Thinking Outside the Square

We’re told to think outside the square, the box or whatever. Yet, we try to pigeonhole people in many situations and particularly in interviews.

It’s a proven fact that first impressions are very important, and surveys have shown that more attractive people have a greater chance of being offered positions than those that are more ordinary looking. Let’s not even talk about unattractive people and their chances of getting offered jobs.

Besides first impressions, we sometimes make up our minds about someone’s suitability for a role without giving them an opportunity to tell us about themselves. This is very common when someone is trying to make a career change.

Of course, it’s also easier to find someone who fits the criteria in skills and experience in the industry. It saves a lot of work in really interviewing people for positions.  Bigger companies who have ATS have already culled candidates because they haven’t used the correct keywords and phrases. A computer program can’t read between the lines though as people can. Don’t tell me sometimes you’ve sensed that someone has what you’re looking for, yet their resume hasn’t shown the obvious skills and experience required.

People are told that skills are transferable and maybe they don’t quite know how to explain this when they are going for a job in another industry. However, a smart interviewer will surely find ways to extract this information from them. They will think outside the square and delve deeply and sometimes come up with a gem.

I’ve heard of people who have been hired over someone who ticks all the right boxes with their experience and skills in the industry. This is usually because the interviewer has seen the person’s potential to develop into the role and be successful, regardless of their background. A person’s potential though is not easily defined by parameters.

So, ensure you think outside the square next time you are interviewing candidates for a position. You never know who you might find!

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