Recruit People, Not Paper

Employer hiring and giving an handshake to the candidate after the job interview hands close up top view

You may recall the iconic Dragnet detective, Sgt. Joe Friday, who asked for “just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.”

That’s as much as a resume delivers: a reasonable indication of a person’s skills and experience. A well-written resume will even give you an appreciation for how consistently the candidate has converted their potential to actual achievements in the marketplace. A well-written resume can demonstrate the quality of someone’s writing ability. What they choose to include can suggest whether or not they are results-oriented.

A resume is not enough to understand a person’s talents!

Resumes are a record of what they have done to date with their talents. To understand someone’s talents, you must go beyond the paper and get to know the person. It’s typical for companies to hire the wrong person because they were enamored of their paper and didn’t effectively evaluate their talents. Just as many companies fail to hire the best candidate because they were only screening resumes for particular skills and experiences and not even looking for talents.

It’s ALL about the quality of the talent you hire.

The focus on paper instead of people in many recruiting situations is understandable. It is much easier and safer to evaluate credentials than it is to evaluate people. In our business, a great set of credentials would be an M.B.A. from a top business school and foundational training at Procter & Gamble, General Mills, or another top-tier consumer packaged goods company with a strong reputation for hiring and training high-potential candidates.

The underlying presumption is that an individual with those credentials is a strong hire who will quickly contribute to the company. It is probably a valid presumption, at least statistically. Certainly, it is the safe play: if the new employee doesn’t work out, how can you fault me for choosing premier credentials? The hire should have been good!

However, what if that person were an underachiever in business school or a poor performer at a top company? The reality of his talent may differ dramatically from your perception of how talented and qualified he should be based upon his paper.

People make decisions with both their heads and their hearts; with both thoughts and feelings, logic and emotions, facts and dreams. People join your organization to be part of your team. If your recruiting process treats people as a commodity, or as credentials, and doesn’t engage who they are, you are less likely to see their real talents, and they are less likely to see your company as a place where they want to work.

At O’Connell Group, we use our experience in evaluating talent and keep their focus on recruiting people, not paper. Doing so throughout the entire recruiting process yields significantly better results. Contact us to learn about the tools and techniques we use to evaluate talent.