Not all talented people are good resume writers.
Not all impactful leaders have had a seamless career journey.
Not all effective managers can clearly communicate their value on piece of paper.
Simply put, resumes can be misleading. They can lead you to believe someone is disqualified for a role when that is not true at all. Resumes are a great tool, but don’t assume they are telling the whole story. It takes an experienced eye to see the raw talent or transferable skills in a candidate who has a less-than-ideal resume.
Resumes and Recruiters
Resumes can be an excellent way to showcase the value you bring to an employer, but some resumes do a poor job of fully defining the person they are representing. A seasoned recruiter can see beyond the traits that, at first glance, don’t appear to add value. That doesn’t mean that red flags or gaps are ignored or absently excused. What it does mean is that a recruiter who is good at what they do, will not dismiss someone because their resume is not airtight.
When there are gaps in an otherwise promising resume, an experienced recruiter will take a closer look to find out the details behind the gaps. Sometimes those gap-fillers tell a story that makes the candidate even more qualified than someone without those gaps.
Knowing how to read a resume for more than the words printed on a page, is one of the reasons organizations should hire a recruiting firm. Like any skill, you get better and better at it when you are immersed in it. When you’ve read hundreds of resumes and interviewed hundreds of people, you get very skilled at reading between the lines.
Reading Beyond a Resume
This Ted Talk is a great example of reading beyond the resume. Regina Hartley, Vice President of Global Talent Management at UPS, very poignantly identifies candidates as Scrappers and Silver Spoons. One has had setbacks and challenges to get as far as they have. The other has had a smooth career journey. The 10-minute video highlights the underlying values the Scrapper has developed which could be a huge asset that the Silver Spoon does not possess.
As an executive search firm that has been in business for 47 years, we have numerous stories that align to this theory. Because of our experience we may present a candidate to a client who, at first glance, doesn’t appear to be a great fit. The candidate doesn’t check all the proverbial boxes the client has envisioned.
Why would we introduce a candidate who doesn’t fit the criterion our client has laid out? Because we are experts at spotting talent. We see strengths that may not be apparent by simply looking over a resume.
This can only happen because we spend a significant amount of time understanding our clients – their character, culture, chemistry, and competencies. Additionally, we spend a lot of time understanding and learning our candidates. During this thorough evaluation, if we see impressive talent in the candidate that is not obvious from the resume, we dig deeper.
When we meet someone who can help our client achieve their objectives, regardless of what their resume implies, it would be a disservice to both the candidate and client if we dismissed the candidate solely based on the first impression of the resume.
Humans are 3-Dimensional, and Resumes are Only 1-Dimensional
“Candidate potential is rarely captured in resume form,” says Centennial’s President, Marcus Gardner. “Resumes are a 1-dimensional view and we are evaluating a 3-dimentional human being. Part of our process is looking at the 3-dimensional role and filling it with a 3-dimentional person.” So much of the recruiting process includes human intuition and that can’t be accomplished if you rely heavily on AI scanning a resume. This is a big part of understanding the person beyond the resume.
Qualifications on a Resume Don’t Tell the Whole Story
Executive Vice President, Becky Scheeler, further comments “Our clients repeatedly tell us they value how we really listen to them. Before interviews start with candidates, we perform an extensive fact-finding process with our client which equips us with a very good understanding of the organization.”
“There have been times that a client has identified a specific qualification as a “must have” at the beginning of the search, yet as they move through our 4C Recruiting Process® they realize it isn’t a “must have” after all. Through the process, they see that the fit of character, chemistry, and culture is more important than a specific qualification that you find on a resume.”
To sum it up, trust a seasoned recruiter to see what isn’t on the resume. Not every great candidate has a bullet proof resume. You certainly don’t want to miss out on someone with the skills and passion that your organization needs.