If you’re not familiar with the popular USA Network series Suits, I’ll give you a brief recap. Talented college dropout Mike Ross, who despite never actually attending a law school, starts working as a law associate for Harvey Specter. Harvey hires Mike despite the fact that he has no experience. Instead, he sees the talent and personality. It turns out to be the best decision he’s ever made.
There are many candidates out there like Mike Ross: no experience within the field, no fancy degree, and many temp jobs as work experience. If you want to hire like Harvey Specter you should be able to read the CV as a story, not as a checklist.
Don’t underestimate the scrapper.
Regina Hartley divides candidates as “silver spoons” and “scrappers”. The Silver Spoon is the candidate with a top university degree and great work experience, but the Scrapper has less relevant experiences and maybe a degree from an average university.
Working for a company with a strong brand name can have its perks: an inbox filled with applicants from silver spoons. Nevertheless, not all of us can have a strong brand name like Google, Facebook or Airbnb. The chances are most of your applicants are scrappers.
Don’t worry just yet. Harvey Specter hired a scrapper. You can make a great hire as well from the talent pool you have available.
Scrappers have the life experience that has built their character in a way that they are the most goal-oriented people you’ll meet. They have had to “fight tremendous odds” to achieve what they’ve achieved. They are very familiar with life’s struggles and will be the definite fighters on your team.
Passion of the underdog.
Personally I took up a lot of temp jobs while I was studying, so when I was done and out of the university I had to find an employer that would look past my limited experience. Luckily I did find a job and appreciated every minute of it.
I was a scrapper. Nevertheless, what my CV didn’t show was the extreme passion and commitment I was ready to take up. I worked harder than I’ve ever worked and put all of myself in the job, which paid off more than I’ve ever expected.
Over the years I’ve hired several other scrappers and every times, the outcome has been the same – they have more passion and willingness to make it work than any other candidate. They are almost never people who work 9am to 5pm. Those are the people who will stay up late in the night just to go that extra mile and deliver extraordinary results in order to show the appreciation for the given opportunity.
Underdogs have always had an inside urge to prove themselves. What they lack in experience they make up in passion and hard work. They are often more open to feedback and have an incredible hunger for learning.
Harvey Specter hired Mike Ross despite all his flaws. Many recruiters are looking for the ideal candidate with the ideal background and many times ignores the scrappy looking CVs. I’m not favouring either one of them. Sure, the onboarding process for scrappers might take some extra resources. But if your budget doesn’t allow you to hire Ivy League graduates with impressive experience, you might want to look at the CVs and try reading them as stories. Perhaps you have the next Mike Ross in there.
*Image credit – USA Network.