Square Pegs into Round Holes

Experience-focused position descriptions are not only a hindrance to hiring civilian talent, but also to hiring military-experienced talent. Lou Adlers’
recent post on ERE.net, Why you can’t hire high achievers , details where most postings fall short. As Lou says, “The work determines what skills and experience are required.” The trouble is that the best candidates aren’t even getting invited to the party.

For proof, we need only look to employee-favored hiring markets. Hiring managers, desperate to fill positions, loosen their requirements and put more focus on potential. That’s how I got hired at BMI in 2001. What I lacked in pedigree I made up for in potential. The semi-conductor industry did it in 1999. Prior to then, military techs lacked the specific skills necessary to be interviewed and now they are the candidate of choice. Production Supervisor, Project Engineers, Sales Engineers and even CNC Field Technicians have opened more to military-experienced technical, engineering or leadership candidates.

The best teams realize the advantage in potential. They avoid self-made square pegs and round holes. They smooth the edges and hire based on balancing minimal experience with maximum potential. This opens the “hole”, leading to more qualified candidates. The larger pool allows better focus on potential.

Bobby Whitehouse


Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandquist