Get Introspective

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Would you hire yourself?  Get introspective to find the best talent.

You get to hire someone new.  The company is growing and the future looks bright.

Where to start?  It’s tempting to just put together a list of “required experience” and “job responsibilities” and start matching up resumes and profiles.  Before you do, challenge yourself by pausing and reflecting on your own career path, so that you can truly effectively target the right talent.  


Pause and think about the job that you are in right now.

What is the core responsibility/focus?  How many years of experience did you have when you were initially hired?  How, when and where did you learn that skill?  Was time a factor?

I recently saw a job requiring 2-12 years of experience.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they would reject someone who went into their 13th year.  I’m not saying finding someone who has spent a reasonable amount of time practicing a particular skill is a bad thing, but is it the time with the skill or the mastery of it?

It’s better to have someone who could learn and master something in a year than someone who has been working with it for 5 years and isn’t that good.


Pause and think about what you were doing three years ago this month.

What job did you have?  What projects were you working on?  What skills were you using?  Are there any that you haven’t used recently?  Do you think you could still do them?  How long would it take for you to get back up to speed doing them again?

Some of the more frequent questions I get from job seekers is how to deal with gaps in employment or changes in career path.  It’s a valid question as employers are skeptical and there is a belief that skills begin to rapidly deteriorate when the work stops.  While certain skills that require a deep knowledge recall or being skilled in a field that rapidly changes may require more recency, many simply don’t.

Be reasonable when considering skills “outdated”.


Pause and think about all of the activities that you did over the past three work days.

What skills/knowledge do you have that allowed you to accomplish those activities?  Did you have those skills last year?  The year before?

Scope creep is a challenge when looking at what you want someone to do in a position.  Suddenly the company mantra of hiring smart, talented people with a passion to learn and desire to grow goes totally out the window with a laundry list of “must haves”.


Pause and think about the tasks required in your position.

Who gave them to you?  Have you said “no” to any requests that have come your way?  Would you feel stifled if someone required you to do all things assigned?  If something was reasonable, would you not do it because it wasn’t in your job description?

The final bullet of “All other duties as assigned” in a job description kills me.  (Pun totally intended.)  Just don’t do it.


Pause and think about the lessons you’ve learned outside of work.

Do you ever use those lessons on the job?  What shapes you as a person?  What interests you and drives you to be good at the work that you accomplish?  What excites you?

We aren’t a separate person at work and at home.  Yes, there may be some differences, but the life lessons that make me ME, aren’t gone while I’m at the office.  My competitive spirit doesn’t have an on/off switch and my motivations are more than a salary and a 401k.

It’s important to realize that you’re hiring a whole PERSON, not just words on a resume.


Would you have hired you for the job you have now?  Have you ever been rejected for a job in the past that you know you could have done?  Was it a lack of skills or a lack of talent?  Is there a company out there that could have been even better today had they had you in it?  Would you want your company to have that same experience?


Now that you’ve done some reflection, go ahead and jot down a SIMPLE job description for the role.

With this is place, it’s now time to write, now what you want someone to have done in the past, but what they will be doing in the future in this role.  Also think about who they are, what are their passions and challenges.  If you could turn back the clock on your own career transition journey, how would you do it better this time?