When you see talent, grab it!

Don’t confuse training with talent.

A friend of mine was seeking to fill an entry-level position at a publishing company. One of the candidates had impressive credentials but lacked the specific training that the job description called for. Nonetheless, he gave her a chance to audition and she took to the task like a duck takes to water.

And yet her lack of the called-for training gave him pause. Rather than hiring her on the spot, he decided to call in the remaining candidates on his list and sleep on his decision. Most of the other candidates had the requisite training but lacked her natural knack.

The next day he made his decision: He would hire the candidate who had the obvious talent but lacked the training.

It was too late. She had taken a job with a rival company and went on to a stellar career. 

According to the Gallup organization, which has long studied talent as well as public opinion, talents “are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.” 

Of course, training can be helpful, but it’s the most effective when it’s built on a foundation of true talent. By the same token, all the training in the world will do little to move the needle for someone who doesn’t have a baseline of talent to begin with.

High hopes, hard work, and good intentions can only go so far. You can’t kiss a frog and expect that it will turn into a prince.