Ten Things I Couldn’t Care Less About When I’m Hiring



Ten Things I Couldn’t Care Less About When I’m Hiring

By Liz Ryan, Forbes Contributor


I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life.


Hiring people is such an organic and human activity, it kills me to see how many companies do it badly. They try to make recruiting a linear, data-driven and analytical process, but that’s impossible, because recruiting is all about the energy that flows between and among people.


It has nothing to do with data. It has nothing to do with particles — like all human activities, it is all about waves!


Recruiting has nothing to do with keyword-searching algorithms. How sad it is to see how my HR profession has devolved!

We can bring the human element back into recruiting and make it the human, organic process it always should have been. Smart companies are doing this already. They’ve gotten rid of their lumbering, wheezing Applicant Tracking Systems and their pointless personality tests and insulting, scripted interview questions.


They are throwing out their broken recruiting systems and learning to hire people, not bundles of skills and certifications. Their shareholders and customers will be glad they made the shift!


When I hire people, here are ten things I couldn’t care less about:

  1. Impressive educational credentials
  2. Blue-chip employers
  3. “Progressively more responsible positions” on a person’s resume
  4. Tasks and duties
  5. GPAs and other forms of externally-conferred recognition
  6. Industry experience
  7. Employment gaps
  8. Your age
  9. Your past or present salary
  10. Your scores on personality tests


I trust my own experience and my instincts, and I trust my colleagues’ instincts too! Why would I care which college a job-seeker went to, or whether they went to college at all?


There are lots of other cool things to do with your time apart from going to college, especially these days.


I understand why people are drawn to top-tier universities and blue-chip employers. When we aren’t sure where our path lies, often we simply strive to hit other people’s marks by being at the top of the class or working for the most-sought-after employers.

When we don’t know where we are headed, we might work hard to hit the same milestones everybody else is trying to hit, just to prove we can.


I understand that impulse and I don’t hold it against a person, but I want to know, “Why did you go to that Ivy-League school?”


Sometimes the answer is “I wanted to go to that college because they had a program that fascinated me and spoke to me” and sometimes the answer is “I wanted to go to that college because I could get in, and I always want to be the best in everything I do!” It is terrifying to realize how many people simply aim to be The Best, not knowing why or what The Best even means.


I don’t care if someone has risen through the ranks in one or two companies, taken twists and turns throughout their career or jumped on and off the conveyor belt. Why would I care? I’ve been hiring people since the early eighties and I’ve never found that corporate-ladder-climbing people are any smarter or more resourceful than people who’ve never set foot in a corporate environment. It may be an inverse correlation, in fact.


There are smart and creative people everywhere. Corporations and institutions stupidly reject highly-qualified applicants every day, because they don’t fit the mold. That’s bad for them, but good for any leader smart enough to snap up those non-cookie-cutter folks!


I don’t care which tasks and duties someone has performed at their past jobs. I want to know something else. I want to know the answer to the question, “What did you leave in your wake at each job you’ve held?”


I don’t care what someone got paid for their work, or whether they got paid at all. Why would that matter? If someone built a fantastic house and you need someone to build you a house, why would it matter whether they got paid to build the first house? That has nothing to do with anything.


Read original article on Forbes.


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