Impossibly Impossible


Walt Disney makes the impossible possible.

There is no one in the world that stated it better than Walt Disney.

“All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

I’ll be heading down to the sunshine state for a professional conference about human resources (HR) and leadership. When I think about some of the most successful people I know, I think about Walt Disney’s quote. These people pursued their dreams even when everyone around them told them they would be impossible.

So, what does this have to do with my HR conference? Well, everything, really. Think new wave recruitment, talent management and performance management.

According to CareerBuilders, 50% of employers have open positions they cannot fill because of their inability to find qualified candidates. Yet, they also reported that about 15 million people are still looking for work and cannot find a job. The definition of a “qualified candidate” has changed dramatically. Organizations are no longer just hiring for a skill set. They are looking for much more than that. They’re looking for things that are harder to quantify but that they believe make a significant difference in the way employees perform at work. They’re looking forqualities such as character, potential and leadership (not management experience but actual leadership abilities).

What does such a candidate look like? It’s the one with a can-do attitude. It’s the person who pursues their dreams rather than dreams about their dreams. It’s the employee who looks you in the eye, smiles and takes on the most challenging projects when everyone else in the room is looking down to avoid eye contact in hopes that you won’t assign them the project. It’s the professional who is not afraid to fail. It’s the leader who guides an entire team to victory when everyone expects defeat. It’s the candidate that will make the impossible possible.

Here’s where organizations go wrong: they often overlook the underdog – the one with not enough experience or the one who lacks the perfect education or the one who doesn’t have one of the fifty skills on the job description. However, sometimes, that person will do whatever it takes to make your organization shine even if that means that he/she has to work harder to prove worthy. He/she could be that amazing candidate that you’re giving up due to a lack of something you deemed important on your job posting. Then, what happens?Another organization snatches your candidate up and they make history together.

A great success story is Wynn Las Vegas where many of their employees were hired with no experience. According to their head of HR, Carrie Messina, they hire for heart because that is the part they cannot teach. While I am not suggesting that every industry and organization can successfully hire people with zero experience, I am challenging HR leaders to reconsider the stringent processes around hiring including making decisions solely based on the job posting or description. Ask yourself, “What am I missing out on by passing up on this candidate?”

Even when it seems impossible to hire someone who does not meet all of your requirements, it is actually very possible that you can be successful by doing so. If you’re brave enough to challenge the status quo, well, then many things become impossibly impossible.


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