Are You Striking It Rich With Talent?

If not, it might be time to shake off the old assumptions.


Just in the last few months we have placed some star candidates. I’ve always prided myself on reading between the lines when it comes to resumes. But truth be told, a few recently placed people have had resumes that were hard for other recruiters and their clients to understand. This is mostly the due to many recruiters and leaders trying to match skill for skill without looking outside the box. People looking to hire always have criteria, and that criteria can draw a hard line around the position in question, to the point where candidates who don’t fit the language and the understood experience can easily be overlooked.

There are also some unspoken criteria that can get in the way of finding that true gem candidate. Here are some things to avoid or look out for when you’re sifting through hundreds of resumes for that right person.

A job history that jumps around. I’ve often heard it said that a job history that shows short stints with multiple companies is a red flag. If someone isn’t with a company for more than two years, and if their recent history shows 12 months here, 24 months there, and 19 months somewhere else, then many hiring leaders will take a pass. The way I look at it is there’s always a story behind the resume. So, it’s on you as the recruiter to find out why without just dismissing the candidate outright like they are broken. Often, there are excellent reasons for someone to go from job to job and not all of them are negative or a negative reflection on the candidate.

A job history that shows someone with a company for a long time. In contradiction to the above, some hiring leaders say that when they see someone in a corporate job for many years, with very little else of the same length on their resume, that this candidate is also broken, but in a different way. They might not like challenge, they might be complacent, they might be too comfortable. Just like the above, recruiters make assumptions that being somewhere a long time means you’re not motivated or experienced to do anything else.

An entrepreneurial history. If they are an entrepreneur, they must not get the corporate world and they will be hard to control or direct, they will be having 100 ideas a minute and won’t be able to execute on any of them. This is a common assumption that’s completely wrong. You need to remember that being a successful entrepreneur is much harder to do than simply taking a job. If you get an entrepreneurial resume come across your desk, count yourself lucky as they probably have a lot to offer. Don’t just bin it because you don’t see ‘corporate speak’ and a resume that includes the typical corporate job titles. Entrepreneurs are extremely hard working, diligent, and yes, full of ideas, because they have had to be in order to compete.

A history outside of the regular corporate resume. Many people coming from positions within government might have different job titles for the role you’re hiring into. It’s up to you to understand how the titles and roles fit the same ways, even if you aren’t given the same-same title designations. A Chief of Staff, as an example, is a highly qualified individual with tons of skills you won’t so easily find in the private sector. So, take that extra time to truly understand the semantic differences.

Military background. A lot of leaders love hiring women and men from the military, others don’t, or don’t see the benefits over and against a civilian resume. I personally like getting resumes from ex-military because it says to me this person is trained, trained to push themselves, trained to act as a member of a team, and taught leadership skills that are rare. Again, it might be that the mainly military resume your handed is hard to square with the corporate role you’re looking to fill, but this is your opportunity to see if the experience and the person fits the role at hand, and not the other way around.

As a company recruiting people into your organization, it’s critical to not only  try to fit candidates to the role as you’ve described it but to keep an open mind. You might be missing out on a whole lot of talent and potential if you don’t first look at the candidate, dig into what makes them special and different, and fit the person to the role instead of mapping the role on to the person. It’s this strategy that, I believe, has set ProFound Talent apart from other recruiters, which has helped us bring exceptional talent into our clients’ businesses. All it takes is to shake off the assumptions, being strategic and thoughtful, and looking at how you can help the company in truly strategic ways by taking a bit more time to understand the people you’re interviewing.

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