When looking to recruit a candidate, dealing with an atypical profile can be a little scary… Sometimes considered as “UFOs” on the job market, atypical profiles are often rejected, or even worse, silenced when faced with their applications. And yet, hiring a candidate who “breaks the mold” can be a real asset for the company. According to a study conducted by the Indeed job board, “54% of recruiters even believe that an atypical professional experience has already had a positive impact on their hiring decision. To better understand the differences in profiles, we decided to interview several people with singular backgrounds who were directly confronted by the difficulty of the job market 👇
What is an atypical profile?
Atypical profiles often define people who have had a singular career, or in other words who are a little out of the “norm” because they fill several boxes, but not always those desired for the position…
Thomas, 34 years old, falls into the category of what we can call “an atypical profile”. After having completed a BEP, then a Bac Pro in commerce, he then moved to the retail sector to become a department manager. After more than 9 years of professional experience, he decided to reorient himself to train as a computer developer. This was a decision that he thought about for a long time and really wanted to make. However, he came up against various difficulties, as recruiters are often very wary of a non-linear CV: “When I wanted to go back to school on a work-study program, it took me a while to find a company to take me on. Most of the companies I applied to were looking for people who already had experience in the field and were also held back by my age…” says the young man.
When I wanted to go back to school on a work-study program, it took me a while to find a company to take me on. Most of the companies I applied to were looking for people who already had experience in the field and were also held back by my age…
Thomas, 34 years old
For her part, Manon, 28 years old, has had 3 professional experiences in the last 5 years. Far from being attracted by the new, she quickly found herself demotivated by professional experiences where she did not find meaning in her work: “We spend a lot of time working and, unfortunately, I have not yet found the company in which I could devote myself fully. Poor organization, almost non-existent internal communication and in a more than particular context for the past year, I find it very difficult to find meaning in what I do every day.” However, she only wants to find an experience in which to invest herself 100%.
We spend a lot of time working and, unfortunately, I have not yet found the company in which I could devote myself fully. Poor organization, almost non-existent internal communication and in a more than particular context for the past year, I find it very difficult to find meaning in what I do every day.
Manon, 28 years old
What if it was time to put an end to these prejudices?
“We are our choices”, Jean-Paul Sartre. If the choices we made a few years ago could define us at the time, this is not always the case years later! But it is sometimes difficult to get rid of certain prejudices in the eyes of recruiters who find themselves involuntarily biased… Here are a few examples and our advice for approaching a different vision of things:
We are our choices
“Did you see that resume? The candidate has changed companies three times in the last five years…it doesn’t look very serious.”
Without knowing what the cause is, the candidate will often be directly considered as the “cause” of this instability and his or her candidacy will not always be appreciated. If this form of volatility can slow down and show a lack of commitment, it can also bring out the search for new missions that are interesting and meaningful to the candidate! Indeed, one of the main motivations of non-standard candidates is to find meaning in their work – much more than to climb the ladder at high speed or to be able to claim a salary increase. It also means that the person has been able to refine his or her desires and know what drives him or her to build his or her future professional career through his or her various professional experiences.
If you are interested in the candidate, but have questions about his or her various experiences, don’t remain isolated and organize an exchange with the candidate! Feelings and intuition remain very important in a recruitment process, and this will be a perfect opportunity to exchange with him/her in all transparency in order to understand the reasons for his/her different professional experiences over a short period of time. In addition, you will also be able to assess the candidate’s soft skills to ensure that he or she will be able to adapt easily to your environment and exploit his or her soft skills for new activities.
“Did you see that application? I think he’s been through every industry!”
In most job offers, we find the mention “first experience in the field is desired”. So, if this can be an undeniable reassurance in the eyes of the recruiter, should the fact of having tested several sectors of activity or, on the contrary, of having evolved only within one sector really impact the application? On the contrary, the difference can be a real plus… Do not recruit only clones, but rely on people with different profiles who will bring their own personal and professional experiences to distinguish your company from another. Moreover, whether it is in terms of the sector of activity or the function, atypical profiles are often real Swiss Army knives with an undeniable sense of versatility!
The job market can sometimes be quite complex and encourages us to seize the opportunities that come our way, without necessarily thinking about the impact that this could have on our future professional career. Therefore, recruiting a candidate who has never worked in your industry before is not necessarily a bad thing… It will allow you to bring a fresh perspective and challenge the existing. Moreover, a candidate who has already been able to evolve within different sectors demonstrates an inquisitive mind, which is not afraid of the new. They will adapt and integrate more easily into your teams.
“Okay, in terms of the application it seems to match. However, his degrees are not related at all…”
It is not uncommon to see recruiters who are looking for a candidate with a degree from a top school… However, when we know that, according to the OECD, the lifespan of a technical skill is now 2 years, it is essential to look beyond the CV and evaluate behavioral skills, which are more difficult to develop. Furthermore, it is important to differentiate between studies and passion; many self-taught people train themselves in technical skills, and this is no less valuable than people trained in schools, on the contrary, since they are highly motivated and continuously train themselves!
Integrating certain methods such as soft skills assessment into your recruitment process will allow atypical profiles to express themselves more freely, and to highlight their strengths such as their most developed behavioral skills. This is a great way to stand out from the more “linear” and reassuring profiles, which will not necessarily be the best recruits for your company… Also, to show you that you are right to trust them, despite the lack of diplomas in the field, “atypical” profiles will not fail to show a very strong commitment and a high degree of involvement.
When we know that 80% of the jobs of 2050 do not yet exist, turning to “atypical” profiles can be the solution. Indeed, adapting and challenging oneself are essential soft skills to face a world in perpetual change. However, there is no point in systematically opposing “linear CV” and “atypical profile”. Both will present real assets for your company and behind each CV may be the talent you are looking for!
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