New Hires

Over the holidays, I called one of my brothers. He has a business and is also in school, on the weekends, working on a doctorate in business, and he has a family. I’m surprised he has time for casual phone chats.

Thinking about him pursuing his doctorate in business made me wonder “How relevant is business education these days?” Specifically, I’m curious just how important a certain degree from a certain place is to being hired in 2012.

The internet now facilitates the outsourcing of many jobs, even some white-collar jobs like answering routine medical and legal questions.

China’s low manufacturing costs seem to impact most businesses, not in a good way unless you enjoy a race to the bottom price-wise.

And computing just gets stronger and cheaper each year, allowing computers to tirelessly and more efficiently do more and more jobs.

Dan Pink published a book about this called “A Whole New Mind” and the ideas in his book are becoming more true, not less so, as we go into 2012.

Based on what the new business landscape looks like, a few ideas on the best person to hire these days become clearer to me: young generalists, who can write well, and are reliable.

Unless a job has very special needs, a young generalist has a more open mind and exposure to different information. And he’s probably easier to train in the specifics of a new job.

If someone isn’t reliable he’s not an asset. The trend now is that an employee needs to produce a result when he says he will, rather than just showing up when he says he will.

Hire the best writer. More than ever, it’s important to be able to tell a story well. Humans evolved transmitting information to each other through stories for tens of thousands of years. Until a last few hundred years, writing wasn’t widely available. A story resonates and has a better chance of getting traction than just information.

And, to paraphrase something Seth Godin said, if you have a good blog, you probably don’t need a resume anymore. You just need to deliver a cover letter and a link to your blog.