Yesterday, I had a great call with the CEO of a newly minted Praxis hiring company. The kind of conversation that gets me particularly fired up about what we do here at Praxis. Like Steve Ballmer level of fired up.
When I have a call with a potential hiring company I can usually tell within one to two minutes whether they are going to be a great fit for our apprentices and it always comes down to how they approach the development of young talent. They either get it or they don’t. They either have a Praxis-like view of talent development or they are stuck following outdated HR and recruiting practices that were designed for a different time.
The less exciting hiring managers and talent recruiters I speak with are usually looking for someone to check boxes from their bullet point list of requirements on the job descriptions (1-2 years in a B2B sales role, experience with our exact CRM, COLLEGE DEGREE, strong attention to detail). It’s a lazy way to identify talent and prevents companies from building their teams with people who bring different perspectives and skills to the table.
Here’s what great founders, executives, and hiring managers care about when it comes to entry-level talent.
Strong interest/passion for their company
First and foremost, they want to know that you’re excited to work where they work. This is extra true of owners and CEOs if they’re the ones hiring you. They love to work on their business and nothing is more exciting for them than to find other true believers who also love to work hard.
There are some companies out there that are easy to get behind their mission and product, but for most you have to dig deeper than just the homepage of their website to understand why joining their company is more exciting than just the paycheck you’ll receive.
Ability to learn quickly
The best hiring managers take a long term view on talent. They’re less concerned with can you do the job at full capacity today and more interested in finding out if you have the raw skills plus the potential to develop into an A+ player over time.
They see their entry-level positions as the primary feeder for more essential individual contributor roles and their leadership team. But you have to prove you have what it takes to be given a shot. The #1 indicator you are this type of hire is to start doing the job before you get the job. Take initiative in the hiring process and put together value props and don’t just answer their direct questions during interview, but turn said interview into a strategic session on how to perform in the role you’re applying for and ask questions that someone who is in the role day-to-day would be thinking about.
This is the most crucial trait and least coachable. You absolutely need to have above average personal judgment in order to thrive in an intensive, growing startup or small business environment early in your career. You’re not bringing a ton of hard skills to the table yet (and again the best talent recruiters won’t care as much about this), so you can’t be causing additional work for your supervisors and colleagues by creating problems unnecessarily.
90% of success in an entry-level role comes down to good decision making. It’s about how to handle a disgruntled customer, what sales leads would be best to spend your time on, when to ask for help. You don’t need to be a rockstar, but you do need to pay attention and learn how to handle certain types of situations that come up with customers and your team internally.
The ones who exhibit strong judgment are the ones the company will invest in the most.
Think you’ve got what it takes to crush a startup apprenticeship? Schedule a call with one of our staff members to learn about Praxis today!