If Obama Was My Applicant: Has Face Value Killed Good Recruiting?

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by Michael Brandt – BrightMove Recruiting Software

I am on a plane right now and got  an urge to write something that I find very important not only in recruitment, but in how people evaluate and judge applicants and people in general. I use the analogy of President Obama simply because we are in a time of in-your-face smear campaigns and news, where our political opinion of a person is summed up and essentially defined by one act or one thing in a person’s entire career. Last night for example, I watched the news of Senator Harry Reid and President Clinton surrounding these comments deemed racist by many. The Republicans for the most part are saying he needs to step down and that he is a racist. The Democrats are saying racism isn’t in his character and this whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Regardless of the side, this will likely define Reid for some time and will be what we remember him by. Quite simply folks, that is such a bad way to measure anyone!!! I think we as citizens need to dig a little deeper to know the history of a person before we cast a blanket over them that sums them up good or bad.

I ask one question? Have ever you really stuck your foot in your mouth? Does that comment or action sum you up?

Now, apply this to recruitment today. We have a huge number of people globally looking for work. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources or ability to dive deeply into each candidate, but we do owe it to these applicants to give them the benefit of the doubt. We have to look at the person’s whole career and understand a bit more. If they were fired from a role, research why that might have happened. If they have a gap in employment, understand the circumstance. The resume does not make the applicant and nor does one or two indiscretions in his or her career.
Unfortunately, we will not get to a point any time soon where we get the whole picture on any politician, applicant or acquaintance but we will always hear what they did out of character. But that’s the problem isn’t it? We hear what is out of character because that’s the news or gossip. We need to understand what we don’t hear about or see on the resume. That’s the real news. If an applicant has the skills, dig a little deeper. Studies show that many highly talented people jump jobs because they aren’t challenged.  If your applicant has moved jobs frequently, it could very well mean that the job didn’t challenge their abilities.

Human nature is to be competitive.

As you interview and review applicants, I also challenge you to help your applicants with their career. If an applicant is not the right fit for your organization, help them with meaningful feedback that might point them in the right direction.

Feedback is invaluable to a person looking for work. After all, it could be any one of us looking for a job next week and we would want the same.

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