How do you spruce up your resume when you don’t have access to a computer? How do you prepare for an interview when you’re homeless? How do you compete with seemingly ideal candidates when your experience is far less than perfect?
Recently a photo of Shaun Beever went viral on social media. His compelling story is one of transformation and determination. UK-based Dortech Systems took a chance on Beever, who at the time of hire was homeless, unemployed and bankrupt. According to a story in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, his genuine attitude and desire stood out during the interview process.
Beever started out working in an empty store room. Today he manages 1,000 online orders a month, is moving to a larger facility and is starting to help hire others at Dortech. I think it’s safe to say it was a winning gamble for the company.
Facing a sea of polished and refined resumes, it’s tempting for hiring managers to ignore the less-than-perfect candidates. In general, the odds are stacked against people who job-hop, take long breaks between employment, took longer than normal to graduate college or don’t even have degree at all.
But the heart and drive of an underdog is an amazing thing. The problem, however, is that these things are not always evident on a piece of paper.
In Regina Hartley’s Ted Talk “Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume,” she discusses the draw of the “scrapper.” These people, she says, are the candidates who have to fight against tremendous odds to get to the same point as others. Compared to those with flawless resumes, scrappers’ experience tells a story that “reads like a patchwork quilt.”
“A series of odd jobs may indicate inconsistency, lack of focus, unpredictability,” Hartley says in her Ted Talk. “Or, it may signal a committed struggle against obstacles. At the very least, the scrapper deserves an interview.”
Taking a chance on hires is important for companies. Thinking outside the box can help boost workplace diversity, employee engagement, productivity and loyalty. Adversity and life experience can breed incredibly effective employees who are willing to work hard today because they’ve had to work hard their whole life. What’s more, these folks are particularly effective at problem-solving and adapt well to change.
The LinkUp blog “Benefits to hiring an unemployed candidate” notes it’s a big business mistake overlooking candidates who aren’t currently working, even if it’s been a long time since their last job. Some key advantages you may find in unemployed candidates that you may not in others are passion, enthusiasm, eagerness to work and the ability to start immediately.
These are likely some of the reasons why Dortech Systems hired Beevers. Would you have taken the chance? If you’re a recruiter, hiring manager or HR director, be sure to open your eyes and consider the scrappers of the world. They just might be your next star employees.