3 lessons for employers: learnt from a decade of results days
Every year on results day I witness the same conversations between parents and students – that heated discussion (/argument) surrounding ‘next steps’… ‘What shall I do next?’
This dichotomy for parents and students, whereby the future is unknown and the route is hanging at a cross-road, is a telling one.
Here’s 3 lessons I have learnt that are useful for employers:
1. This conversation very much includes parents. The seemingly adult decisions regarding what to do with grades, whether to pursue further education, which university to go to (if any) what sort of career to pursue, or otherwise, are all parentally guided. This reflects the broader landscape of heavy parental involvement, for younger generations, both through school and into their working lives. I have heard of ‘bring your parent to work days’ and have worked with companies who have considered parental newsletters. To be honest, whilst they sound slightly outrageous (!?), I actually think they carry a lot of value. Why? Simple. LOADS of millennials still live at home… with their parents…. This is who they come home to each day after work, and say ‘bye’ to each morning when they leave. They have a tremendous influence over them. Essentially, if the parents aren’t on board…. will this be a route that is pursued? Stuck with?
Bottom line: can you really retain a living at home millennial, if their parents don’t like what they do? No. So, include them in your strategy.
2. Every year there is an ongoing tension that I witness between what the student wants to do and what the parent has envisioned. Sometimes the students win in the ultimate decision-making, sometimes it’s the parents. My advice to you as an employer is, when you recruit, look for the ones that have made their own decisions according to what they want to do!!! Try to avoid those applicants that have been forged into a path that has been carved for them. Why? It’s simple, because if you are not passionate about what you are doing, if you have not chosen it and wanted it yourself, the chances are you will not perform as well as those that have done.
Bottom line: you will get the best results from those passionate ones that chose to do what your offering, not the ones that were forced into it.
3. Poor A-Level grades can often be a very capable student’s first experience of failure. Why? The very capable students often cruise through GCSEs, not working as hard as they are advised, and somehow pull the grades out of the bag. Year after year I witness these same students get their very first D, or E, or U. The tears, the commotion, the failure, the shame…. Why though? Because this student never learnt how to work. A-Levels are HARD work! They are significantly harder than GCSEs’ with A-Levels…. slow and steady wins the race. When this failure hits, this disappointment, students either crumble and lose self-belief, or they pick themselves up and keep on going…. Learning their lesson very well and learning to work harder! This demonstrates stamina, resilience and dedication, these are skills that are invaluable to any company. Therefore, don’t immediately reject the candidate that looks hugely promising, other than that one D…… look at the other years, the other grades, the journey after the D…. what happened next? Why? Because it is this that is most telling. It is not having failed that matters most, it is what one does after having failed…. Essentially it’s the ones that know how to pick themselves up that offer the most potential.
Bottom line: sometimes its better you recruit the ones that have already experienced failure, because at least they know how to pick themselves up.
After a decade of results days, I have learnt 3 lessons that are hugely valuable for employers: take parents seriously, seek the passionate ones and be open to prior failures – so long as it comes with resilience!