All hiring managers want to hire the best candidates for their open positions. Yet many job postings list general job requirements and years of experience needed. There is a supply of candidates who may be “qualified” under these generalized criteria, but there is also a pool of talented candidates being overlooked. Because of the heavy reliance on traditional job posting formats and interview questions, managers sometimes experience blurred vision and miss out on top talent.
After following Lou Adler’s “Why Experience is Overrated and Performance Isn’t” blog recently on LinkedIn, I attended his webcast. He asked two thought provoking questions: If we promote based on performance, why do we hire based on experience? Would you rather hire someone with skills or someone who can deliver results?
While it is important to have a foundation of skills, managers can discover the real magic by exploring motivation and achievement. Think about how we screen recent college graduates for their first permanent job. Industry internships and 4.0 GPAs are impressive, but consider the student who has a 3.0 GPA, worked part-time in a non-industry position and played varsity sports. This screams commitment, hard work and dedication. However, the traditional evaluation process would move this candidate’s resume to the “no” pile based on GPA and lack of appropriate experience. With a slight screening lens adjustment, the eager, hungry and bright individual will immediately become visible.
Consider using new techniques to identify these achievers. Ask candidates to describe an actual challenge you are facing and engage the candidate in conversation. Or, inquire about their proudest accomplishment. Seek to understand their ability to perform vs. their experience on paper. Is there a call-to-action you can include in your job posting that requires candidates to show their attention to detail when submitting applications? Provide specific instructions such as “Include your name and position you are applying for in the email subject line”, “Why do you want to work here” or “What is your favorite mobile app”. This will provide upfront screening filters and point you to a select group of promising candidates to interview.
Is your hiring process impaired due to screening blinders? Do you have any creative tips for hiring managers to help them more effectively evaluate candidates?