Recently I’ve been interviewing candidates for a couple positions at a company I’m doing some work for. Although the ad has been as specific as possible in terms of experience, responsibilities and the like, I’ve been flooded with over 200 responses. For most, they have the right title, but not the right background.
However, I did manage to pull out 10 resumes that offered potential. As I got on the phone with the candidates, that number was whittled down to 6. And now I’m in the process of meeting with the six, although I know from the phone calls that there were really only three candidates that I was truly interested in.
One of the candidates came in yesterday. Six years of the right experience. Smart. Great personality. Know I could throw anything at them and they’ll figure it out. The kind of person you want to take under your wing to mentor and allow them to grow and become more successful than they imagined.
The issue? The resume didn’t offer anything about what they accomplished. It was just a listing of responsibilities (in fact, I only received one resume out of two hundred where the person gave me results in facts, in data, in numbers. You can bet I interviewed this person).
As I interviewed the great candidate, I asked about results. And at first they didn’t get it. And then I said, “Tell me how you increased sales. Tell me how you increased retention. Tell me how you cut expenses.” Their initial response was that they thought that would be boasting if they listed that on their resume. What? Isn’t that what a resume is supposed to do? To show what you achieved? To show how you made a difference? I want results, not just to know what you did.
So we made it through that phase of the interview (and with great results). On another note, this candidate said that they were a “people person”. I stopped them and said, “Don’t say that.” When probed, they told me that the guidance they received in school told them to use that phrase because it embodied who they are. Who is teaching these kids this stuff? That’s an interviewing 101 no-no – Never say I’m a “people person.” Everyone knows that.
The other big thing I’ve learned is that this generation doesn’t really know what they want to do. They want to have a myriad of experiences as far as their jobs go. They want to have a great work-life balance. They want to feel passionate. They want to feel like they’re making a difference. Wow! These are some great qualities in a candidate. But the issue is that they can’t tie it to a specific job, position or set of responsibilities. It’s like pulling teeth and I can’t tell you how many times I asked, “So what do you want to do.” And then set about pulling the information out of them by probing.