This morning I responded to another blog post about whether or not a hobbies and/or interest section should be on a resume. It really got me thinking about what it is that really gets people hired.
So what are the real reasons people are hired?
1) Technical (hard skills) competence. For most jobs there is a significant amount of knowledge and or skill needed. The interviewee needs to be able to show that they are at least competent. Showing that you are better improves the chance of a job offer.
2) Soft skills competence. Some examples: communication, relationship building, leadership, sales, etc. These are much tougher to judge.
To some extent the follow item could be part of #2 above. I am separating it just so that I can add a few additional comments.
3) Ability to build rapport with the interviewers. After interviews I like to have a brief meeting with all the interviewers to review and rate the candidate. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrases ‘connected with him/her’ or ‘could not connect.’ It may not be a surprise to know that this impression from the interviewers carries a lot of weight. Interviewers base the strength of future relationships on the ability to build rapport with a candidate in a very short time period. This can make or break an interview and often has the problem of how to give feedback to a candidate that was not able to build rapport. The interviewers do not want to hire someone who cannot build rapport, but are often at a loss about how to explain that.
Part of difficulty of interviewing is that ‘soft skills’ and ‘rapport’ are so subjective. This is actually a problem for both the interviewer and interviewee. Here are a few suggestions:
For the interviewer:
- Create a consistent set of questions for all candidates
- Learn how to ask open ended behavioral questions
- Create a system to rate both hard and soft skills, to make the process as objective as possible. (I provide this free for my clients).
For the interviewee:
- If you are not a strong communicator work on improving your skills via Toastmasters, LifeStream, NLP or any of a number of personal development classes. (The benefits will be repaid many times over your career…)
- Practice interviewing with friends, enemies (they will be brutally honest…) or a career coach. Hanna Morgan (Career Sherpa), Kathleen Pringle and Lynn Dessert come to mind though there are many more coaches.
- Put an interests/hobbies section at the bottom of your resume. Keep out everything that could be used for discrimination like work in religious organizations. Add items that show traits that might not normally be clear from your resume.
I will not add ‘Good Luck’ to this post… as I believe an old saying ‘The harder I work the luckier I get!’