Staffing agencies have typically been tasked with procuring talent for more traditional industries, such as labour and health care. As expected, the result is that we are generally more comfortable with traditional hiring practices; evaluating the candidates’ education and credentials, their work history, their appearance and character references and so on.
Although, as the economic landscape rapidly changes, we are beginning to see many new, non-traditional industries enter our domain. Especially industries that are “creative” rather than mere services. For instance, in the next few years, we are expecting to see a boom in client seeking talent for roles such as programmers, designers, content creators and similar. Therein lies our problem: traditional hiring practices are usually not the best when it comes to non-traditional jobs and industries.
This means, that we should begin to re-evaluate the fundamentals of talent procurement when it comes to these sectors.
Let us take a look at some historical common sense practices, that are becoming less common and with very little sense.
Do not count out the job hopper
We have always been very leery of the job hopper. Especially those who have hopped between multiple industries. How can we really count on them when they seem to flit from one interest to another with little stability?
In the past, that was indeed a valid concern. Although, in our new digital and creative economy, job hoppers might actually be exactly what we are looking for. An ability to work across a spectrum of industries and jobs might indicate a highly creative candidate with an aversion to mundane routines. In a short-term creative role, a candidate with a rich and varied job history might also be able to bring insights from a variety of fields together in a unique, coherent vision. Thereby, amplifying their creative productivity in the short run and bringing a fresh, new perspective to whatever project they are currently working on.
We know these candidates will not settle mediocrity and run-of-the-mill type work. Meaning they will demand the most life and invigoration from our projects. That is exactly what we might need.
Forget the old credential evaluation
It might be a hard habit to break, but we are going to need to pay far less attention to their educational history.
In truth, some of the best creative workers, may they be programmers or graphic designers, learned their trade either on their own or through a non-traditional route. In this regard, what university they attended (if they even attended one at all) or what degree they attained has very little relevance.
Instead, we are going to need to evaluate them based on their past work and their portfolios. This is the only thing that truly matters. What they have accomplished in their field and what they are capable of accomplishing for our clients.
We are quickly entering an age where the quality of their work speaks for itself and certificates and diplomas say absolutely nothing. So be weary of dismissing an applicant due to something as irrelevant as no university education.
Do not place too much emphasis on appearance
Of course, if they come in to the interview drunk or disheveled, it is a reason for concern. However, we also should not expect them to show up wearing the suits and ties of yesteryear anymore, either. These are creative candidates after all, and we should expect them to be a bit eccentric. Quite often, the more eccentric they are, the better they are at their job.
Look at Steve Jobs, for instance. Jeans, a turtleneck and no belt. Imagine if you passed up on him at an interview in his youth on that account.
So instead of placing too much emphasis on a triviality such as attire, again, let us place our focus where it really counts; their portfolio. It might be the digital equivalent of an Armani suit in itself!