The Fantasy of Being Able to Consistently Pick a Top Performer’s Resume After a 10 Second Review


Tips on selecting the top performers

I was recently communicating with a group of executives about resume screening and was struck by the old school approach that was pervasive in the group. We need to step out of the 1960’s in our thinking about recruiting, resumes and connecting the right people with the right jobs.

Show me someone who claims to be able to screen IN the top people in 10 seconds and I’ll show you dozens of fantastic hires who will be missed because of a poorly targeted resume. All of us are far more complex than can be reasonably represented on a few pages, and there are a few lessons learned that may be of use to others:

1. Clarify the 12 to 15 quantifiable markers for talent and cultural fit right up front. What would this person have done to indicate a gift to do the job well. This is often missed. In its place is often a meaningless measure like years of experience. How many of us have worked with someone with 10 years of experience that was a train wreck, while someone with 4 years experience was a rock star. Here are the initial questions to ask:

a. What needs to get done by when (why is this job open?)?
b. How will this person’s success be quantitatively measured to know that you have a top performer?
c. Why would the right person want this job? (what are the emotional triggers)
d. What are the common attributes of the top performers in the group/company? (Hard skills, soft skills, humor, quirks, etc.)

2. Write a job description that is a personal letter to the right person. Think of this “job description” as a asking someone out for a date. A well crafted description will not only get better people engaged, it will get even the most entrenched person to notice the job because their friends will forward it to them. We have seen jobs from Carl Icahn’s CTO to the best sales and marketing hires happen because of this dynamic. The thinking that the best people have to be manually hunted down is bunk, and we have seen thousands of documented hires to prove it. Everyone is a temporary, it’s just a matter of degrees.

3. Package those job specific markers for talent into a framework where they can be asked, answered and weighted into a web-based framework. This will enable the process to scale to accommodate any number of applicants and allow the best possible people to immediately rise to the top without burning up a second of time manually looking through raw resumes.

4. Set-up a system so that every single person gets follow-up and closure regardless of the outcome. It continues to elude most companies that they are ignoring most of the applicants who may also be consumers, shareholders, referral sources and future hires.


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