Wake Up Recruiters! You’re Overlooking the Best and the Brightest!

man peeking through venetian blind
man peeking through venetian blind

by Janet Murphy

We’ve all heard the saying, “Cheaper is not always better”. That’s usually the standard line that you get from someone trying to sell you something. How about younger is not always better. In my opinion, there’s a misconception that hiring managers and recruiters have regarding entrepreneurs. It’s even more interesting that in many job descriptions posted by employers basically describing an entrepreneur or even goes as far as stating “entrepreneurial spirit” or “independent thinkers” but they hire twenty somethings right out of college. What does a recent college graduate know about an entrepreneurial mindset? If you have never started a business, how do you know about an entrepreneur mindset or what an entrepreneurial “spirit” entails? My experience with recruiters as they may lack the understanding how the additional skills developed from owning a business could play a vital role for their company.

In a forum that I was reading recently, it seems to be a widespread problem for ex-business owners who are trying to transition back into the corporate work environment. They’re being overlooked regardless of their past corporate work experience or their accomplishments as successful business owners. I have read that ex-entrepreneurs are not manageable; have trouble fitting into the team dynamics, and have trouble dealing with office politics or procedures. For those who have written these articles, they may be assuming that most business owners have never had employees, nor have experience dealing with the problems that arise from customers or employees. Most business owners don’t start out as entrepreneurs; they start out developing their skillset from the corporate business environment.

As a person who has been both financially successful as a business owner as well as climbed the corporate ladder to management positions, I can attest that most recruiters do not clearly understand the skills that it takes to start, build and manage a business. If they did, they would jump at the opportunity to hire more entrepreneurial minded candidates.

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One of the most difficult things to do in life is to start a business and not only make it profitable but earn enough income to feed your family as well as pay your employees. For those who have successfully done this for years, they have developed valuable skills that cannot be learned while sitting at an employee’s desk or recently graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree. As a business owner, you must learn valuable people skills, understand the needs and desires of customers and employees, learn to accept “no” more often than not and learn to deal with rejection with humility. In addition to these attributes, you must have the ability to earn two incomes, one to pay business expenses and another to pay for personal expenses.

Many books have been written on the traits that successful entrepreneurs share in common and they say that people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban and numerous other well-known wealthy people have these traits. So what are those traits? They are: clarity regarding life goals, understanding of what they seek to build, determination, and persistence and tenacity.

Perhaps I just don’t understand what companies are looking for these days but one thing for certain is if I could have found these traits in candidates when I was hiring, I may not be trying to transition back into the corporate world today. Today’s employers maybe missing out on hiring the next Bill Gates or Mark Cuban; it’s their money and their company’s profits that their gambling with, I’m just say ‘in.