Companies need to recognise unsung heroes.

When you apply for a job and your profile matches the description, you are almost guaranteed an interview. But not everyone’s profile is perfect and the further your CV departs from what companies desire, the harder it becomes to get an interview. It’s especially difficult for people with gaps in their CV, or with demands that companies deem unreasonable: mothers after maternity leave trying to return to work, men and women over 50 who are still keen to work, people who would like to work part-time. If you are in one of these, or similar groups, your chance of landing your dream job diminishes.

There is a fault in the system, and I think we don’t give people the respect and recognition they deserve. People whose profiles don’t perfectly match a job spec should still deserve fair treatment and be given a chance because:

1. People are adaptable. Even if some experience on their CV is missing, they can and will learn new things in the role.

2. CVs are subjective. People fill their CVs with information they believe to be relevant, but it is not always the information hiring managers or recruiters are looking for - that doesn’t mean the information doesn’t exist, though.

3. Companies’ expectations can be high and unrealistic. They are looking for people who live to work, not for people who work to live; for people who manage teams during the day, write code in their spare time, have 20 years of relevant work experience while being somewhere in their early-to-mid 30s. Oh, and if they run a comedy club at night that would demonstrate they are good communicators, and it would also be beneficial if they have a Nobel Prize in Economics.

People have diverse interests outside of a work environment, and those interests don’t show weakness.

Companies don’t make assumptions on people's past or provide unrealistic job specs - people do. Why is someone over 50 less capable, driven and employable than a 30 year old? Why is it so hard for women to return to work after maternity leave? Is wanting to work 3 days a week really a sign of laziness? Until you spend some time with people and listen to their story, I don’t believe that you can answer any of those questions.

The people who don’t shout about their successes, play political games, and have interests outside of work also make great employees and colleagues. However, their CVs get overlooked by recruiters, talent acquisition teams and hiring managers.

We base our assessment of a person’s quality on the fact that someone personally vouches for them and thinks that they are a great person and good at their job, and not on the fact that they didn’t work for 5 months because they have a baby at home, or on the fact that they are 55 years old.

Let’s give people the recognition that they deserve and look below the surface to find the unsung heroes.


Alex Odwell

Founder @ Referment