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My Take on Candidate Potential

A Fresh Take in 2022

In 2012, Jason Shen gave a TED Talk about how companies can think about candidate potential differently, and how a resume and cover letter may not be telling the whole story. You can watch the 6 minute 2018 refresh of his speech here.

A few of my own thoughts after watching this TED Talk: "Manually turn off notifications to non-essential apps."

  • First, Shen starts off by sharing a stat from a 2010 study that found that only 25% of college graduates work in a field that relates to their degree. As a recruiter in the IT industry, I see this all the time. Quality candidates who have landed great jobs in IT with a degree in a completely different field of study. Many of them took it upon themselves to go out and learn the skill on their own because they wanted to. When I come across these great candidates, it is my job to make sure I can present their “bigger picture” as Shen put it, to my clients so they are able to see the value past what a resume and cover letter can show. I do this by taking the time to have conversations with candidates, many times it is multiple conversations, asking them to tell me about projects they have worked on, or skills they have that may not be listed on their resume, and what they are looking for in their next job. Then I summarize all those qualities for my client when I present them.

  • Second, I greatly enjoy the 2011 movie Moneyball. Shen references the real-life story of how the Oakland Athletics changed the thinking process of baseball recruiting. Players may be a phenom at pitching, fielding, or batting, but how does that small part of their game translate to the entire team (or franchise) success. The same applies in the world of recruiting. I take the time to expand my search beyond just key words a client has on a job description, or a candidate has on their resume. This is why working with a recruiter can be beneficial for both candidates and clients. We take time to understand our client’s needs in depth more than a general job description. We take time to have conversations with candidates to see their bigger picture and all their skill sets they bring to the table. Then we match the best candidates with our clients.

  • Lastly, Shen mentions how work samples are one the best predictors of success on the job. He gives the example, “Teams have tryouts and plays have auditions” and follows that up with “If you’re a candidate, don’t wait for an employer to ask.S eek out ways to showcase your unique skills and abilities outside just the standard resume and cover letter.” What better way to show you off than to have someone in your corner! A hype man, a cheerleader, a promoter of you, your skills, and your personality. By using a recruiter like myself, you get all of this. I am able to convey those work examples to a hiring manager that may not come across on your resume or cover letter. I am able to tee the ball up for you on interview questions instead of the hiring manager throwing you a curveball unexpectedly. So what are you waiting for?

I’d love to hear what you are doing personally, or what your organization is doing to address app overload! Connect with me on LinkedIn to share your feedback!

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