It is, unfortunately, fairly common for job seekers to self-deselect themselves from positions because they are missing some of the skills listed in the job posting. In some situations, that noted skill may be a non-negotiable and no one will be considered without it. However, in most instances, the skill is not a deal-breaker to the Hiring Manager.
The labor market in today’s world is still really tight. This is easy to notice, due to the large number of “Help Wanted” signs that are posted everywhere. In a more “employer friendly” market, the Hiring Manager may hold out looking for certain skills, feeling pretty confident that soon this candidate will surface. That really can’t happen now, as employers go into a recruit knowing that they will most likely not obtain all the listed skills and will have to train for the rest.
Another factor in the changing of employer’s attitudes towards training is the growing trend to “hire for attitude.” Many more progressive companies have the mindset that they can train certain skills, but that there is little a company can do to adjust more inherent traits, such as accountability and work ethic. So, they hire people who they feel will best fit their culture and will train them later.
So, how does this impact a job seeker? It means that there rarely has been a better time to seek a position that will stretch your current skillset, or even lead you in the direction of a new career path. There are, however, some items to note if you are going to go in a different direction or seek an enhanced role in your career. Let’s examine some of these pertinent points.
- Will They Train? – Try to find out in advance how open the company is to train. In a perfect world, they will note this right in the job positing. You may, however, need to rely on some networking intelligence to find out what the approach will be to the recruit. You can also find out more once the interaction has started between you and the Recruiter and/or Hiring Manager. There are many factors for an employer to consider, such as whether they have a person to do the training, and how much time and money will it take to do so.
- Select the Right Level – You have the best opportunity to be trained for a role if you select an entry-level (or close to) position. A Hiring Manager may see it as too big of a leap if you are applying for a position outside of your current skillset that is multiple level upwards.
- Your Ability to Learn – You will want to sell, to the Hiring Manager, your ability and desire to learn new skills. They will want to hear that you have picked up new skills quickly before, and that you have a great attitude towards doing so. Be prepared to give examples of previous situations where you quickly learned something job-related.
- Strong Other Skills – Once again, you want to create a scenario where the Hiring Manager feels like they have to hire you and they are OK with training you on what you don’t currently know. Examine the other skills listed in the job posting and emphasize those areas at which you are particularly adept. Try to show how the skills you do have will be transferable and complement you in the desired position. You want to create a situation where the Hiring Manager is so excited about what you currently bring, that they minimize in their minds what you still have to learn.
- Desire to Stay at the Company – The prospective employer is going to want to feel like there will be a sufficient return on their training investment. This is not likely to occur in situations where the employee jumps quickly from one company to another. If you have a history of staying at least a few years, then stress this longevity and how the company will more than get their investment back in you.
In previous times, lacking an individual skill (or two) for a position was a sure way to end up in the rejected pile. However, times change and a person who can display the right attitude and high interest level can offset missing a skill and still be hired for the position. They can then receive the training needed in the position to learn the skill in order to close any gaps. So, don’t automatically exclude yourself from a position because not everything is a match. If you want the job, then apply and place yourself in a position to be trained.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein