I can dig an awesome ditch. I have the skills, ability, and knowledge to dig a mighty awesome hole if I do say so myself. I’ve got mad shoveling skills thanks to my beloved Marine Corps.
Foxhole (or “fighting hole”) anyone?
But I have absolutely zero desire to dig even the smallest of ditches anymore. No ditch digging passion. This work is now for the young.
And sorry Pops. (My dad spent his career in the construction industry.)
This distinction is critical in the hiring process. “Can do” is much different than “wants to” and we must make sure we find employees that not only can do the job, but who want to do the job. When recruiting, we often find candidates who have all the skills, education, training, and experience we could hope for.
Blue tights, red cape, big “S” on their chest.
But then we fail to dig deep on their desire (or want) to do the job. In fact, many companies like to “over-hire,” which refers to the practice of hiring people who are capable of doing much more than the current role requires. On the surface this sounds like a great idea because we hire people with the capacity to take on more work and grow into bigger roles. Yet this focus on the future sometimes causes us to overlook the job that needs to be done now and whether or not our great candidate wants to do that work on the road to “the future.”
In the end, we should focus on hiring those that not only can do the job, but who really want to do the job. In fact, I’d argue that wants to is more important than can do.
Can do = related to skills and can be taught.
Wants to = the passion and fire in the belly to be remarkable. And you either have that or you don’t.