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Let's Discuss Hiring Criteria

Facebook, not the typical scholarly source for information, referenced an article in Forbes titled Ten Things I Couldn't Care Less About When I'm Hiring (by Liz Ryan).  I like lists - I clicked on the link and felt a need for a debate.  Let's look at the 10 points and see:

10)  Your Score on Personality Tests:  (The first 'thing' listed in the article and I agree.  I thought that this could be a great article!)  If my client wants to assess you, they (or we) will do so.  Self reporting is not going to make a difference.

9)  Your Past of Present Salary:  (Now the debate is on!)  If my client, the employer, has a range of $150,000 - $175,000 plus 25% annual bonus, I DO care if you are or were making $250,000 plus 40%. Frankly, you as the candidate care as well. We can both save time if we have this data at the beginning of our vetting process.

8)  Your age:  Agreed!  And my clients, primarily small and medium employers in multiple industries and not-for-profits, don't care either. They need experience - the ability to hit the ground running and get things done.

7)  Employment Gaps:  We need to debate this point. Gaps by themselves are not the issue. The reasons need to be explained. Were you fired for cause? Was there a mass layoff? Did you need to take care of an elderly parent? Not all reasons for gaps are a problem. A pattern and the reasons for the pattern need to be understood. Past history/performance is a valid predictor of future performance.

6)  Industry Experience:  I'm a consultant so my answer is a solid "it depends".  Some of my clients welcome a new and different perspective. (We recently helped with the hiring of a Chief Innovation Officer for a healthcare employer. The candidate hired came from hospitality. It makes sense!) That said, if you are a medical device company needing a sales leader, industry knowledge may be a critical success factor.

5)  GPAs and Other Forms of Externally-Conferred Recognition:  GPA has been proven to predict future GPA, not performance. Other recognition(s) that is received may be cultural or situational. The context needs to be understood in comparison to the open position.

4)  Tasks and Duties:  Because this seemed to be a list, I interpreted this literally and have to agree. My clients want to know what you accomplished, not what you were responsible for. The difference can be monumental.

3)  "Progressively More Responsible Positions" on a Person's Resume:  Again, it depends. Career moves and motivations need to be understood. Up Is Not The Only Way (a book by Beverly Kaye) suggests multiple directions a career can travel. Finding the reasons for the moves is a prudent step.

2)  Blue-Chip Employers:  The definition of 'blue-chip' may depend on the hiring employer. What one employer considers blue-chip is not always what another employer agrees with. Cultural fit will be key rather than just a past employer name. Employer scope and size comes into play as well. If a Fortune 100 employer is hiring, they may want someone who has experienced the same scope, scale and complexity of organizational design that they have. If a small employer is hiring a functional leader (a CFO, for example), only having Fortune 100 experience (at a blue-chip company) may not work out well.

1)  Impressive Educational Credentials:  Employers hiring leaders want education. A degree received 20 years ago has little value if there is no continuing education and development. There is no one right answer here, but generally speaking, the article is correct.

Is there a conclusion?

Going back to my opinion as a consultant, it depends on the employer, the position and the specific situation. An analysis of each position before a rush to the job market will be key.

I'm ready for the debate with Forbes!