Should we remove the CV from talent acquisition?

Talent Acquisition

…Select on attitude, character and skill, not the CV.

Is it too much to ask that the foundation stones of talent acquisition are built upon attitude, character and skill? Process and systems support in many positive ways but for people, and people is everything in the Hospitality Industry, is it important we look at the traits they possess?

It should also include those that are disabled or those from other backgrounds, such as sport. Talent is talent. There are a number of MDs today who arguably would have had more barriers in their post today as they rose up the ranks. There have been a number of leading players who are dyslexic and may not have made it to the same level today. How can this be effective?

What are these foundation stones?

Attitude and character are key as people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mind-set or a growth mind-set. With a fixed mind-set, you believe you are who you are and cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle makes you feel hopeless and overwhelmed. Those with a growth mind-set believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mind-set, even when they have a non-academic background, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Hence interestingly, those from sporting backgrounds and from disabled backgrounds who have faced and overcome challenges that many will never have had to face, they will have to have shown real inner strength and character.

Success in life is about how one deals with failure. Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is smooth and easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mind-set manage setbacks.

Other stones include:

  • Passion and care are key in life and work
  • How often do we measure a candidate’s work beyond themselves – how they do show leadership in daily life
  • What does their background and track record tell us beyond the CV
  • How do they present themselves and their social and presentational skills in influencing others

Why is this important?

Many of the leading Industry players have been dyslexic or started careers as chefs and worked their way up. They were given the opportunity many today are denied. How can this be correct? How much talent are we losing?

The base principle must be that great talent can be nurtured if the character is there.


Dr Travis Bradberry, President at TalentSmart, argues strongly that attitude is more important than intelligence and gives examples of countless successful people:

  • Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore for being “too emotionally invested in her stories.”
  • Henry Ford had two failed car companies prior to succeeding with Ford.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s Cinematic Arts School multiple times.

This is about fairness and encouraging all talent to be represented correctly if they possess the attributes. It shouldn’t be about database recruitment, job boards and box ticking but a bespoke service for talent who have real potential.

If you would like to dicuss, please contact EP here

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