Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Mythical Triple A+ Rock Star

Los Angeles is in a hiring frenzy, at least when it comes to Technology people. Despite what you hear plastered on the news, unemployment numbers apparently do not apply to tech. There are many startups getting funded locally, and those, along with some more mature startups are experience exponential growth. Especially at a hands on level, most good people are working, but despite the mass quantity of local hiring, they are still reticent to make a move and skittish about the market.

Anyone hiring technical people knows that it’s a challenge. However, despite how dearth of available good talent, most companies are still crazy picky. Trust me when I tell you that all of my clients want the exact same non-existent mythical Triple Grade A rock stars. Well, they do exist. But they are probably working at Google and won’t leave.

It’s completely reasonable to want to hold out for the best of the best. However, there is such a propensity to pass on someone sometimes for superficial reasons. Granted, if you are cool having your position open for 6 months, fine. But that is usually too big of a price to pay for most companies. Here are some simple points to consider before you trash a resume:

  • Many candidates, especially in tech, write cruddy resumes. They leave stuff off. They are too detailed or too high level. Maybe you have a pet peeve about resumes (you hate it when people do them in Times New Roman, for example ☺). If a resume has even 75% of what you are looking for, give the person a chance and ask the question – ask them to tell you if the X, Y or Z that they may have left off the resume is something they have actually worked with; ask them to tell you what complex problems they have solved using technology – most candidates don’t write resumes from that vantage point; ask them to redo the resume in another font ☺.
  • We have all been burned by something or someone in our hiring history. Maybe one too many people said a commute would not be a problem, only to quit 6 months later due to an unbearable commute. Or maybe a hardcore contractor told you they were expecting quadruplets and it was time to settle down into a permanent position, but a year later, they missed the rush of contracting and hit the road again. The bottom line is that each person is an individual and you may be missing a gem by pooling them with others that may look and sound the same as those you have been burned by before. Give them a chance.
  • If you can’t tell if a person has all the technical experience you want, it may be well worth 15 minutes of your time to phone screen them and see. If you are working with an agency, provide them with a handful of screening questions – we will often do this for our clients. We can do it live on the phone, so we can accurately capture what they know on the fly, versus emailing them (where anyone can just go on the web to get the answers).
  • Last, but not least, some extremely smart, talented people don’t have degrees. Or they have a degree that they got while working at a University that may make you turn up your nose. You never know a person’s personal situation. Maybe they had to care for family and could not go to college. Hey, if a person has the gumption, ambition and ability to get a degree – any degree – while working full time, I tip my hat to them.

I’m not suggesting lowering your standards. However, in a market where you have to reach out to 100 candidates to hear back from 1 person that may be good, it’s worth opening your mind before you trash a resume.