Ignore these candidates at your peril

For more and more job candidates life situations have informed career choices. For many, the need to be in employment has meant that not everyone has followed the most obvious career path. Although first impressions are still important, it may be just as essential for recruiters to read between the lines of any CV or application for hidden gems that may not be initially obvious from what seem to be the plain facts. Experience from another industry or situation should certainly not be overlooked.

Here are a few examples of key words or phrases that might be included on an application but which shouldn’t be under estimated –

  • Homemakers – It’s conceivable that someone who left full time employment for parenting reasons could be removed from their chosen industry for a good number of years. However, skills that were inherent previously will still be there now. It’s also likely that many homemakers may have taken part-time or interim employment whilst their children grow up. This could ultimately see them re-entering the work environment with wider ranges of experience and knowledge than before.
  • No formal education – As people get older and gain valuable life experience, a lack of formal education can often mask the real potential of an applicant. Previous work experience or other levels of involvement maybe in community based organisations and activities can often be more valuable than academic achievements. As the old adage says ‘hire character, train skill’.
  • Fired from a previous position – Rather than immediately giving those who have been fired from a previous job a wide berth, recruiters would do well to learn more about the reasons behind their departure before dismissing their claims to the position. Personality clashes can work either way and if an applicant has been honest enough to be up front about the issue this may suggest that they feel there is nothing to hide.
  • Diverse academic experience – A job specification may ask for a degree or similar but there may be candidates who, having taken a different route, could still possess the correct criteria and experience. There will be many people who are part way through coursework but who have not fully completed their course, or have completed coursework that is directly relevant to the job but which is only a part of their qualification. Then there are those for whom initially their degree or qualification might not outwardly seem to be relevant but who have completed modules directly associated with the open position. For example, liberal arts graduates will have had training in areas such as critical thinking and communication but might not seem a good fit at first for a business position. In recent years the number of people prepared to take internships has also increased. This displays a desire to work in and understand a specific area of employment and suggests an individual possessing a good work ethic.
  • Retired candidates – Retired professionals often still have much to offer. Having already been successful, even if in another industry, they have already demonstrated commitment and hard work throughout their working lives. They are generally able to cope more easily with integrating into new environments and are less affected by office politics and distractions inherent in younger workers. Older workers will usually take immense pride in their work too and are reluctant to take sick days.

So, whilst the specifications for the position you have available might stipulate certain criteria, it can pay to delve a little deeper into the resume or cover letter of your applicants. Just because someone hasn’t formally been involved in a related industry or gained a respective qualification doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t equipped to perform in the position. The value in taking the time to ensure that you are recruiting exactly the right person to your vacancy can’t be overstated.