This post was not written to discount experts and specialists. We absolutely need those people in our workplaces. However, HR and hiring managers do not need to be afraid anymore of hiring the Jack or Jill of all trades. There has often been a fear that these people are not good candidates because they don’t have consistent years of experience in one area.We need employees w/ diverse knowledge sets who know a little bit about everything just as much as we need experts in each area.
Here are some great benefits of having a Jack or Jill of all trades on your team:
- They have curious minds. If they could, they would have majored in everything when they were in college. They probably switched majors and careers a few more times than your average person. It’s not because they don’t love what they do but because they always want to learn more. They often have random knowledge and skills that come in handy at the most unexpected times. For example, you may have someone on your Finance team who has awesome web designing skills that you don’t know what to do with until suddenly, your boss says that every department has to create and design their own intranet page.
- They know how to connect information. With their diverse knowledge set, they are great at connecting information. In other words, they can more quickly see the impact of one piece of information on another. They’re the ones who will think of and understand how your department’s initiatives will impact other departments. They help you and your teams work better together. They know how to avoid conflicting agendas, initiatives and goals.
- They know how to leverage relationships/connections. While they have dreams about majoring in everything, they likely did not have the chance to do so. They learned all of these different pieces of information from other people. They’ve built relationships with experts in several areas. When you don’t know who to contact for this or that, ask your Jack or Jill.
- They’re great problem-solvers. If your Jacks and Jills do not have the answer already, they will find it for you. In fact, they have a hard time turning down such an open invitation to research something or leverage their resources for new information. Take advantage of their desire to find answers.
- They’re flexible. Again, due to their curiosity, Jacks and Jills do not shy away from new challenges. When you have a new project or assignment that everyone else is afraid to take on for fear of failure, time constraints, etc., your Jacks and Jills will happily volunteer. They don’t mind being pulled in different directions. In fact, they’ll get bored if you have them doing the same mindless work over and over again.
So, don’t turn away a Jack or a Jill job candidate just because you’re afraid they don’t have the same experience as the rest of your team. The most successful teams are often the most diverse teams. Build a team of people who complement each other, not a team of all the same people.