Painting the Hiring Picture

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of collaborating with a new colleague.  She was very articulate, had a warm personality, and dressed quite sharply.  She offered great recommendations that would help our workflow-everyone was happy!

It’s human nature to paint a mental picture and categorize everything, including other humans, and that’s what I began to do.  I painted a picture of my colleague’s life- suburban, neat 4-bedroom home; a few children; married about 25 years to a fun guy with a well-respected mid-management job. I was floored when she proudly shared that her husband is in fact a garbage collector.  Her reality did not match the picture that I painted in the slightest. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of sanitation technicians. Following Superstorm Sandy, a New York City sanitation supervisor had made it clear to me how a city can come to a screeching halt if garbage collectors are not in place as debris grows mountain high!  I stopped painting a mental picture and categorizing and began to listen to learn more about my new friend.

I see this phenomenon in the cybersecurity hiring process.  Hiring managers paint a picture of what they need in order to consider someone a viable candidate-certifications, degrees, experience, etc.  Sometimes that picture does not match what’s actually needed to get the job done. In this very tight cybersecurity talent market I’ve seen highly viable candidates, with years of outstanding accomplishment and experience, dismissed because they didn’t possess certain degrees or certifications!

Have you ever been overlooked for an opportunity that you were more than qualified for?

Have you ever selected a candidate that had the experience, didn’t possess all the credentials, but proved to be right for the role?

As a candidate or hiring manager do you consider options like contract-to-permanent employment when everything seems right except for one or two minor factors?