A recent report on Food Navigator magazine bemoaned about the lack of talent in the food industry. ‘Millennials aren’t really interested taking up jobs in the food industry’, it said. While some of the blame can be attributed to the fact that these Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry isn’t perceived interesting when compared to technology or investment banking, there are several others reasons for the perceived talent shortage. One of the reasons could be the fact that employers are now looking for ‘perfect candidates’- the Superman employee who is very bright, very smart, and ticks all the right boxes.
The perfect employee is more likely to be a myth because of the following reasons:
Talent is important, but so is training:
Years ago, CPG companies hired people right out of school. They spent time and money training employees in learning the tricks of the trade. Trainees interested in food industry careers essentially started as sales rep, moved on to manage teams, and graduated rising up the career ladder. The experience they’ve gained in the process is invaluable and often pales in comparison to the best talent. Now, with sales and other aspects being consolidated, companies aren’t really interested in training out of college graduates or working with educational institutions to develop the right candidates.
Interview answers aren’t always the best way to measure talent:
Even the most emotionally competent interviewer is prone to be influenced by outward appearances- they do misjudge talent. Your seemingly perfect candidate may be talented, but does she share attributes of the top performers in her group? Will he or she fit into your work environment? Answers to these questions are important.
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