Fear of the unknown can be a limiting factor or it can be stimulation for growth. Risk is inherent with any enterprise (we all know about the risk/reward ratio and the opportunity/cost matrix). Venturing into the unknown, or less-well defined, can instigate growth and advancement and taking a shot into the dark, into the unknown, can bring unimagined rewards.

Risk taking is part of recruiting and hiring practices, both for the employer and the applicant. In addition to specific educational requirements and qualifications, employers need to evaluate and assess soft qualifications such as attitudes, values and characteristics of candidates. It can be challenging to quantify such behavioral attributes. Conversely, applicants need to be open to applying their interests and skills to new fields and opportunities, beyond highly structured fields of study and job descriptions.

Especially in technology fields, opportunities are growing, evolving and changing regularly. It’s important for applicants to keep in mind that we may not have a job description today for a key opportunity that arises next year. We need qualified, trained and prepared team members on-board and ready to be a star in that yet-unnamed job.

Recruiting is an energizing exercise. Events such as college career fairs bring bright ambitious individuals embarking on their professional careers. However, many individuals comment that they are encouraged from early in their college years to closely define their aspirations, to identify prospective employers who offer well-defined positions in those areas, and pursue that synergy with dogged determination.

One piece of advice I distribute freely: be available for opportunities that may not yet be defined. Don’t hedge yourself in so closely that you are only qualified for or interested in a limited range of career opportunities. More than 50 percent of our positions at IQMS are customer-facing, so we hire across a wide variety of candidates in order to best mirror our customers’ experiences. We apply our trained professionals’ skills to areas from accounting to scheduling, warehousing to IT, quality and data services. A degreed engineer at IQMS with an Automation Specialist job title may be working in a development team and interacting with another engineer at a customer’s facility, working through requirements for in-line sequencing for optimal manufacturing management.

During the course of IQMS’ extensive product training program, we often see interest and skills merge. For example, “attention to detail” can apply in quality assurance roles. The ubiquitous “troubleshooting” skill can evolve into database optimization. Strong language skills combined with technical aptitude are a great fit for documentation and reporting. And underlying all of these opportunities is an interest in technology, the ability to work as a team and the desire to find the right answer.

Another strong qualifying criteria is the ability to apply current knowledge or interest with new information to a possibly non-specific situation. This is a frequent occurrence. Given the comprehensive and complex nature of our ERP and MES software solution, distributed across thousands of operations worldwide, we can’t always anticipate our customers’ real-life scenarios. It takes a creative and intelligent mind to translate our customers’ varied concerns into applied solutions. This aptitude is closely related to our Implementation and Application Specialist positions. These individuals are assigned to specific customer accounts and are relied upon to apply their knowledge, skills and experience to unique customer scenarios.

Finally, successful careers in two of our most challenging and rewarding areas, sales and development, can evolve from almost mystical combinations of natural talent and developed skills. As we ask of our applicants to be creative in the application of their skills and interests, so must our hiring teams evaluate both proven performance and potential. The rewards are great and our successful employee experiences prove it out!

To all our candidates: Can you imagine what kind of career awaits you at IQMS? Be ready, get set and go for the next opportunity!