“We had 400 resumes in response to our job posting,” Jean complained, “but when I look at those that made the cut, I am disappointed.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I looked at the reject stack. Here was one that was rejected for a spelling error, but the candidate had completed a special certificate program at a school in upstate Vermont. I know about that program. I want to talk to that candidate.”
“Rejected for a spelling error?”
“And here was one, rejected because of a three month gap in employment. But the candidate spent six months with a special ed program in a village in Africa. I want to talk to that candidate.”
“And?” I prompted.
“This candidate graduated from an unremarkable college, fresh out of school, with no work experience in our field, but managed to hold down a full-time job, a part-time job and take a full-course load in college. I want to talk to that candidate.”
“So, what passed the stage-gate?” I wanted to know.
“Here’s one. Perfect spelling, no gaps in job history, a reputable academic history, ten years experience in a retail perfume department. Only one small problem. We don’t sell perfume. How did that resume make it to the IN stack?”
“What do you think the problem is?” I asked.
“I think we are going about this all wrong. We look at resumes and find some flaw to disqualify the candidate. We look at resumes and sort OUT. I think we need to reverse the process. We need to determine the critical role requirements and then sort IN for those qualities.”