Working in the recruiting field as a talent sourcer, I scroll through hundreds of profiles each day searching for all manner of candidates for varying positions for our clients. One repeating theme is hiring managers focusing on an ideal candidate and overlooking candidates with transferrable skills.
For instance, when searching for a salesperson, sometimes hiring managers want candidates that have sold in a specific industry. While that sounds like a great idea, I wonder how many great candidates they pass up, simply based on that industry qualifier. If hiring managers took a chance on the best of those candidates, they could bring great sales experience AND a diverse perspective to the organization.
On a more personal note, I can attest to the life-changing impact a hiring manager can have on a candidate who they take a chance on. You see, I am a recent graduate and a non-traditional student. At 30 years old, you would see that most of my work experience had been in retail management. While I did graduate with a degree in Human Resources Management, I had very little experience in the field outside of school. Nonetheless, I applied for the Talent Sourcer position with Recruiting Experiences. I went through a few interviews before chatting with our CEO, Amy Oviedo, who spoke to me in length about the future of the company and how they might get there.
After having the offer extended, I accepted. A few weeks later, she and I had a check-in, and I asked, “why did you take a chance on me?” The answer? I was a scrapper.
I sat back and thought about what that meant. I worked multiple jobs to get through college and graduated with high marks. It showed that I was adaptable, driven, and worked hard. These skills are important but not easily taught. You see, while on paper I may not have been the perfect candidate for this position, my success in other roles and during school showed that I could learn the technical skills needed for this position.
Some of the key skills I learned over the years that benefit me in my new role as a Talent Sourcer are listening, asking probing questions, and managing high workloads.
As a vet assistant, I had to quickly and accurately gather information form clients about their pets and relay that information to the doctor. In that position, I learned to listen not only to what a client said, but also to what was unspoken. It taught me the importance of asking more questions to find answers to questions. Those questions were often the difference between life and death for a beloved animal. I have used the skills I learned from working at the vet clinic in my recruiting journey to ask better questions and dig further when evaluating candidates or meeting with hiring teams.
Another example of my skill development was my experience working as a shift supervisor and barista trainer at Starbucks. In that role I had to move quickly and efficiently to keep customers happy while also taking the time to train the new baristas. Working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks taught me to juggle various responsibilities and prioritize on the fly. This has helped in my recruiting role as I must work quickly and efficiently to maintain communication and positive experiences for both the clients and the candidates.
While my resume may not have been the “perfect” resume for a Talent Sourcer, my interviewer looked beyond the surface level and saw skills I would bring to the table.
For the hiring managers out there, I have one ask. If you want innovation and drive from new team members, take a chance on the scrapper. You will be pleasantly surprised at what someone from a different background will bring to your team.
For more on this concept, watch this famous Ted Talk by Regina Hartley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5zkY7qjRGo