Ah, good old Dwight Schrute. He’s one of my favorite characters of all time, and I would very carefully and cautiously say that “The Office” was one of the best shows of all time as well (No need to offend Seinfeld lovers, or Friends lovers… etc. etc.) The thing that was amazing about Dwight was that even though he was crazy about how he went about accomplishing things, he still managed to be successful as a sales person in that office. He drove everyone completely batty! Yet every month it seemed that he was on top of the world with sales.

So the question I post today is:

How can someone who seems to be the worst candidate, in actuality be one of the best employees?

In health care, there is a huge amount of attention paid to schooling and degrees, and that is for obvious reasons. If you are going to be helping me get better, I would like it if you knew what you were talking about! But is that truly the case for a caregiver? Does a caregiver need special skills to be considered “top notch”? Do they need to have a CNA License, or is someone without one possibly better? Why would that be?

When you break it down, let’s compare two options that you would most likely have when hiring a caregiver for your company:

1. CNA, been in the business for 15 years, a lot of experience in nursing homes, seems responsible but not overly friendly. Leaves quickly after the interview is over. A very good candidate on paper.
2. No license and no degree. Has not been in the health care industry at all, but is very interested in developing a career. Has been working in retail and wants a change, and loves helping people. Tells stories about how much he/she cared for their grandparents, and on their way out, you see them stop to talk to one of the residents with dementia, and they don’t actually leave the building for about 5 minutes after the interview ended because they were talking to a resident.

I know plenty of companies who require someone to be a CNA to get hired. Maybe that works for them. I don’t operate that way. In fact, some of my best employees had absolutely no experience when they came to me. We’ve developed them from the ground up to be amazing at their jobs, follow our processes, and then once they realize that they really do love this, we help them get their CNA license (and sometimes more).

See, the way that I look at it is… I can teach anyone how to pass meds. I can teach anyone how to transfer a resident from bed to wheelchair. I can teach anyone how to assist with bathing. Those are all skills that can be learned in almost every situation, but almost every person who walks in our door.

WHAT I CANNOT TEACH IS COMPASSION! You either have it, or you don’t. So me… I would take a compassionate and friendly person with no experience over someone who has many years of experience but not a friendly personality. Show me compassion, or I’ll show them the door. It’s a pretty simple rule, but one I follow every step of the way through our hiring process.

So while someone may look and act like Dwight Schrute (Ok… not to THAT extreme – but you get the picture)… just because they don’t have those particular skills, licenses, degrees, etc. that everyone seems to be looking for, don’t overlook them. Give them a shot!