Searching for a continuous learner

I remember when Google had announced supporting its staff to study a day in a month. It was something we all wanted to pursue in our organizations. Think about how much we would increase our knowledge level! Yeah. It didn’t go that well.

That excellent idea shrunk to a few hours deal after the first meeting with upper management, and within a few months, no one in the organization used even those few hours. So, what happened? I don’t know, but I have an educated guess at least about things that didn’t happen.

What we didn’t do

First of all, you should make learning a part of your core DNA, and that’s not a chance you can pull overnight. Your core values represent the best traits in your people and what they bring every day. These values reflect what you collectively care most about as an organization. If you want to create a culture that prioritizes ongoing learning and growth, you should make it a core value and only hire people who are passionate about learning. And make sure we increase the perceived value of learning within the organization.

Identifying the learner-type

Hiring. Have you ever been in an interview with a candidate who says they don’t want to learn steadily? I haven’t. Growth potential is an essential quality in an employee, and a willingness to learn demonstrates that capability.

I’m not a professional recruiter, so there will most likely be a lot of other ways to find these things, but here’s some that I have tested and found useful.

When and why did you learn a new skill?

Measuring how well or even what you have learned in training can be subjective. Telling how you jumped for a stretch assignment and achieved excellent results by pushing yourself to learn a new skill or strategy might be a perfect way to demonstrate learning ability.

All volunteer work is not just tree hugging

In my recent post, I was writing about how talents should bee is seen within the organization as well as coming from outside. Ambition is not a bad thing, even if here in Finland, you can be labeled as a self-centered jerk because of it 🙂 Volunteer work is not always only about saving the world. It could also be learning something new.

Let’s take, for example, Advisory board memberships, which in many cases are considered the position of responsibility, not employment contracts. I was honored to be asked as an advisor, and my primary motivation was to learn how to see the company holistically. In other words, learn to think like CEO

What can you tell me about industry trends and the major changing elements

The Tech scene is in constant change. How would you know if the candidate is up to the task and up to the constant change? I got a hint (thanks hubby) of finding out an internally motivated tech-savvy person: If you’re meeting a candidate who tells he’s on top of new things, you could give a person a task to learn something in an hour or two and then explain what they’ve learned to you. You can ask what’s the learning tactic they’re using and how they planned what they knew.

How has your lifelong learning benefited your previous employers?

Numbers don’t lie, and you should job seekers should quantify their results when possible. Is there a way to measure how a person has helped the bottom line in the past, along with any ideas they’ve brought to the table that enabled them to do this.

A hint for the candidate: Try to show physical examples of how you are continuing your education, whether that be a personal blog, certification, or related webinar. 

Can you think of more suitable ways to try to find out how eager someone really is to learn new things?

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