Experience & Skills Are No Match for Talent

Posted by HelenaNelson on April 5th, 2019

Human knowledge is now doubling every 3.7 years. This means that 50 percent of what you now know will be out of date in less than four years.
Just to bring it home, let's imagine you need open heart surgery. How would you like to have it performed by someone who hadn't learned anything new about the procedure in the past 48 months?
For this very reason, it is no longer about hiring skills and/or experience. Today, it's all about hiring talent.
So, what is the difference? A skill is the ability to do a particular task, like drive a truck or design a building or fly a plane. All of these are skills. Talent is the ability to learn new skills and/or dramatically improve upon an existing skill set.
Because of all the rapid changes in the workplace and technology, Hiring Systems and hiring a skill today is only going to solve a problem in the short run. When you hire talent, those people will be able to move the organization to the next level because they can quickly learn and apply new knowledge. (While you may want to hire a computer programmer who knows a specific language, you would be better off hiring a programmer who has the ability to rapidly learn and apply new languages.)
Here are some interview questions that explore an applicant's talents:
  1. What was the last thing you learned and how have you applied that learning?
  2. How do you learn best?
  3. Give me an example of a situation where you did not know how to handle a particular problem. What action did you take? Why did you take that course of action?
  4. What more would you like to learn about your job or career? Why?
  5. In your present or last job, how long did it take you to feel like an expert in your position? How much did you have to learn? How did you tackle it? What were the most difficult aspects of the job to master? Who helped you?
  6. Let's assume for a moment I hire you and you start in two weeks. During that time, I get called out of the office on urgent business and am not available to support you for the next month. What are you going to do to get yourself up to speed?
When Talent is in the ring versus Experience/Skills, my money's on Talent every time.
Certified Speaking Professional Mel Kleiman is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant and author on strategies for hiring and retaining the best hourly employees and their managers. He is the president of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems, training processes, and tools for recruiting, selecting and retaining an hourly workforce. For more information, call (713) 771-4401, email mkleiman@humetrics.com or visit www.humetrics.com.
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