It seems not too long ago when I was hiring for my company, I would simply search for candidates with experience—someone who had already on-boarded the specific skills necessary to do the job I wanted done. Someone who had a consistent resume demonstrating a linear path leading from their college years rather directly, and without interruption, to the position that I wanted to fill.
Traditional resumes…do the job. How constraining and intellectually convergent is that thinking now? How irrelevant is that in today’s business environment? To today’s work force? The thing is, that has been the standard from industry to industry. Unfortunately, some continue this process (process is an unfashionable word in modern business) today.
Then came the digital revolution across the business landscape. The arrival of the millennials. Wholesale changes. Now arriving, the Gen-Zs. Purposeful, opportunity-attracting disrupters. While the hyper-competitive business world might seem turned upside down to some, it is actually right-sided. It is the fast-paced, agile, AI-catalyzed, simply purposeful, sustainable, consumer-enlightened, data underpinned, problem solving and solutions oriented world of small, insightful entrepreneurial and large corporate businesses. Businesses that are either already are or that are going to eventually be run by a new species of leader, homo disruptiens
The business world is evolving at a speed never experienced and current leaders are being called upon to keep up and maintain pace, learn and listen or become extinct long before their time. No need to go into evolutionary history here as metaphor. Just as with the science of genetics, natural selection will methodically occur over time till we are naturally and purposefully displaced. We are hiring our successors—right now. If not our successors, our successors’ successors. As we should be. Leadership evolution. As it happened for us.
So, how should leaders today hire for this new, feverishly fluid business environment? We should hire for talent before experience. Unique, exciting, moldable brilliance before the comfortable candidate. We should hire people, millennials, Zs, who have had some life experiences that are often reflected in a resume that is somewhat choppy, dislinear, but mirrors a stunningly bright, maybe impatient, open-minded, generally conscientious, and somewhat extroverted candidate.
If we hire for talent, we gain teachable DNA. Open personality. Intellectual spark. Someone who might devour the job, not just ‘get the job done’. Someone with leadership affinity—not just a 9 to 5 employee. Someone with entrepreneurial tendency, not a legacy, yes sir employee.
Because we already have the experienced personnel across all levels in our companies, we can mentor or choose mentors for that newly hired talent. We can spend the time to expose them to the often hard-gained knowledge we have amassed over our years in our industries and create a hybrid—someone with all the positive DNA-expressed attributes needed to exist—actually, to excel in the newly evolving and almost instantaneously changing business world.
Someone who can be agile and intellectually aligned with the pace, the tone, the new success demands, who can intuitively sense and solve for the unknowns and who are, within this collaborative mentorship model, exposed to the personal and professional experiences they cannot yet have grown in to but can absorb from their more seasoned, more experienced mentors. Along the way, we mentors can learn from those who are mentored if we simply listen and take note of who they really are, how they think, want to work, to perform and purposefully lead. We will learn from them as they learn from us. We will learn how to mold our businesses for the future.
I have referred to this as ‘reciprocal mentorship’. The relevance of this concept is even greater today than it was when I instituted it at my company. Because we should now ‘hire for talent’ as we steer our companies to their naturally evolving futures, current leaders need to share the experiences they have digested along their linear career paths to help the next generations of workers, the next species of leaders, who often arrive by dislinear circumstance, be the successes they must become. Our role is to identify, select and guide the new talent. And, to do this with ample time to groom those who will succeed us over time. Welcome Homo disruptiens.
Read more: The Talent Drain That Companies Need To Stop