Someone, please help me with this…

Faced with the choice of two similarly-qualified, bright, eager new hires, he went with the one with no ambition.

Interviewed quite a few folks to narrow it down to these candidates, actually. Explained the choice like this:

“It took forever to find these guys. They’ve both got everything I want and need.

“One says he’d love the job forever, but he’s too damned good to stay for long. He knows every technical aspect of the job backwards and forwards, and says he loves being part of a team. He’s got to say that for the interview! He’ll learn as much as he can from us, wait out the economy, and go out on his own in 3 or 4 years.

“The other hates drumming up business. He knows all the same stuff and has been out on his own. He wants no part of managing, marketing, or directing, ever again.”

Well, the pain of driving sales is soon forgotten, so that’s no selling point to me. And the average tenure in one job for a U.S. worker between 25 and 34, as of January 2008? 2.7 years.* NOBODY’s going to be around forever, and certainly not this young staffer, no matter how he claims to want someone else to do all the dirty work.

Before I knew what the choice was, I said, “Wow! I’d jump on the ambitious one! Sure, they might know the same stuff, but he wants to know more—and you’ll get twice the work out of him while he’s around, if he’s as thirsty to learn as you say.”

I began today with the end, so you know how he answered me:

“You’re kidding, right? I want someone I can count on for the long haul. The second one starts in a week.”

No matter where you are on the totem pole, folks, even you janitors out there reading, your number one job is doing your part to create Maximum Customer Experience, and if you’re doing that right, then you’ll be drumming up business every day. So to all you business owners:

You want to grow your business!

Hire the ambitious one. He or she will drum up business for you now. Which is when you’re hiring. Now.

Don’t worry about him moving on in 3 or 4 years. Maybe he will. That would be longer than most 20-somethings stick around.

Maybe he’ll like working with you more than you think, and he’ll stay. You’re not so bad.

Would you hire Mr. Ambition? Or the guy who wants no part of making your business grow and thrive?

Does it have anything to do with who you are?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Tenure News Release