As hiring goes we all understand that trends come and go. Clients want more (or less) business knowledge this year compared to last, desire for specific technical skills wax and wane based on choices made at the highest levels of the organization & of course the dynamics of team fit & personality are always in the mix. However, what historically has been the most critical component to any interview were the core skills and abilities of candidates (depth and breadth of knowledge, process, intelligence, etc.).
Today this too has begun to change. Many companies are now focusing much more heavily on recruiting for (& hiring) specific tool sets and even more troubling is that it appears to be at the expense of the individual’s overall experience with little to no focus on the candidates ability (or willingness) to grow beyond their current skill set.
The argument can be made this is the trend because companies have fewer openings or are simply in a position to backfill jobs where certain required skills were lost, but I think it really has it’s roots in the .com bust of 2001 – 2002. Prior to that time companies hired lots of raw talent and had training departments and more importantly training budgets to bring their staff up to speed. However, once the downturn occurred those same companies blew up their training groups (and recruiting teams) and decided that when they needed specific skills they would simply commit to pay the higher price for more senior talent in lieu of training the talent.
This trend leaves two kinds of people out of the mix. Those who are recently out of school who just don’t have the years of experience with the tool that the market is demanding, and the senior talent who skills have drifted to just outside the marketable range. So make sure your knowledge of the market is thorough and that you know what talents you’ll need should you find yourself on the hunt for new position.