I’m helping one of our program administrators hire for a position she needs to fill. In reviewing resumes, we often use a three point scale, where a three represents a candidate we “must” bring in, and lower numbers represent decreasing “fit” between the candidate and the position we are hiring for. It’s a rating scale that my supervisor first introduced me to when reviewing resumes with others, and it has provided us with a lot of food for thought, particularly when numbers are far off for multiple reviewers.
Of course, it isn’t just the number that represents the data. It’s the feedback we often leave for each other on the resumes and supplemental documents (like cover letters) themselves.
For this hiring cycle, my colleague wrote “Unique Experience” on one of the resumes, and it got me to thinking: What makes experience truly unique?
It’s true that this candidate’s experience is quite unique for the role being applied for, and I wondered whether the “unique” nature of one’s experience is seen the same by all. In other words, would my knowledge of all the words of the movie Spaceballs be considered “unique?” Does my ability to beatbox with the best of them also register as “unique?”
I know, I know, these are kind of silly examples, but the point I am trying to make is that uniqueness of experience may very well rest on the perceptions of the person viewing it. The best beatboxer out there might not think of my experience as so unique, but to someone who has never met someone who can? Definitely.
The bigger picture here is that we need to always consider the terminology we use when we provide feedback, even internally. While in this case I agree with my colleague, in other cases I might not. Often, the most helpful feedback is feedback that is wholly based on evidence, and can’t be discounted. Whether exploring the hiring of a potential colleague, or reviewing the growth of a learner we work closely with, how we represent feedback can be the difference between growing with it, or shirking from it.
I’m looking forward to meeting this candidate and others, and as we explore who we want to hire for this role, engaging in conversations about what they bring to the table, and speaking the same feedback language.