(article originally published August 10, 2010)
When I’m hiring someone for my team one of the key things I consider is:
How HUNGRY are they for the opportunity?
Most business owners are looking for experience – they want to know if someone has done something before, how successful they were at it, etc. This is certainly an important consideration in hiring people imo, BUT it might not be quite as important as you think.
When it comes to adding someone to my team, I am a huge fan of looking at how “hungry” someone is for the opportunity. How excited are they about the opportunity? What do they love about my business and what we do? Can I feel their energy and enthusiasm? Are they chomping at the bit to work with me and my team?
I would much rather have someone who is oozing enthusiasm on my team than someone who doesn’t have much enthusiasm but knows how to do stuff.
It’s their enthusiasm that will drive the work – if someone has a lot of experience but they aren’t excited about the work they are doing, it will show (and can actually cause big problems). Someone with enthusiasm is willing to learn on the fly, figure things out as needed in order to get the job done. They are willing to go the extra mile and want to have fun in the process. They are also the ones who tend to stick around the longest, because you’ve given them an opportunity to learn and there is a loyalty that comes alongside that.
Now the thing is, quite often the people who are “hungriest” for the opportunity aren’t always the ones with the most experience. (That’s actually true in many cases.) So what to do? How do you know if you should hire the person with more experience vs. the person who is “hungrier” and more excited?
If you hire someone with less experience, that might require some more attention and patience from your end as the business owner – there may be additional training involved, and it could take a bit longer for some things to get done in the learning stage. Depending on what you are hiring for and how quickly you need them to be able to engage, this could be a consideration.
There are a few things to look for to make sure that you don’t hire someone who is excited but might sink instead of swim:
- What kind of training (or certification) do they have? Have they invested their own time, money and energy in learning new skills? This can be a good indication of how serious they are about the work they want to do and what they are willing to invest to bring it to life.
- What kind of support system do they have for themselves? Are they part of a community of peers or do they work with a mentor that they can turn to when they do have questions? As I always say, as virtual support professionals we don’t need to know everything… we just need to know where we can find the answers.
- What kind of business structure do they have? Have they set themselves up as a professional business? If they have invested in getting themselves incorporated, registered or whatever is necessary to set up an “official” business (which can vary by location) this is an indication that they are dedicated to their business and in it for real (vs. just giving it a try).
Curious for your thoughts? Would you rather hire someone with experience or enthusiasm? When have you done either one (and how has it worked or not)?