I met with a Marketing GM, Keith White, and his recruiter, Allison, this week to discuss putting together an invitational recruiting event for their team, which is responsible for outbound (audience) marketing. Usually, when I end up strategizing a recruiting program for a hiring group, the conversation ends up being about target hiring profiles: what the people are doing right now, what companies they might be at, what schools they may have gone to, etcetera. All the things that are "searchable" on their resumes (effectively, the MBA programs and the previous companies do some of the filtering for us). The things that allow me to target talent pools. You want people that have an MBA from Kellogg, I know just where to find them. You want people who have experience from certain companies, we'll make some phone calls.

Well, the conversation this week didn't go that way. He just wants awesome people. He explained to me that on his team, he has a mixture of people with "pedigree" education (my phrasing, not his) and people without, people that came from large software companies and people that didn't. What they all have in common is some awesomeness. I used to support Keith myself when he ran the embedded product marketing organization and I recall him hiring someone a year out of a non top 20 MBA program that was marketing dairy products. I thought "cool, he's hiring for potential". I love it.

The challenge with hiring on potential is that from a recruiting process standpoint, it's *very* labor intensive. Hiring managers are usually most comfortable hiring on potential when they know the person. It minimizes the risk. I often find with events specifically, the people that the hiring team are most jazzed about aren't necessarily the ones with the "ideal" resume/profile (top MBA, several years software product marketing at a major company, track record of achievement, etc). The event offers the opportunity to get to know the people more than you do just by reviewing the resume. You get the chance to see what is awesome about them.

But...you cannot invite everyone that is interested to the events. You have to make some bets on what is going to work for the team. At a company that gets an incredible number of resumes a week, you have to funnel somehow. So now I am thinking about how, aside from MBAs and competitive companies, awesomeness shows up on the resume. Here are some thoughts we kicked around:

-alumni of the next ten b-schools after the top 20

-leadership in college (fraternity, sorority, organizations)

-recipients of specific kinds of scholarships, other kinds of awards

-scholar athletes

-fast career progression

A lot of the things we discussed were things we felt were "searchable" but specifically they seemed to be the things that people did in college. So now I need to ask you. Aside from working for an awesome company or going to an awesome school, what are the things on a resume that can suggest awesomeness? Of course we will still look at strong MBAs, competitive software marketers, but we want to open it up to other awesome people.

I'm super excited about the flexibility to hire in this way. I'm also thinking that the candidate generation and filtering process is going to be tough if some of our criteria aren't less ambiguous. Help!

PS: I'm skeptical about using GPA. So I'd like to get "outside the classroom" on the criteria.  What do you think?