When Hiring, Think about the “Bring vs. Learn Concept”

When Hiring, Think about the “Bring vs. Learn Concept”

In my last blog postHiring staff who bring the right skills and experience, I talked about how job simulations are great for employees and employers. Simulations are great for employers and hiring managers because they allow them to gain insights about how a potential employee may perform in the job. They’re also great for job applicants because they allow them to show their worth in a powerful way even if they are humble and understated during an interview.

When I work with employers as an HR Consultant, I like to ask them what they’d like their next employee to “bring” into the job and also what things the right employee can “learn” on the job. I call this the “Bring vs. Learn Concept.

bring versus learn - some knowledge is essentialMany jobs, especially “high stakes” jobs, require that you bring specific knowledge with you to work from day one. For instance, nobody wants their dentist to be learning how to fix teeth on the job, they need certain skills and knowledge from the start.

There are, however, countless roles were much learning can be done while on the job – as long as the person doing the on-the-job learning is the right person. Some retail/sales jobs can be done well by someone who has the right interpersonal skills or personality once they’ve learned about the products and services provided by the company that has hired them.

The takeaway here is that, when hiring, it’s worth thinking about what can be learned on the job and what an employee needs to possess from day one (i.e., bring with them when they start the job). This single concept can help you focus on the right things when interviewing and comparing job applicants. This is one of my strengths; I’ve done this type of work for various types of positions.

In future blog posts, I’ll discuss a related topic: hiring staff who have the right soft skills. In that article, you’ll see why it’s important to hire people who bring the right soft skills with them since it’s not easy to learn soft skills.


I invite you to contact me by phoneemail, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn if you’d like me to help you decide on what your next hire needs to bring to the job. I can develop interview questions and/or simulations to determine which job applicants have the essentials from day one and are capable of learning the rest after they start.


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