OK, so I get it... There are some professions where your qualifications and previous experience are pretty essential... I wouldn’t fancy finding out that my doctor, for example, was hired purely on his work ethic and good bedside manner but had failed Medical School miserably.
... However, in a time where so many job seekers are attending University, what really sets candidates aside often isn’t blatantly obvious from a CV alone. With jobs attracting applications in the hundreds, it can be hard work narrowing down a sea of CVs with degrees and ‘works well in a team but also as an individual...’
This is why I am encouraging you to ‘Take Your Shot’ and I have recently proved that a proactive, upfront approach to job seeking can be the most effective.
I am a proud Front of House Manager for a very smart office building in the centre of Birmingham and I have spent the past six weeks recruiting for a Receptionist position.
On Monday morning I opened my inbox to see that I had received almost 100 applications over the weekend, and my whole day was then spent going through each CV to assess their experience and suitability for the role (on paper). I aired my frustration to my manager that it was impossible for me to interview everyone - but how would I know whether or not they were a good fit for the building without meeting them?
I was conscious that I was dismissing CVs that listed experience such as Warehouse Picker Packer, simply because they had not had a customer facing role, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t the ideal candidate who had just not been lucky enough to find their calling…yet!
Similarly, a candidate with 10 years of Reception experience isn’t automatically the best candidate for the role. We have all experienced a ‘computer says no’ moment with a smug receptionist who seems to enjoy being obstructive. Absolutely NOT what I was looking for.
So, you can imagine my delight when on Tuesday afternoon, a smart, professional looking lady walked into the building and confidently asked me whether there were any receptionist positions available. I tried to act cool, I promise, but I couldn’t contain my excitement! I ran my eyes over her CV, and noticed that none of her roles had been particularly customer facing (surely a rejection based on CV alone) but she seemed so perfect.
I decided to take a shot... I explained about the position that I was recruiting for and asked whether she would be available to come back in and see me the next day for an interview. Luckily she agreed.
The next day she arrived promptly (check), smartly dressed (check), and had fully researched the building (check). Although her answers often didn’t relate to Front of House, or even customer service experiences, she interviewed well and she demonstrated that she was a strong team player and had the ability to think on her feet.
In essence, she just ‘got it’... She understood what I was looking for, and her values aligned with the company’s values. This isn’t something that you can necessarily teach, nor can you detect it from a CV. Needless to say, she got the job and I am confident that she will be a perfect fit for the building.
The morale of the story? Employers, if it’s attitude that your looking for and you are in a position to be able to train the skill, then I encourage you to look outside the box, and consider the wild card entry that has no previous experience but just a pure interest or passion for the role, or even the company.
Job seekers, if you have a passion for something, or there's a company or brand that you've always admired or wanted to work for... Take Your Shot - You may be just the breath of fresh air that they are looking for.
By Laura Bailey - September 2018