Cultivating Talent (and blessings in disguise)

I promise not to do too many football related posts (for the record I’m completely convinced I can recruit in the world of football too-maybe one day)! This one will just have a tiny reference to a somewhat first hand story, for picture painting purposes of course. My husband and I were leaving the movies tonight and frantically checking all of the football scores that we missed and the conversation led to someone I know that is now playing in the NFL. Way cool right (we can overlook the fact that he plays for the one team that I absolutely hate); anyway he never played football when we were in high school. He showed up for practice one day in jr high or something and never came back in order to focus on basketball. That wasn’t a bad choice considering basketball ended up paying for his college, but some error on the university’s part landed him a football scholarship when his basketball one ran out in order for him to finish his degree. From here he was picked up by an NFL team and landed a spot on their practice squad followed up the next year with a spot on the active roster of another team. Now we can occasionally see him on Sundays in the role of offensive tackle-how did this happen? Obviously he’s quite the athlete;  you don’t earn 1/2 million dollars with a short bit of experience unless you’re working hard! In fact he is making more money than their starting running back. 2 things happened in this scenario: 1) he took advantage of an opportunity and 2) someone cultivated his talent! This wouldn’t have been possible without someones flub at his university (thus the blessings in disguise reference), but it sure wouldn’t have gone this far without some dedication and drive. My point is these days we have geared our recruiting to also focus on a cultural fit combined with skill fit & sometimes we hit a gold mine with a cultural fit that is trainable to becoming a skill fit. I much prefer to train on skill as opposed to find a skilled person that I have to reprogram. When you find that person that is trainable you have to cultivate their existing talents into your useful talents and if they are driven then you’ve found your NFL rookie worth paying 1/2 million dollars to. Of course all of this is relevant to your organizations vision and long term goals so I fully acknowledge that this plan of action isn’t for everyone. I am simply pointing out that you shouldn’t discount a candidates abilities based on their current skill set, but consider where that current skill set could lead them and how far it could take your organization.

Author: Kristina H. Minyard, SHRM-CP, PHR

My goal is to challenge the way we view, measure, and utilize HR and recruiting in a positive and encouraging way. I love working in HR and value the network of HR professionals that I also call friends. I'm always learning from my fellow HR pros and find comfort in their expertise. I'm an active member of my local SHRM chapter (NASHRM) and a total HR enthusiast! My HR related knowledge is a mix of recruiting, retaining, engaging and just plain helping people discover their passion. I'm a follower of Christ, Wife, Mom, Corporate Recruiter, Blogger, problem solver, runner, Sports FANATIC & Razorback surviving amongst the [crimson] tide! You can find me on twitter & Instagram: @HRecruit Snapchat: kminny32 Google+: LinkedIn: Thoughts here (and on all my social media channels) are mine and do not represent the thoughts/beliefs of my employer. Why would I name my blog HR Pockets? Read about it in my first post years ago!!

4 thoughts on “Cultivating Talent (and blessings in disguise)”

  1. I’d say we look for about 25% skill, 75% culture fit when we are interviewing people. It’s worked out well for us for the most part, and we have brought in many smart, talented people who ended up performing beyond our wildest expectations. When you hit the culture fit just right, there’s no telling what can happen!

    1. We have very specific core values, and we have tried to fine tune our hiring around them. We ask questions that get down to the nitty gritty and show us if the person really will fit in with what we believe. A few of them:
      -Deliver on time every time
      -Honesty and integrity through open communications
      -Develops innovative solutions to exceed customer expectations

      If someone looks like a great functional fit, but they aren’t giving us good signals on the culture front, we will cut them loose. We’ve chosen a slightly less experienced person who was a better culture fit at least half a dozen times in the past year, and we have been so pleased with the results.

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