Thursday, April 22, 2021

The evolution of the HeadhunterDad

When this series of articles first began, back in 2010, I wrote an introduction titled "After You Teach Them How to Fish, You Must Teach Them How to Get a Job as a Fisherman" to explain a bit about why I started writing in the first place. Back then I was thinking of providing skills to my kids that would prove useful to their careers, like typing maybe or perhaps getting them started on programming at an early age. I made it clear that I was learning as I go having only been a parent for a short 9 years at the time. 

As I wrote and learned as a parent, educator, and recruiter, my thinking evolved and shifted towards softer skills and how to help our kids acquire them. The following is an updated introduction to the theme of the HeadhunterDad.

These articles focus on what we as parents can do for our kids to help prepare them for the future of work. The goal (at least the first goal) is the help raise a young adult who is able to identify something that interests them and then position them to get that job when they graduate from college. It emphasizes an early start rather than waiting for our kids to reach college. It is silly to talk to your 5-year-old daughter about the differences between interviewing for the job of economic analyst at a major bank vs CPA at a big 4 accounting firm. However, the reality is that much of what employers look for in those interviews is learned by our kids well before they choose a major and often in elementary school or earlier! 

When interviewing a new graduate, employers are often going with the presumption that these fresh young kids know nothing at all of any real value. The accounting students still need to pass the CPA, the marketing majors may be fetching coffee and making copies for the first 6 months and even computer science majors have been working within the academic bubble (with a few expectations). So if these companies are not looking for hard skills, what are they looking for? 

Seeing through the eyes of my students as they apply for jobs each semester and dealing with hiring managers on a daily basis, I would say that 90% of hiring decisions involving new college graduates are based on:

  • Confidence
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Grit (perseverance)
  • Communication Skills
  • Maturity
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Curiosity
  • Honesty

... just to name a few. I don't know about you but I cannot remember any classes with these titles in college. It is possible, that much of what these employers are evaluating in our kids is learned in the first 6 to 12 years of life when we parents had the responsibility of instilling the right attitude and lessons. Scary, right? You knew you were responsible but never realized how extensive that responsibility was. We really might be to blame for all our kid's failings as adults!

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