We presented a strong slate of candidates to a client this week. The recruiting process had gone well up to that point and, anticipating good news, my Project Manager was intensely curious to hear feedback from our client. (We also knew they had been looking for quite some time prior to engaging us on the search, so we knew they had high standards). We discussed all six candidates at length with the client and the conversation seemed to go very well.
Project Manager: "So what do you think of the candidate pool?"
Client: "So far I like what I see, but I'll reserve judgment until I meet them. I know I'm hiring a person and not a resume."
That's exactly right.
Seth Godin wrote a great post on "What are you good at?" He observed that "Content" - skills and domain expertise - look good on a resume (such as knowing excel or having a CPA). But these things are overvalued in the hiring process.
Unlike domain knowlege, "Process" is more subtle. It's emotional intelligence - that ability to persuade others, or manage a project with tact and discretion, or deal with multiple priorities. It is harder to show on a resume, and more difficult to comprehend in an interview, but ultimately more critical to success on the job.