Are We Killing Potential?

I recently spoke at Keiser University-Fort Lauderdale campus on “Understanding Soft Skills” and “How to Sell Your Soft Skills.” The university provided PowerPoint slides that they recommended I teach from, which I did.  However, I also incorporated real world scenarios and feedback that I hear from hiring managers as to why candidates are not getting the job.

The students at Keiser were a bit apprehensive at first.  No one wanted to answer questions or volunteer to role play. As the lecture went on there many things on the PowerPoint slide I didn’t agree with. One slide highlighted the old theory of “do not discuss salary.” I openly expressed to the students why I disagreed with this antiquated taboo, and why I always discuss salary up front with any candidate that I am interviewing.

Discussing salary becomes a matter of respecting the candidate’s time. At the root of it people work to get PAID, bottom line.  I could see every eye and ear perk up once I made my statement. I then disagreed with another slide point about patiently waiting for more than 30 minutes for hiring managers to conduct interview. Again, it becomes a matter of respecting the candidates time. I explained to the class that their time is just as valuable and that the interviewing process is a two way street. Candidates should also be interviewing potential employer!

Hire Me

As the lecture went on the students were far more willing to ask questions and participate in role plays. One great question a student asked was “how do I gain medical industry experience if employers won’t give me a chance?” I recommended volunteering at medical centers or a hospital.

She then made a face as though she’s heard that before. Her rebuttal was “why should I just volunteer if I paid for an education and have all required certifications?” I was proud of her for pushing back. All I could tell her was good point.

Later on that night I thought about all the obstacles candidates are faced with in today’s market. I contemplated more on why that young lady couldn’t find employment after doing all the necessary steps.  New grads are energetic and the most un-obligated, but yet they have the most obstacles to entering the workforce.  I can’t help but wonder, as a society are we killing their potential?

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