Appreciating determined persistence (and other intangibles)

By my calculations, I’ve hired more than 60 people as a manager. As a matter of process, all of the HR people I’ve ever worked with offered to screen the incoming resumes and give me what they thought were the good fits.

In each case, I always asked to see them all. I’m not known as a control freak. In fact, quite the opposite. I’m known for empowering and trusting my teams. After all, they’re the experts in their disciplines, so if I was willing to hire them, I should trust them.

But when I’m hiring someone on to my team, I don’t think anyone is really qualified to make a decision on a candidate being hired for my department except me. Sure, there are the standard skills I’m seeking. But I’m also looking at subtle intangibles that would be hard to instruct another to look for on a resume.

I like unconventional resumes. I like it when people write things that others may find off-putting or inappropriate. I like it when people are bold. I like it when people take chances and aren’t afraid to put themselves out there.

To me, those kind of people are always worth at least a 20 minute phone screen.

One of my favorite traits is dogged persistence. When someone does the homework required to determine that I am the hiring manager and then goes on to figure out my email or phone number and contacts me there, that person will always get a chance.

That kind of action shows me someone who is resourceful and determined – both qualities that I find fairly rare. It’s easy to find someone with the skills on paper. It’s the personality and the intangibles behind it that makes one hire better than another.

As Wayne Gretzky said, “You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I like to reward applicants who take chances with an interview just as I like to reward employees who are willing to take chances in the name of doing more effective and better work.

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