Hiring, like most areas of business, is about wins and losses. It’s about making the right decisions at the right times, eating the costs of wrong decisions and hopefully learning from them. Recruiters are always on the lookout for superstar hires that can make a difference from day one. But sometimes, great hires are overlooked. Whether it’s résumé overload, time pressure to get jobs filled, or great interviewing skills which don’t translate to effective job performance, top performers don’t always make it to the top of the hiring pile.
There are plenty of examples of future star performers who were passed over because they seemed unlikely to succeed. Sports fans remember the story of Kurt Warner, the Super Bowl winning quarterback for the St. Louis Rams who was undrafted out of college, invited to tryout for the Green Bay Packers and then cut before the regular season started. Warner ended up stocking shelves at a grocery store but he never gave up on his dream. Just a few years later, the Rams gave him a shot and he led them all the way to the Super Bowl title.
Meryl Streep is the recipient of three Academy Awards, nineteen Academy Award nominations, and numerous film industry accolades, but at the very beginning of her career, she was rejected for a role in a major motion picture for being ‘too ugly’. Luckily for us, the next director who was given an opportunity to cast her did so, and the rest is movie history.
Another classic example of enormous success after being spurned numerous times is the woman who introduced the world to an adolescent boy who discovers he is a wizard. J.K. Rowling was famously out of work, out of money, and recently divorced only three years before the first ‘Harry Potter’ book was published. After receiving dozens of rejections, it was finally published by a small London publisher. Seven books, eight movies, and billions of dollars later, there are no doubt dozens of publishers who regret passing on a book series that has sold upwards of 400 million copies.
It’s just as easy to miss out on future greatness in the business world as it is in the sports or entertainment fields. That’s because the recruitment process still relies on résumés as the first step in determining fit but unfortunately, résumé don’t tell the whole story. If you really want to make sure you don’t miss that next great hire, it’s time to go beyond just reviewing black and white résumé. The next Kurt Warner is out there, it’s up to you to find him.
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