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Are qualifications everything when looking for a new hire?

My first employee started on November 1 2021. This marks a major milestone for my business, and considering my background, it seems like nothing short of a miracle. Before I get into this article, let me first say that I have a propensity to do things myself. I think it was engrained in me from childhood. The need to work hard and achieve was all I ever really heard about as a child growing up. Very high standards, some of which seemed unreachable, were set for me and it was only as a got older, that I realized that it was simply impossible to do it all. Reliance and trust in others were absolutely required. So yes, just the fact that I took the leap to hire someone to join my team at Bayley’s Consulting Services seems like a miracle in and of itself.

With that being said, in my quest to find someone, I asked myself three questions that were all triggered by experiences in my own working life.

  • What type of individual am I looking for?

  • What qualifications must the person have?

  • How can we serve each other?

Question #1 – What type of individual am I looking for?

I am naturally drawn to people who are empathetic, people who place the needs of others above their own. As Elon Musk said “…I think it matters whether people have a good heart.” As a business leader, I want to create the most progressive working environment that I can and critical to that is being surrounding by people who are able to walk in another person’s shoes, lend an ear when an ear is needed and encourage when encouragement is needed. I also believe that we can inspire and motivate each other simply by the way we live, without ever having to say a word.

I also looked for the need and drive to achieve. I looked for someone who has been through some challenges and yet is still pressing through. Essentially, I looked for the scars. Call me crazy but I sought out what others may discard as damaged. I believe that these are the people that have the potential to become great employees and even future leaders. For me to be a great leader, I have to build great employees.

I looked for someone who is teachable. Often our qualifications and even years of experience rob us of our teachability. While in corporate life, I have never worked in an environment in which I didn’t have to be taught as well as teach; and that included people at all levels of the organization. From the newest junior intern to the Chairman of the Board, there was always an opportunity to learn and to teach. As a Corporate Secretary working with several Boards over the years, I have observed a common quality among the worst and best employees and leaders – their teachability or lack thereof. We are never too old or too young, too qualified or unqualified, or too experienced or inexperienced to learn from each other.

Question #2 – What qualifications must the person have?

In my humble view, the question of required qualifications will always be dependent on job requirements. Why am I looking for a degree holder for an entry-level job? Why am I looking for someone with experience to enter data when these skills can be taught while on the job? Competence in a certain task and the ability to learn are two very different things. The qualifications listed on a resume may be very basic by some employers’ standards but what it really shows is the person’s ability to learn and persevere; not their ability to actually perform the tasks listed in a job description. On the other hand, you may hire someone that has an impressive resume but isn’t adaptable. For example, one may hire someone with a Certificate in Business Administration to perform the tasks of an Administrative Assistant (seems reasonable right?), but while on the job you may very well get a response like “Well that’s not how I was taught to do it” Or “That’s not how I did it at my old job”. If comments like these are not followed by recommendations for improvement; just like that you have a problem on your hands.

Question #3 – How can we serve each other?

When we hire someone, we are by and large looking for the ways in which that person can help us build our dream. But what about the ways we can add value to that person’s life? Adding value to another person’s life, is perhaps the most valuable thing we can do while on this earth. If I get the impression from the interview that a person would not be able to benefit or learn from me, then I probably would not hire that person. So I looked for weaknesses and pondered on whether my life’s experiences can assist that person turn those weaknesses into strengths. I remember having bosses who did that for me. Superiors that would tell me “Ceronne you’re gifted but you worry too much” or “Ceronne communicate with more of an intention to understand than to be understood” or “Ceronne document document document!” I learned valuable lessons from my amazing superiors as well as the bad ones.

So in conclusion, qualifications are not the be all and end all of the recruitment game. Look for heart, look for substance, look for growth!

Stay tuned for more!

Ceronne Bayley LLB MBA is the Lead Corporate Governance Consultant of her own consulting firm, Ceronne Bayley’s Consulting Services. She is a Corporate Secretary by profession and has fifteen years’ experience working with and advising Boards of Directors of State Enterprises as well as profit and non-profit companies in the private sector.

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information contained herein are for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information in this article without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. Use of, and access to this article do not create any professional relationship between the reader and Ceronne Bayley’s Consulting Services.

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