If I Were Running A Company…Knowing Talent

Meg Wolitzer wrote a column about success and talent and how people confuse the two and summarizes this way:

“…talent in its pure, beautiful form can be overlooked or misunderstood. Meanwhile, success – which by nature is bottomless, fathomless, and therefore keeps even successful people constantly on the hunt for it – keeps getting the attention.”

Meg mentions the internet culture and the 24-hour news cycle as causation we mix up success and talent.

Relating this to recruiting, I’m going to make a statement that will stun my fellow recruiters and I have believe this in a long time: I don’t believe in the six second rule of resumes. Why recruiters promote the six second rule is they want you to put keywords and qualifications in your resume to make your resume “pop.” It works for our short attention spans, but not great knowing the person in the long run.

When I tell people to forward me their resume, I will read the whole resume because I want to know their story for the position. Do not get me wrong, I look for skills, history, companies, and behavior (outside the resume), but it’s their story that will put in the “qualified” box for me. In my mind, keywords and quick summaries gets your attention; but your body of work will tell if you’re good for the organization on paper. Even then, it does not completely tell the person.

This is why interviews exist. Interviews are supposed to tell what is the person’s process and if it makes sense for their business. Asking them about their results doesn’t mean anything because results are random and it could happen to anyone. The process goes in-depth their work ethic and thinking behind the result. It also tells for the person’s credentials if they were a decoy, a contributor, or the main person behind the qualification. Again, it does not completely tell the person.

I will repeat this again until I die: recruiting is a crapshoot. You can use all the science, ATS, and big data in the world to quantify the person’s credentials, but the human element is the most unpredictable part of recruiting. You really don’t know how the person will react until the person steps first in your office. This is why I don’t mind group interviews or a tour of the office because it gives the person a sense what they should expect if they come everyday.

Meg Wolitzer’s column on talent tells there’s a lot of noise because we assume talent equals success. Looking for successful people is easy because we can see it. It is hard to see talent because we take anything on face value. I might be in the minority, but I enjoy discovering talent because I have to read their whole story and imagine if the person can really fit in. While people are finding gold, I will be looking for diamonds.

 

 

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