Resumes are overrated.
Sure, they serve a purpose. But let’s face it: you’re asking a person to sum themselves up—all of their passions, their strengths, their experiences and their intricacies—in just one or two letter-sized pieces of paper. I think we can all agree that people are more complex than that.
When I was recruiting, I quickly realized that a candidate’s resume only gave a part of their story—like trying to view an entire room through a keyhole. A resume presents only the skills and facts of a candidate’s professional life rather than what drives them on a more personal level.
Noticing this problem, I quickly realized that I needed to make the most of the conversations I had with my candidates in order to shed light on the professional they truly were. I soon found I could concentrate the conversations on four key areas—areas that make for the Most Damn Valuable Professionals (MDVPs), no matter what field they worked in.
Handily, this MDVP acronym also applied to these key areas: Motivators, Differentiators, Value, and Perspective.
Money aside, what motivates your candidate? What gets them out of bed in the morning? Do they have a deep passion for the work that they do? Do they want to be the best in their field? Or are they simply doing what needs to be done to support their family?
A candidate’s motivations will give you clear insight into their longevity and their commitment to their work.
We human beings are wonderfully unique. Even when we own the exact same DNA, as identical twins do, we still develop different personalities, different quirks, and different passions. How does your candidate differentiate themselves from others? What makes them a unique proposition in the marketplace? What do they offer that other candidates don’t?
Identifying a candidate’s differentiators will help you demonstrate why your candidate is a better choice than any other.
The best professionals have a deep understanding of their strengths. They know the value they can offer a company and aren’t shy in pointing it out. Ask them directly what they know they can offer, and help them identify any other valuable traits. Are they particularly efficient at a traditionally difficult task? Do they have a sought-after qualification or rare experience in a certain field? What about soft skills to complement their technical abilities, like time management, punctuality, and critical thinking skills?
Understanding the candidate’s value proposition will help you to clearly show how your candidate can add value to a potential employer.
What is your candidate’s view on the current state of their industry? Understanding how your candidate sees the state of play will help you to identify positions that fit with that view and target jobs they see as desirable.
These days many candidates place a lot of value on jobs that mean something, that affect the world in a positive way. Others might be looking for jobs in a new location because there’s more opportunity there—the tech professional pilgrimage to Silicon Valley is an obvious example. Still others may be chasing a greater work/life balance and looking for a job that’s flexible over one that pays well.
Looking at your candidates’ motivators, differentiators, value, and perspective will allow you to identify the most damn valuable professionals. Gaining a deeper understanding these four key areas allows you to hyper-target your job search efforts, offering your candidates only potential positions that a) they’d have a high chance of landing, b) they’d excel in, and c) they’ll truly enjoy.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find your next MDVP!