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Feb 01
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10 Things to Know About Hiring a Jack-of-All-Trades

A popular saying goes: “jack of all trades, master of none.” This idiom, however, gives a somewhat negative spin on these multifaceted individuals. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that these talented people are actually very in demand right now in the market, especially for various remote staffing solutions. After all, the complete (and yet oftentimes forgotten) saying goes: “Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”

Jacks-of-All-Trades are generalists that can also be considered a “master of all.” They are creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and flexible professionals who will definitely be perfect as virtual assistants or for any role you need.

Having many passions predisposes these individuals to be more proactive in their work. Therefore, being a generalist or a “jack-of-all-trades” is not a bad thing, especially when it comes to businesses. Business owners will always have the need for specialists, but in this day and age, clients also tend to go for candidates who can perform multiple tasks at a time, and yet deliver great results.

Take a look at the following benefits of hiring jacks-of-all-trades:

Advantages

1. They can do just about everything.

woman in white with multiple arms holding an alarm clock, a water bottle, a laptop, a file folder, a tablet, and a phone

Generalists have more than just one area of interest. They love to learn, hone their skills, and try their hand at new tasks. Therefore, they are perfect as virtual assistants who are expected to do a variety of tasks. Moreover, they are ideal innovators and problems solvers who offer so much to the table due to the breadth of their knowledge and experience. For small and growing businesses, hiring a jack-of-all-trades means having long-term strategists who can help you make decisions by providing you with fresh and unique perspectives. 

2. They are passionate about learning.

a woman taking notes while watching something on her laptop

Contrary to popular belief, jacks-of-all trades do not jump from one interest to another. These people are dabblers, but they don’t just take up a hobby and lose interest for no reason at all. It’s simply because they think it’s no longer challenging or they have already achieved their goals for that hobby. In a workplace setting, jacks-of-all trades are more responsive and passionate about work because they are eager to learn new things, so they will volunteer to do tasks and accept challenges. Their ability to jump from one work to another helps them get more urgent tasks done, which in turn helps the business grow faster. 

3. They are a great fit for leadership roles.

hand pointing to human-shaped wooden block

Jacks-of-All-Trades make for great leaders because they are more likely to learn and understand every aspect of your business within a short period of time than specialists. They are also more likely to see the bigger picture as they are not highly specialised in one field. This means that they can learn how each department works and be able to see how these departments function as a whole. If you hire a jack-of-all-trades for your business, you can easily invest in this person and groom him/her to become the head of a department or the operations manager.    

4. They help small businesses save for future investments.

hands holding a sapling with coins for soil

Since startups and small businesses have limited funds, they can count on staff with multiple skill sets. Instead of hiring multiple people for different tasks, you can save by hiring a single person who can efficiently get all the necessary tasks completed. You can use your savings for bigger investments such as technology, marketing, and even training for your current team. 

5. They are better problem solvers.

a hand connecting rectangular pieces of wood together

Jacks-of-All-Trades have knowledge on a wide range of issues and have a better view of the intricate connections among them. Hence, they are able to think of the best solutions. They can navigate through uncertainty, visualise scenarios, predict possible outcomes, and decide using their out-of-the-box thinking. Your business can surely benefit from unique ideas and well-thought-out solutions.

As the saying goes, “There are two sides to every coin,” and hiring a jack-of-all-trades has its downsides, too. Here are some of them:  

Disadvantages

1. They lack depth.

iceberg on the left and a woman looking at a document on the right

One of the most common criticisms against jacks-of-all-trades is that they lack depth. Think of the movie Titanic. The generalist crew member who noticed the iceberg did not have an in-depth understanding of icebergs. He overlooked the fact that 90% of an iceberg is found underwater. So, if you want to hire a PHP developer, it only makes sense to hire a PHP specialist. A generalist, in this case, could possibly overlook vital information about the job and more complex tasks as he/she does not have a deeper understanding of the field.   

2. It might be hard for them to focus on one task.

woman in white looking at her screen intently

Being a jack-of-all-trades by nature can make it very hard to focus on the task at hand. These individuals might easily get distracted by new and more challenging tasks while still working on their current one. Therefore, employers and managers of jacks-of-all-trades would need to set specific goals and timelines to keep them on track.  Otherwise, they could get carried away, working on multiple tasks at once and completely overlooking the set time frame. 

3. There might be learning limits in one field.

human head models facing each other

A learning limit means that no matter how much we try to learn something, we will never learn more than what we can, considering our available time and ability to focus in learning. Jacks-of-All-Trades experience learning limits because they are preoccupied with multiple tasks, and naturally, working on these tasks take up most of their time. It is often hard for jacks-of-all-trades to recognise and stay within their limits because they want to try doing everything themselves, so employers and managers will have to do these for them.

4. They get easily exhausted.

a male employee napping with his head on his laptop's keyboard

Being interested in doing everything takes stamina, and jacks-of-all-trades experience this all the time. Moreover, they may also easily feel burnt out, especially when they don’t get breaks in between tasks. As a result, you can expect them to call in sick more often than usual. As their employer or manager, you can help monitor their workload by providing clear work timelines and expectations for each of them. This way jacks-of-all-trades can better prioritise tasks and incorporate breathing time in their schedule. 

5. They are harder to retain compared to specialists.

a group of people by the exit door but is held up by a string

Specialists are rare, so they are often offered higher pay than generalists. This poses a risk to business owners who hire generalists. If you pay generalists less, they will remain open to other opportunities that can provide their asking salary. In addition, their multiple skills and knowledge on a wide range of subjects can land them a job anywhere in the world and in any company. If you find keeper jacks-of-all-trades, make your offer hard to resist. Show them why they should keep working with you and for your business.  

The character traits of jacks-of-all-trades are only as good as their ability to truly deliver. Also, while it might be great to have a jack-of-all-trades on board, a team must still be able to operate like a well-oiled machine. Hence, there should be a good balance between generalists and specialists in your team. This is something that you can definitely achieve by hiring a Filipino remote worker and by partnering with the right recruitment agency like Remote Staff. 

Remote Staff provides talented Filipino remote professionals who can be a valuable member of your team. Whether you are looking for generalists or specialists, you will surely find a great fit from our pool of Filipino remote talent. If you are interested, we can start a conversation about your staffing needs. Simply schedule a callback or call us now.

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