Some of My Best Hires

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Some of my best hires didn’t have the right qualifications:

  • An operations assistant working his way through college who had only done retail sales and waited tables.

  • A fresh graduate working as a cashier at Target while seeking a marketing position.

I could go on.

Did I take a risk hiring these candidates? Absolutely. Could it have backfired? Definitely. And in some cases, taking a risk on a square peg hasn’t worked.

You can’t win all the time.

Yet when square pegs succeed, I’ve gotten the best, most dedicated, passionate, driven teammates. Sure, I’ve needed to train them more than people who better fit my job posting parameters. But motivated people work hard to bridge their gaps.

After all: I’ve hired people with perfect credentials and found duds. Maybe the roles didn't excite them enough, because they felt they’d done them before. Maybe they’d grown complacent over years in the same industry or with the same focus.

Are you a square peg?

I’ve written about the importance of letting companies know you really want to work with them and I’ve given a few tips for job seekers. Want a job for which you don’t quite fit the mold? You’ll find these pieces of advice even more important.

When hiring, I look for enthusiasm about the work. Interest in my company. Excitement about an opportunity. And, sometimes, these qualities outstrip a resume line item in importance.

Hiring has no sure bets.