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Think Outside the Resume for Your Next Hire

Think Outside the Resume for Your Next Hire
By Mark Swartz
Canadian Workplace Specialist

Job requisitions: they’re at the heart of your recruiting efforts. You try your best to match the listed needs to resumes and referred candidates that come your way.

 
But what if an applicant shows promise in ways that don’t quite conform to the mould – should you dismiss them without a closer look, or does it pay to see what they might have to offer?
 
Square Pegs That Fit Round Holes
 
Here’s a case in point. You post an ad on Monster.ca for an Account Executive. What you’re really looking for is someone hungry and energetic, who can close sales and keep customers happy; someone you don’t have to handhold or watch over (you’re busy with your own stuff, right?)
 
Over 200 resumes arrive from various sources for this posting. At least 10 of them match the criteria 90% or more. Most of these top contenders possess a proven track record in closing sales.
 
But one of the resumes that doesn’t quite qualify stands out anyway. It’s from a young woman named Daniela. So far she’d done mainly Customer Service work. No clear sales history. But she’s traveled solo internationally. Has a green belt in Karate. Is a member of several community-oriented clubs. And has done volunteer work with the homeless.
 
Reading Between The Lines
 
What catches your eye? For one thing, this is clearly someone who can take care of herself. Daniela’s solo travel overseas tells you she has drive and independence – just like a good salesperson requires. She probably isn’t afraid to assert herself what with that Karate training.
 
Then there’s this caring side of her. Someone who’s volunteered to help the homeless probably has empathy for others. And don’t you want your Account Executives to patiently develop trusted relationships, being seen as an interested partner in your customers’ business success, instead of shoving products down your clients’ throats for quick gain?
 
Anyway it sure would be nice to hire someone with a nice disposition, who can interact agreeably with everyone here. Maybe she could even be a bit of an inspiration to the others youngsters we’ve hired lately.
 
Building On The Hard Skills
 
It’s not like Daniela’s fresh out of school, needing months of intensive training. Because she’s worked full-time in Customer Service, she knows how to deal with all kinds of people. Her training or actual experience would have included such sales-related factors as…
·         customer-focused communication skills
·         overcoming objections
·         dealing with difficult customers
·         selling the benefits of a given solution
·         reaching agreeable compromises in which all parties are reasonably satisfied
·         thinking on your feet
·         patience!
 
 With all of this under Daniela’s belt already (remember, it’s a “green” belt!), how hard will it be to educate her on the ins and outs of making a sale?
 
Until you bring her in for a once over, you’ll never know.
 
Risks Of Interviewing The Less-Than-Fully Qualified
 
You could be wasting your time bringing in someone who doesn’t fit the bill exactly. Maybe they’ll turn out to need much more training than you’re willing to provide. Or they’d applied on a whim, hoping for any interview at all, not necessarily one with you.
 
If you do hire them, you may be going out on a limb yourself. What happens if they don’t work out? Surely you’ll get blamed for not following the hiring instructions. Mind you a solid rationale can be built to defend your choices. But get burned by stepping out of the box too often and it’s your own reputation you’ll have to repair.
 
Benefits of Interviewing The Less-Than-Fully Qualified
 
Everyone loves stories about gems in the rough. Find one, polish it, and when it shines like a diamond you too bask in the glow.
 
What a great way to boost your image as an astute recruiter. Not merely an order-taker, you’ve got what it takes to pick the best from the bunch.
 
Even if the non-traditional candidate you’ve interviewed isn’t a fit, at least you’ve satisfied your curiosity. Also you grow by stretching your bounds. Taking in new information and learning how to better assess applicants – particularly those who aren’t standard fare – sharpens your intuition.
 
Resumes, by their design, can miss many nuances. It’s hard to tell someone’s real personality, creativity, loyalty, perseverance or helpfulness from a piece of paper. Bringing in only those applicants who meet the job requirements may ultimately give you satisfactory results. For the extraordinary, inviting in out-of-the-ordinary prospects as well might lead to spectacular results.