Over the last two months, my daughter has been dedicated to applying for jobs. In this tough economy, I believe she has completed 65 job applications and has had approximately ten phone interviews and two face to face interviews. It’s tough out there.
It has been interesting to look at the types of information people ask to see on a job application. A small few have asked to see her GPA, and I find that refreshing for many reasons. Here are a few thoughts for those of you in executive recruiting positions:
1. A high GPA does not always equal a great employee. As a matter of fact, it could be a liability. If a candidate is book smart but cannot network or carry on an interesting and creative conversation, this candidate may not be your best selection.
2. Be careful to use telephone interviews as your only means to an end. I have talked with people over the telephone who sounded dry and boring. When I meet them, I am then just shocked at how impressive they are. So, take that extra step to meet someone face to face.
3. Look closely at the candidate’s skills and qualities, including:
- Strategic Agility
- Ability to Multi-Task
- Networking Savvy
- Political Savvy
- Ability to Take Risk
- Languages Spoken
- Communication Skills
4. If you are interviewing a candidate, and you are concerned about the GPA, do some digging by asking these questions:
- Tell us about the courses you took.
- Did you work during college?
- What volunteer activities did you engage in during college?
- Tell us about your internships. Where were they, and what skills did you bring to the table?
- Tell us about your network. Describe for us how you network with people your own age all the way up to more senior C-level executive suite.
If I look at a resume and see a lower GPA, I would much rather hire someone who worked during college, was active in their local and greater community and who took tough courses over those easy/slide by courses.
5. Ask the candidate to take on an activity…something that will be relevant to the job, and ask for the activity to be completed by a due date. If the candidate turns back in a pretty high quality end product and ON TIME, you have probably landed on your golden child.
At the end of the day, don’t hone in on the GPA without doing your homework…you may be turning down one of the best future leaders for your company.