Q: It seems to me that employers are incredibly picky and selective when hiring new employees. No company seems willing to train anymore. No company has the patience for a new employee to learn a skill. Do you agree? Or is this just my personal experience?
A: For the most part, I agree with you. I think quite a few larger companies have the resources and headcount to train for skills. Larger organizations often have a formalized training and development function which can train a new employee in a specific skill. Or the training and development function may be able to quickly locate an external vendor who is able to provide more highly specialized training in a required skill. However, training costs money and most companies would prefer to hire new employees who already have the required skills for a role.
In general, smaller companies don't have an internal training and development function. They often have more limited budgets and thus are most selective regarding required skills. Much of their training is a bit more casual and would be considered "on the job" training.
Most roles within US workplaces have greater technical demands that they did even 15-20 years ago. A corporate recruiter is a good example. In the 80s, candidates mailed (via US postal service) resumes and a recruiter's inbox would have a pile of resumes, cover letters and even letters of reference in their inbox on the corner of their desk. Now, most resumes are received via email or via an online employment application system. It is rare to receive a hard copy of a resume today. Resume tracking systems and Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) now require some technical proficiency so the recruiter can effectively find candidates in the system. Larger organizations will often have an HRIS expert in-house who can train new employees while smaller organizations may not have the resources in-house to train employees. Of course, with either a large or small company, a candidate having this knowledge may have an advantage because it is likely a required skill. Some may argue that it is a skill which can be learned but many companies, large and small, have a sense of urgency and want a new hire to "hit the ground running" as soon as possible.
Many candidates have taken a proactive approach to working with these selective employers. When possible, candidates will often train themselves prior to applying for highly technical jobs, either through a seminar or a certificate program.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
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