The next time you come across a resume that doesn’t quite knock your socks off, there’s a question you may want to ask yourself before digging deeper into the pile.
The question: If the “iffy” candidate’s degree had come from a higher-profile university, or their work experience had fewer gaps, would you then bring the person in for an interview?
If your answer is “yes,” Regina Hartley, vice president of HR at UPS, thinks you should probably bring that person in for a chat.
Why? Because, according to Hartley, how hard a person has fought to get where he or she is can be just as important as a person’s school or work history.
Are they a ‘silver spoon’ or ‘scrapper’?
Hartley recently shared at Indeed Interactive, a conference for recruiters, that she tries to determine whether job candidates fit into one of two categories:
- silver spoons (those with a flashy educational background), or
- scrappers (those who’ve fought through adversity — or overcame a less-glitzy educational history — to get where they are).
According to an interesting Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report on Hartley’s presentation, she said employment gaps may be indicative of a lack of focus or reliability — or it could be indicative of a struggle against real obstacles.
She said scrappers can be just as valuable as silver spoons, and a company wouldn’t know if either label applies to a candidate unless it talks to the person.
To back up her argument, Hartley pointed to people like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Sam Walton, who all went on to great success despite having gone to less-recognizable colleges.
Bottom line: It can be easy for managers to get caught in a mode in which they’re only looking for candidates from high-profile schools. But in doing so, they could be ruling out some hard-working go-getters.
Cite: “Take a Chance on Less-Than-Stellar Resumes,” by Roy Maurer, SHRM.org, 6/2/16.