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Generation Y – Is Potential More Important than the Resume


You know the feeling. Massive amounts of time and money are spent to receive an education that will, you hope, allow us to get a job where you can begin to build a successful and happy career. Problem is, how do you get the chance to prove to an employer that you have what it takes? Or better put, how do you get the chance to show your potential not just your summer employment record and school marks?

I have been following the story of the Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz and have found the reactions quite interesting. First of all, I don’t believe he is exactly right… or wrong. It is a tough debate. On one side the graduate job market is incredibly competitive.  A great way to stand out as a recent graduate is to have valuable working experience. In this case it may make sense to some grads to put experience over compensation. On the other hand, school is expensive! The average student debt for a Canadian student is $27,000! In this case it may simply be impossible to work without pay while the interest payments keep slamming you in the face.


I think we can all agree this is a problem with no easy solution. There needs to be a way for students to show prospective employers that they have potential, even if they don’t have the exact work experience the employer may be looking for. Most of us have not had the opportunity to demonstrate our true potential… yet!

I believe there are a couple of issues that need to be redefined when hiring recent grads.

  • Too much emphasis is put on the resume. Nowadays a “standout” resume is what gets you to the top of the list of a prospective employer. You are one step ahead if you are fortunate enough to have connections in the business world and/or excellent experience working for your uncle’s fortune 500 company in the summer. What if you don’t obtain those jobs, if you spend the summers gaining valuable leadership experience working at a camp or running your own landscape company where you need to be motivated, a self-starter, and have incredible work ethic? The latter may be great experience and this candidate may have great potential but unfortunately employers likely will miss it because due to their lack of work experience their resume has fallen to the bottom of the resume stack.
  • Interviews are not as important as we make them. Yes, interviews are a great way for managers to meet with candidates and begin to understand who they are, their past experience, and how they may be a fit for the role. Unfortunately the resume may miss out on key facts that employers desperately need. Key hiring points such as; can the candidate actually do the key elements of the job they are applying for? How does the candidate interact in a real-life business setting? Interviews are nerve-wracking for many candidates, employers must not disregard a candidate because of their performance in an interview. It has been proven that there is no relationship to how a candidate performs in an interview and how they perform on the job. Graduates need the opportunity to get past the interview and demonstrate to hiring teams that they have the potential to be a great employee.

Bank of Canada 20091022  cpgalBoth of these issues are concerning to me because I have seen it firsthand and as a recent grad I have experienced it myself. Employers need to realize they are missing out on some of the best candidates. Campus recruitment teams need to begin looking past the resume/interview and look for candidates with the potential to succeed on the job.

Research from Tom Oliver, PhD at the University of Guelph (contact us for your free copy), states that the typical job selection system can only predict differences in job performance across a candidate pool with about 40% accuracy, if the selection system is well implemented (selection system being resume screening, phone interviews, face to face interviews). Research was done on how to increase this accuracy. It was found that simulation exercises were the missing component to a selection system. Simulation exercises can take on several forms. Some involve written materials, such as a business case. In these exercises candidates demonstrate behavioural skills, such as critical thinking and dealing with ambiguity. Other simulations involve interactions with a role player, such as a new potential sales client. Tom found that when organizations added a simulation exercise to their current selection system the predictive accuracy rose to 85%!

Employers with campus recruiting teams need to realize that there are graduates out there with incredible potential. These simulations will allow recruiters to identify that potential by seeing the candidate in action.

We partner with companies to ensure they have access to the candidates who will be a right fit for the company and have the potential to succeed. This is done using our Hiring Simulation Assessment software. No longer will you only experience candidates in the interview setting you will be able to “Test Drive” them as if they are on the job today.

Let us show you how you can start hiring great potential for your future leaders with Grad Potential.

Generation Y – Is Potential More Important than the Resume

By Kyle Bissett Visit author's website

Kyle works with all levels of organizations to assist in their hiring needs through the Hiring Simulation Assessment process. Kyle is a graduate of Guelph University. Before joining Hire Results Ltd Kyle worked with Young Life Canada.
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