Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Diamond in the Rough

If I had to pick one skill to master, I think storytelling would be a close contender for the top spot. Stories are how we organize our experiences in the world and how we make sense of events that have happened to us. In fact, the purpose of the interview process is for interviewers to get past the facts of your resume and figure out who you are – your story.

But imagine sitting in a job interview. The candidate already nervous. They know they have something to contribute. However, when the interviewer asks them to tell them about themselves, they buckle. They realize telling their story in person is quite difficult. They stumble or forget the most important pieces of their personal story, potentially damaging their interview experience.

Sometimes individuals simply don’t impress with their resumes or interviewing techniques, but in the end can be potential star employees. They just may not have a knack for writing resumes or let nerves get the better of them during interviews. Or they may not meet all of your requirements right now, but could with some training or guidance.

There’s often debate between the two words ‘potential’ or ‘experience’. As employers, you are in a position where you need to hire candidates that are right for the role, but even for the candidate that doesn’t have an extensive background, if you don’t take the chance in hiring them, how will they gain the experience?

Some candidate doesn’t have the “wow” factor in their resume. Even if job titles aren’t impressive, for instance, consider the individual’s track record. If the person made the most out of a position, showed initiative and took on greater challenges, these are positive signs.

Consider the intangibles. Personality, motivation and being a good fit for the organization can’t be quantified the same way as time spent in a finance management role or years working with an organization, for instance. But often it’s these “softer” factors that are most critical in an employee. When interviewing, look for individuals who are eager to join your team, have a history of making an impact and continuing to learn (even if it’s in an unrelated field), and have the social skills to easily transition into the group.

Remember, you can always train someone in a particular technology, but you can’t create a drive to succeed or force chemistry with co-workers if it doesn’t exist. Additionally, be sure to talk to references. They can give you a better sense of an individual’s work style and qualifications, helping you to compare information and make a more informed selection.

The “Diamond in the Rough” candidates are very often having something to prove; they are doer. In their mind, they need to demonstrate their ability and are sometimes willing to go the extra mile. They have this mentality because they haven’t been able to rely on a perfect resume in order to get ahead and are grateful for every opportunity to prove themselves.

Recently, I watched “The Internship”. The movie offers much more than that as you get real life lessons about the importance of human connection and teamwork in the workplace no matter what job function that you do. It was about two salesmen who lost their job and decided to get internships at Google. They were accepted due to their unorthodox interview answers, despite their lack of relevant experience but eventually they won the job because not because of their technical skills but because they were givers not takers.

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