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Cartoon Coffee Break: What makes a perfect candidate?

Cornerstone Editors

What makes a perfect candidate?

It seems like the only way people get experience is if they already have experience. (Or, you know, if you know somebody. This study from 2016 puts "knowing somebody" at 85% of job fills.)

But experience is more than just checking off boxes on a job requisition. Employee handbooks don't neatly outline a successful trajectory for every employee. Real, useful experience comes from everywhere.

Then how do you ensure you're not overlooking great candidates just because their background doesn't exactly match the typical signifiers for a role?

You put on some ABBA, choreograph a dance and 🎶take a chance, take a chance, take a chance on me🎶.

What makes someone qualified for a job?

Say you have a Social Media Manager position open at your organization. You vet thousands of applicants and stumble across a resume that lacks a college degree and is light on office experience but has 500,000 followers on TikTok.

But your job listing says a college degree and three years of experience are required. Now you wonder: Do the skills you need to create a burgeoning social media presence translate from personal to corporate? Are my specific job requirements causing me to overlook great candidates?

That's the question hiring leaders need to continually ask themselves as we reckon with the fact that the hiring processes we've relied on for decades are full of gatekeeping biases.

Out with the old, in with the new

People do the work, but skills pay the bills. The classic resume — replete with extended tenures and college degrees — is a thing of the past. Skills matter more than credentials when hiring. Instead, recruiters must focus on the fundamental skills that candidates offer.

For non-traditional career paths, like The TikTok candidate, what skills does amassing their 500,000 following show? Well, they've clearly shown savvy and the skills to build an audience. But what specific "corporate" skills? You could easily make a case for Writing, Research, SEO Knowledge, Social Media Expertise, Customer Service, and PR Skills.

Are people in your rejection pile really not a fit, or do you just need a little adjustment to your perspective?

Rapidly develop your employees to where the market is evolving

One of the biggest motivators for employees to switch careers is the opportunity to grow. When an organization invests in their people's advancement, retention becomes easier, employment brand boosts and talent attraction becomes easier. In a candidate's market, that might be the difference between filling open roles and not.

So to evolve your organization to match the changing market, you have to start at the people level. People are what drive organizations forward. Connect your people with the essential skills they need to adapt, grow and be future ready.

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