Unique and superbly talented people can be found in all sorts of places. They have backgrounds that don't necessarily line up with our popular pre-conceptions and often have overcome challenges that don't present themselves through a Boolean search on LinkedIn or Indeed.
Antoni Gaudi probably wouldn't show up on your search. The architect behind these remarkable structures shown above would probably never make it through today's screening/ gate- keeping process.
His brilliance might very well have been over-looked as the recruiter checked off:
- How many years he had been an architect?
- How many traditional office buildings he had worked on?
- How his career had developed over the years and whether he had reached certain milestones?
You see, Gaudi was an introvert and an aesthete. He was sickly and didn't take particularly good care of himself. Actually he was sometimes mistaken for a beggar, so chances are he wouldn't pass the first interview based on appearances.
He had average grades in school and occasionally failed courses. The Director of the Barcelona Architecture School was quoted as saying "We have given this academic title either to a fool or a genius. Time will tell!" So his academic credentials were sketchy at best.
He rarely drew detailed plans of his work and most were created in three dimensional scale models so a company that had a non creative person pre-screening process would probably shrug their shoulders and move on to the next candidate.
I'm not naive enough to think that we're going to stop using the amazing tools that are available to us today. But, more and more we spend less time interacting with each other and more time in front of our screens. As we know all too well, it's often through these random meetings that we meet unique individuals that would normally remain hidden away.
So what I'm suggesting next is probably considered a bit of heresy, but here are some ideas on uncovering these unique talents:
Be open to different when it comes to search criteria
Be less demanding in your 'must-have' criteria and open up your pool of candidates. Attitude and grit go a lot further than 3 years versus 5 years of a particular skill.
Get out and connect
Commit to one meeting per week with someone that you might not normally meet with. (e.g. check out
Hi From the Other Side
- a unique U.S. way of meeting someone with other political views).
Ask people questions about themselves and have a real two way conversation. Extend your network sideways rather than uni-directionally.
Read different books
Come up with a unique value proposition for your organization
When you're talking about your company, and what you do, tell people stories about the impact that you've had on other folks or companies. This generates all sorts of unique conversations which then get passed on to others who want to feel part of something bigger. (Check out Selling With a Noble Purpose).
Treat every candidate well
When you treat people with respect, i.e. the way you'd like to be treated, it gets noticed.
Hire recruiters that you would be interested in spending time with
Recruiters are your gatekeepers to the world. Does their lens match yours when it comes to what defines greatness? How do they see candidates...in one, two, or three dimensions? Does their life experience open them up to the 'outliers' that are around us?
I would hate to miss out on t
he next Goudi. Open yourselves up to meeting new and varied individuals. You'll be amazed at who's out there