As I sat in the car this morning and watched with pride my 11 year old daughter walking through the school gates dressed in much understated blue striped pyjamas, it got me thinking of the last few weeks and how we got to this point for her choice of pyjamas for world book day!  On 1st look, blue striped pyjamas seem quite uninspired , however, the processes in which she made this decision highlighted that the skills that children naturally demonstrate are very relevant to today’s recruitment market, and these are the skills that we need to nurture and develop to ensure that when the time comes they are ready and able to participate, not only in the work place, but also to wow recruiters in believing that they are the right candidate for the job!

world book day and recruitment

So I take you back a few weeks, it was the 100th anniversary of the Holocaust, it was on the TV news, newspapers and most social media sites made references.  This was the initial spark of interest for my daughter, the news reels on the TV sparked her imagination, she had a deep rooted desire to lean more!  She spoke her Grandparents and myself about how those children must have felt, she wanted to be empathetic and learn how this happened and how they dealt with these awful atrocities.  She asked me what books she could read to find out more, and I suggested she read ‘the boy in the striped pyjamas’ which although is fiction, it will give her a good feel for how it must have been.  She immediately went onto her tablet, found the book on Amazon and begged me to buy it for her – who am I to refuse such enthusiasm and passion for learning and development and of course I parted with my well earned money to buy it for her.  Every day, she waited tentatively for the book to arrive, the excitement and enthusiasm building, she really wanted to read this book!  Finally it arrived!  She immediately retreated to her room and completed the book within 2 days spending every spare moment of time absorbing the words, learning about past times and thoroughly enjoying the experience.  She even put the Xbox on hold and her mobile phone was ignored!  Once she had read the book, we had a conversation about it, she showed real empathy and understanding for the characters, she wanted to learn more, ‘can we go to the imperial war museum mum, I want to learn more about the holocaust’.  When world Book day came it was an easy decision for her, of course it would be the boy in the striped pyjamas, but the way she negotiated and sold the idea to me again made me think that these are very relevant skills to the recruitment market!

She knew that she needed me to part yet again with my well-earned cash, so she embarked on a negotiation process of firstly appealing to the fact that it would be cheap and easy (great I thought! That’s all I need to know!).  However, she didn’t leave it there, she explained why it was historically relevant right now, how she would have the opportunity to talk to teachers about what she had learnt from the book and how she wanted her world book day costume to mean something not just to be fun (Yes I agree all quite mature for an 11 year old, believe me she is not a perfect child, what child is!) but this meant a lot to her and she wanted to ‘seal the deal’ by appealing to all my senses not just financial ones!

Finally the day came to tweak her outfit, she was adamant that it needed to look authentic, so went back to book the check the number she needed on the outfit, what the Star of David looked like and where it would need to be placed, she worked with pride, meticulously attending to the detail.   She crafted these simple items with care, precision and patience as she wanted it to be just right, even down to the type of footwear she chose – it needed complete authenticity!  She wanted my opinion on every aspect of her creation, and asked me for help when she needed it.

Ok, this may seem like an over indulgent mother harping on about how great her child is, but there is serious message to both recruiters and candidates alike.

Recruiters, Hiring managers and HR professionals not only look for previous skills and experience, they may have 2 or 3 candidates with the same background and skills, what sets good candidates apart from bad I feel I have highlighted from a child’s natural ability

  1. Enthusiasm, passion and a real interest in both the role and company is number 1
  2. The ability to articulate that passion
  3. Show a desire to learn and develop new skills and experiences
  4. Empathy and understanding of others both in the work place and externally from the workplace
  5. The ability to articulate your desires and needs in the workplace, negotiate solutions and provide evidence as to why it’s the best solution
  6. Attention to detail, a real desire to do things right and ask for support when needed
  7. Creative, inspirational and inspiring!

Children are the candidates of the future!  We all have role to play in nurturing these skills, parents, grandparents, extended families and friends!  We all know a child in which we can identify and support their future recruitment prospects.  Additionally, we can learn that we should never forget that your skills and experience will get you the interview, but in order to seal the deal we need to demonstrate the softer skills identified above!

Oh and in case you were wondering, I did have to tidy up the mess after her creativity – hhmmmm still some work to be done there!