July 30, 2015

The ‘Candid’ in Candidate: Hiring People, Not Resumes

BackpackThere’s a big difference between what’s written on paper and what’s reality. When it comes to new hires, know this: people are more than words on a page. Lesson.ly got a rock climbing coach, a yoga clothier, and a professional soccer player in the same room to run our company. This is the epitome of hiring people, not resumes.

A resume reads involvement, credibility, and diversity. What it doesn’t read is communications, aspirations, or leisurely interests. Let’s take a step back. I’m not insisting that you ditch the resume. Use the resumes you receive to weed out those who are wholly unprepared for the job. The criteria for that is up to you — whether it’s experience in the field or specific software knowledge.

But, why not find a way to skip the weeding process entirely?

Using Employees and Social Media for Recruiting

Avoid the accumulation of a myriad of candidates and stacks of resumes by starting the process internally. Before you post a position ona job site, send out an email to your employees. Tell them exactly what you’re looking for. This makes for great referrals from the people you trust most.

Maybe you want to avoid internal references. In that instance, you can take advantage of social media. It’s a free platform to promote openings, and chances are the people exposed to those openings already have interest in the company. If you pay attention to engagement — and I know you do — you can familiarize yourself with some great candidates.

Watching a candidate’s social media communication is a strong indicator of that candidate’s actual self (though you may need to read between the lines). It may even help you develop some questions for the interview.


The Lesson.ly Team


Getting to Know the Person, Not the Paper

Take the time saved by not reading all that superfluous card stock and put it towards the interview process. The worst thing you can do is assume you know a candidate from their resume. Learn about them. Let them teach you.

In the interview process, have the interviewee tell you their resume. This eliminates any prior misinterpretation and gives the candidate the opportunity to prove their communication skills. Simply put, it starts a conversation. Ask them about their strangest or most difficult task. Then, put the cliché questions to the side, and really get to know them: what’s important to them, how they’re motivated, and even what their family is like. This gives you insight into their attitude, behavior, and natural way of thinking. It’s like a more relaxed DISC and Strengthsfinder evaluation.

When Lesson.ly interviews candidates, we like to do group interviews. By that, I mean we have existing employees interview the candidate — no matter their role in the hierarchy. Your employees need to know whom they’ll be working with just as much as you need to know who’s working for you. After the interview, find out how each person felt about the candidate’s communication — about how the candidate conveyed themselves.

ABC: Always Be Candid

When it comes to aspirations, I can’t express enough how important it is to be candid. Being forward will get you further than passivity. Don’t ask candidates where they see themselves in five or ten years — ask them where they want to see themselves in the company in five or ten years. Find out what they want out of their careers, and talk about how your company can meet those needs.

Why It’s Worth It

SunFinally, know what your candidates like to do outside of work. Can your company still allow them to do the things they love? And, even better, could the things they love to do be of use to the company at some point? I’m privileged to work with a united group of workers with a variety of interests.

Take Scott, for instance. Scott is one of our sales reps, but outside of Lesson.ly, he’s a rock-climbing coach to some of the best kid-climbers in the nation. Another example is one of our client experience specialists, Karlie. Karlie loves fitness and has started her own yoga clothing line. On top of that, she occasionally works as a travel agent. Lastly, Jordan Burt, another sales rep, just so happens to be a professional soccer player. It’s pretty awesome to work with such a variety of people who all have different insights and experiences, and yet, the same end goal: to be the nutrients that this company needs to flourish.

As corporate America shifts toward an ever-loving, work-life balanced culture, this idea of really knowing your employees becomes more important than ever. These people become part of your life. Make sure you surround yourself with the right people — and make sure they’re happy.

Read more in Organizational Culture

Max Yoder is the cofounder and CEO of Lesson.ly, the easy training software. His team’s sole mission is to make tracking team training as easy as possible, so you can build training materials, share them, and gain insight — all within the same interface. With Lesson.ly, you know who has learned what, when, and how well, without having to send repeated emails or tap people on the shoulder.