance major for a technical engineering position. But you may hire a World Religions major in your marketing department. Or a community organizer/activist for your development team. If you can convince them its worth it.

Think about what you are really offering in your work community. Opportunity? Responsibility? Voice? Fun? Community? Purpose? Ethics?

It's a lot. But we have to work towards this. And just think, when you finally get there, the job of selling positions is a piece of cake. Candidates will hear their own want to work for your company in your voice. Feel it in your presentation. And verify it through honest (published) communication mediums that highlight what your company's about.

(Bridget Sumser is a consultant and educator who facilitates conversation within organizations across the boundaries of race, gender, sexuality, nation and age.)

Download the slides that John (john at johnsumser.com) and
Bridget (bridge at linkitup.org) Sumser presented at the OnRec Conference this week: Multigenerational_Recruiting_interbiznet

- Bridget Sumser
bridge at linkitup.org . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler

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