We have all developed our own tricks for dealing with a stack of résumés. I’ve seen my share over the years, from the fanciful (Google-like screening questions along the lines of ‘How many golf balls would it take to fill Lake Ontario?’) to the absurd (one company owner who routinely picks up the top two-thirds of the stack and tosses them in the garbage – his rationale? ‘I don’t hire people who are unlucky’). Not a word of a lie.
Unfortunately, neither has much bearing on how successful anyone is likely to be in the job, or how long they are likely to stay, or how they will treat your customer when no-one’s looking.
The more conventional method I think we were all taught at some point early in our careers is to sort them into three stacks – the ‘A’ pile, the ‘B’ pile and the ‘C’ pile.
But first, you need a checklist of all the things that are critical to screen for – what are the minimum educational requirements? What kind of previous training, skills and work experience are important?
Then you start into the stack of résumés. Those that meet all the criteria go in the ‘A’ pile. Those that meet none litter the ‘C’ pile, and the maybe’s land in the middle pile for future reference in case the ‘A’s don’t pan out.
We’ve done it that way for a thousand years. Here’s the problem: the things contained in the résumé are rotten indicators of the standards and attitudes of the person behind the résumé… and it is precisely those standards and attitudes that are going to determine how the person’s going to fit and how well they are going to perform on the job.
I’ll guarantee you that if you look at the résumés of your brightest star and your biggest disappointment, they will both look the same on paper. You could not have predicted success or failure from their résumé. So why do we start there?
If you’re interested in finding out what it really takes to be successful in a particular job at your company, here’s a nifty little trick. Best part is, it’s free – and it’s information you can put to use right away.
Go to www.TalentSorter.com, sign up for the free trial, and load in a position at your company that you’re hiring for or that you’re interested in understanding better. The system will take you through a 10-minute position analysis, and you’ll be able to download a very detailed Ideal Candidate Report that will tell you exactly what traits and attitudes you should be screening for in that position. Even if you decide to go no further, the information in this one little report is invaluable.
Filtering for the traits that matter most to success – measuring what matters – will help you spend less time, with better people. And it’s a lot more reliable that counting golf balls or betting on luck.