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Nov 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

When Interviewing Potential Candidates, Change What You're Looking For

A few months ago, I read a New York Times article by Thomas Friedman titled "Need a Job? Invent It." In this article, Friedman refers to the book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner, a Harvard education specialist. In the book, Wagner makes reference to a few key points:

“Because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’”

In today’s Healthcare IT marketplace, organizations have many positions to fill for which they cannot find people who possess all of the specific knowledge needed to step into the position right away.

So, as a hiring manager or an organization as whole, once you’ve been unsuccessful in identifying a candidate with the specific knowledge you’re looking for, what’s your next step to fill your position? Bring in a contractor until you can find the right person? Have others on your team pick up the additional work in the meantime? Will you do the work of both positions? Will you let work go undone? All of these are options, but each of them will eventually present its own implications to the organization, your team, or you.

What if the person for whom you’re looking — the one who has the knowledge you deem necessary — truly doesn’t exist? The ideal person may be out there, but will they relocate to your area and do so within your required timeframe?

Here’s the reality: There are more positions open today than there are people with the knowledge and skills to fill them.

This means that there are organizations attempting to fill positions with a certain type of person in mind that will not be filled with that type of person. How much time will have to go by before you come to the conclusion that you will have to make adjustments? And when you do, how will you know how to adjust what you’re looking for?

When will your organization change its focus from knowledge to skills?

You may also like: The Important Question Many Mangers Fail To Ask

General, Hiring, Corporate Culture

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