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A Teacher, a Biologist and a Physicist Walk Into My Office


After 32 years in the technology industry, I’ve learned that you can’t judge a person’s capabilities by the degree, or lack thereof, on their resume. I bring this up because in the automated world of HR Information Systems, “Minimum Education…” and “Minimum Experience…” qualifiers on job postings, there are a lot of great candidates that are being overlooked.


The Physicist, Biologist and Teacher that I refer to in the title of this post ran circles around many of their peers who had B.S. or M.S in Computer Science on their resume. Why? Because they had a natural curiosity and love of problem solving, they were critical thinkers that applied logic and creativity to their work, they worked their butts off to learn new ways of solving problems and they brought questions to those who knew more than they did.


Intellectual humility, an attitude of continual learning, ambition, work ethic, timeliness, respect for others, asking for help when necessary and being willing to learn from one’s mistakes, those are attributes of an individual that I will gladly invest my time and resources. How refreshing would it be to have a job description show up on your favorite job posting site that highlighted those characteristics instead of an arbitrary number of years of experience, minimum education or a grocery list of "required" skills.


People are not cogs in a wheel or interchangeable parts in a machine, so the next time your HR report spits out the top candidates, take a look at the ones that got rejected, you may find jewels of brilliance and capability that just didn’t put the right words on their resume.


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