TIP TUESDAY: 3 Keys to Spotting Corporate Talent in Nontraditional Candidates

By Isaiah Hankel, Founder & CEO, Cheeky Scientist for HR Daily Advisor online

Locating corporate talent in nontraditional candidates might require some new hiring practices, but it’s worth it to tap into a pool of qualified, bright candidates who are being overlooked. Here are the best ways to find those new additions:

Rethink Your Qualifiers

Most job recruiters or hiring managers start in the weeds when they run a narrow search, focusing on a preferred location or a specific job title or set of keywords. However, more candidates than ever are looking for jobs. In 2018 alone, American universities awarded more than 55,000 PhDs. The talent is out there. But without the right qualifiers, these candidates are invisible.

Look for Speed of Learning Over Industry Experience

Instead of narrowing your qualifiers by searching for specific industry experience, look for candidates with the ability to learn quickly. A candidate who can pick up skills and techniques with ease is one who will quickly fit in with your team. Moreover, a lack of industry experience translates to a greater sense of flexibility when it comes to approaching tasks.

For example, a PhD is literally a doctor of philosophy ”someone trained in the process of gathering and producing knowledge. A PhD might not have years of industry experience, but he or she does have highly transferable skills, such as analyzing, researching, and problem solving. Most importantly, his or her years of mastering analysis and solution-finding have given him or her experience in the most valuable skill of all: the ability to learn any new skill on the job quickly.

Consider Career Development

Candidates who are highly trained in the ins and outs of the job search process are valuable contributions to your team. They know their own skill set, and they can clearly articulate what they bring to the table.

More than that, when an employee knows what skills make him or her a valuable employee, he or she can use those skills to carve out a unique space on your team in the projects he or she takes on. In turn, your company can invest in those projects, showing him or her that you value his or her contributions. It’s all a recipe for an employee who will stay on with your company for the long term.

Rethinking your qualifiers and focusing instead on candidates who learn quickly and understand career development will pay off. You’ll speed up the job search, find better candidates, and create a capable team in the process.

Isaiah Hankel, founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist, helps people with PhDs transition into meaningful, high-paying industry careers. He is also a STEM PhD and internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant.