SingleStone Recruiting: Judging a Book by the Inside of Its Cover

Hiring great employees takes so much more than glancing at a resume. A SingleStone recruiter shares the unique qualities she looks for when interviewing candidates.

by Stephanie Northern

In a day and age where social media and job searching platforms have done anything and everything to share candidates’ resumes and qualifications with the entire world, you’d think the notion of finding and hiring talent would be a breeze. Well, it’s not. It’s actually more like a windstorm, with 50 mph gusts. Identifying great employees is no small feat. It requires a look at what’s far beyond a resume.

Every company has a method to its madness when it comes to hiring - whether it’s a focus on skills, certifications, industry experience, or the “Jack of all trades” who can stretch into a variety of roles. However, in this job seeker eat job seeker world, it’s human nature to exaggerate or even glorify the simplest of past roles. So there’s a lot to be said for those things you might not find on a piece of paper or a LinkedIn profile.

A resume is great for understanding a candidate’s skills, work experience and achievements, but finding great employees doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop there. Forget relying on checklists and job screening questions. While they may help to weed out capable candidates, they’re not going to teach you about an individual’s personality or cultural fit. Rather, it’s those shiny gems undiscoverable to the naked eye that reflect an individual’s potential, passion and eagerness – the bread and butter to what makes a great employee.

Unless you’re in the CIA (if you are, I love you, please don’t investigate me), understanding the human behind the resume requires an actual conversation, focusing on some key qualities:


Does this person stay comfy in their wheelhouse, or are they motivated to try new things? What do they do outside of work to develop new skills? Chances are, if someone’s willing to spend their personal time learning new tools and technologies, they’re the type of employee who’ll step up to the plate in unfamiliar territory and support their team without hesitation.


This one’s easy, especially for consultants. What drives them to pursue new knowledge or solve a problem? A truly curious person will naturally ask questions and dive deep. They’ll want a thorough understanding of the problem at hand, in order to create a holistic and effective solution.


Are they willing to be a circle in a square hole? In the world of consulting, and especially with our team, we look to our consultants to be flexible in taking on roles and tasks that might stretch them. While we don’t ask our Software Developers to fill in as Business Analysts, we do look for individuals to be open-minded. If you’re dealing with someone who is going to have a meltdown when they don’t receive a 500-page manual on their first day, it’s probably a good indication that they need a lot of structure and guidance. While some form of structure is necessary for businesses to succeed, leaving room for flexibility is necessary for your team to grow.


This speaks for itself. Well, maybe it doesn’t. Translation: Geekiness at Singlestone is the unique qualities, skills, and interests of each employee. Love slide guitar? Write fan fiction novels in your off hours? Awesome. We look for and appreciate a bit of quirk. We’re all geeks in our own right, but together, we make up a wildly talented group of individuals.


Towards the end of the conversation, you should have a solid understanding of how passionate the individual is. Passion is probably the most important quality to uncover. If there’s no passion there, you don’t have much to work with because, really, passion is the sum of all the characteristics above. If an individual is passionate about their work, they’re going to be eager and curious to learn new things. They’ll want to solve interesting problems. They’ll be flexible and jump at the idea of trying something new. They’ll also make for a great employee.

It pays to look at what’s inside the book before making a judgment call. A cover can be great, but it’s certainly not everything.

Do the qualities above describe you? Do you want to hang out with us every day? We are doing some serious hiring, so check out our open positions!

Stephanie Northern
Stephanie Northern
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