Hire the Person, Not the Resume

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So imagine you’ve been trying to buy an apartment for some time now. Every day you surf the net and go through the brochures of hundreds of projects, glossy eyed, marvelling at the whole lot of luxury you can be lapping up pretty soon if their claims and the pictures are something to go by. But the excitement doesn’t quite translate to the much-coveted pool-view balcony when you end up visiting most of this projects. What seemed like the next best thing to a Hilton suite on paper, more often seem like Sharma Ji’s lodge with Sukh Sagar-isque view. As nice as it may be on its own, not quite what was promised.
This is not quite an isolated trend limited to only buying something. It has a bigger picture which encompasses the modern trend of hiring executives as well. Hire the Person, not the resume.

An impressive resume is not the only criteria you should use to hire an employee. A resume is just a document stating the skill sets of the person. How good are they at translating the things taught into the things learnt, depend on the candidates themselves.  Although a great resume will point to a candidate with the right technical skills and experience, it would be equivalent of a hiring harakiri (ritual suicide by disembowelment practiced by the Japanese samurai or formerly decreed by a court in lieu of the death penalty) to limit your judgement till the resume. When the market itself is dynamic, you should choose a person who dares to be different, someone with a fresh perspective. Hiring the right person is the first step to building a high-performance team.  The most common mistake made by HRs is going through a buff resume and assuming that technical skills of the person they’re interviewing is good enough to land them the job. Experience and training should qualify a person enough to get them to the door, not necessarily to their own cubicle.

Think about this,  if a degree was everything, people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would not have achieved all that they did. You don’t want a grouch that others in the company can’t stand, working as an executive, now would you? Having someone with amazing technical expertise but zero team spirit is not something to settle for. Someone who resists every possible change, demands special attention and speaks negatively about the management and other team members, is not really worth the trouble. Remember folks, a resume can hold the skills of a person as an individual performer, but being an executive is a whole different ball game – It’s a team game. Case in point, God..errr…Sachin Tendulkar. Arguably the best there is at what he did but never translated that to his captaincy because he could not find the appetite to gel with and understand his team’s strengths and weaknesses.  If their pride on their own skills only dampens the whole working environment, you should know that you’ve got the bad egg.

Everyone wants the most impeccable employee to be part of their organization, but even if you can’t get someone with outstanding technical skills, it’s okay if they have a good attitude. If you come across an interviewee who has good work ethic, drive, initiative, ability to work with others, and other “soft” or difficult to measure skills, it’s a great person to fill in the position. Additional training to polish technical skills can be done easily. As long as they don’t act like a narcissistic one-man army, you’re sorted.

Every “good on paper” candidate may not necessarily be the right man for the job. Find the right talent, hire them and place them in a position you think they’ll thrive in. Use unconventional means to sort and screen your possible candidates. Go through their Social Media profile and try to gauge their interests and activities. Last but not the least, hire someone you yourself would like to work for. This is a very important quality people tend to easily overlook. Yes, every person is different. But if you like working with this person you wish to hire, others in the organization will too.

Here’s what Regina Hartley, a human resources director for UPS Information Services has to say about this.