Discussion: April 6, 2010 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter
A reader wants to know How to Say It:
One thing that really bugs me about the tech industry is this focus on Skills, as opposed to Ability to Get Said Skills. When I interview for management roles and I am asked about the types of people I hire, I always lead with a comment to the effect of, “I’ve never fired someone because they weren’t technically capable, but I’ve fired people because they weren’t capable of getting the necessary skills.”
I know that I’ve lost at least one opportunity because the interviewer strenuously disagreed with me on that point. (Not that I would want to work in a company that focused on skills as opposed to skills acquisition…) What’s a good way to explain my position? How should I say it?
This is a fine point in management. Do you hire someone who can do exactly this job now? Or someone who can quickly learn how to do this job and the work that comes next, as well?
Many managers are dopes. They’d rather hire someone who brings them a fish, than someone who knows how to catch more fish. (I cover this in more detail in Talent Shortage, or Poor Management?)
How do you explain the difference between having skills and being able to get skills in a job interview? How do you say it?