Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Should you tell the whole truth on your resume?

I interviewed a sales candidate yesterday who presented me with an interesting question - about whether he should have put an aspect of his life on his resume.

The "aspect" in question is that he is a nationally ranked triathlete. If this was you - would you have put it on your resume?

This came up in the interview when the candidate and I were discussing the culture at FirstRain and what it's like to work here. We work hard, but we also play hard and some of us like to find events to compete in together ... and the candidate had read this blog so he drew my attention to his interest in triathlons.

But at the same time he shared that he had had advice from friends not to put his interest on his resume - because a prospective employer might think the training would take up too much time and distract him from his work.

In the FirstRain case, being a traithlete can't hurt - and frankly I think winning in sales takes focus, discipline and mental toughness - some of the very same characteristics it takes to complete an ironman or a marathon so it's a positive to me.

And in the general case candidate's outside activities rarely hurt their chances with me. You can learn a lot about someone when you understand their passions and what drives them to perform - whether it is coaching their kids soccer team, rebuilding old cars, or running up the side of mountains. So I like to know color about a candidate if s/he is willing to share because it helps me assess character and individual's strengths and weaknesses.

Within reason of course. There are some things I also don't want to know...

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