THE ULTIMATE BLOG ON ALL THINGS HR
& THEN SOME
& THEN SOME
Too qualified? Not qualified enough? Not the right fit? What does this all mean?
Have you ever been told an open position would not be challenging because of your skill level, education, years of experience? My question is how do they know? Based on a piece of paper (resumé)? Assumptions are never healthy. Neither is discarding applicants without considering a brief conversation may be warranted.
In my career, I have reviewed innumerable resumés and applications for a wide variety of positions—from CEO to Housekeeper to Lab Director. The hiring process from an HR standpoint can be tedious and deceptive. One thing I have learned: Never judge a candidate based solely on their cv or application. What is “cv” you ask? It is Latin for curriculum vitae, the European (and high-falutin’ American) way of saying resumé.
The reason for not judging based on curriculum vitae alone is it tells you nothing about their personality, communication skills, punctuality, and critical-thinking skills. Granted, there are times you can review an application and know instantly the person is not qualified. For example, I have received applications for a high-level position and the candidate’s experience consisted of fast food jobs. Nope. Not qualified.
There may be additional hoops through which a candidate may have to jump, such as behavioral assessments. Be warned! If an assessment is not truly measuring functions related to the job, what is its purpose? For managerial positions, being able to relate is imperative. But how can this be measured by expecting a candidate to answer repeated questions such as, “I am comfortable around strangers” or “I get along with everyone at work” on a scale of Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree?
Think of the entire selection process as making an authentic bouillabaisse. There are multiple layers of ingredients, from the broth to the saffron to the varieties of fish. If there is a misstep on any of these, the hard-to-spell French fish stew likely won’t be tasty. It takes passion and commitment to its origins. Consider this counsel from Scott Carbonara, author of Manager’s Guide to Employee Engagement, “A prospect who comes to you with a positive mental attitude and willingness to learn is more apt to remain engaged than an employee who is simply about the skills or job description.”
So if the candidate has passion, personality, and persistence, they deserve a chance. In my own experience as a job seeker, I have begun to wonder if an employer is looking for the perfect candidate. I am here to tell you THERE IS NO PERFECT CANDIDATE. Nobody checks off all the boxes. As a job seeker, what am I missing? I am intelligent, I use big words, I possess critical thinking skills, I have passion, and I can create killer marketing materials. My undergrad degree is in English, hence my love of words and linguistics. I am able to put together an educated sentence. Shocking, I know.
Then again, is my communication too formal? Not formal enough? Am I too short? Too tall? Too white? Too female? Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Then there is personality. How personable should you be as a candidate? What I mean is how much of your true self should you show? For example, my personality is quirky, I have a sarcastic sense of humor, and I like to have Smurfs on my desk. But is this what I should lead with during an interview? Is this what employers want to know? Conversely, would employers even appreciate this?
I am beginning to believe the answer is yes. Employers are people, too. At the basic level, I think they are looking for someone who is just as human as they are. However, there will be cut and dry companies all about business business business, such as the banking industry. If this is up your alley and you thrive best in a highly-structured setting, you will definitely fit. But if you’re like me and you crave creativity and connectedness on authentic levels, progressive organizations are the route to go. Either way, don’t settle.
One thing I do know: As a job seeker, I will not apologize for who I am. I know I am a continual work in progress—I would never pretend to be perfect. I have a kind soul, a commitment to help others, and an inextinguishable desire to learn. I am smart, funny, and loyal to a fault. My sense of responsibility would never allow me to not follow through on even the smallest of things.
So if you are the internal recruiter or perhaps the representative of an external recruiting firm, mutual respect goes a long way. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Communicate timely with candidates—keep the flow of information both ways. Is it time consuming? Yes. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely. But when an individual has put time, effort, and hope into their candidacy, the last thing they expect is to be left hanging. Not only is this a bad experience for the candidate, it can put a bad taste in his or her mouth for your organization. Like having barbecue sauce in a bowl of bouillabaisse.
Carbonara, S. (2013). Manager’s guide to employee engagement. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Creator: That makes me sound all powerful. I suppose I am in many ways. Hi! My name's Amy and I've been practicing HR for twelve years now. No big deal. I am here to offer fresh perspective on HR topics and topics about the world we live in and life in general.