How Much Does Pedigree Matter on Resumes?

Does where someone attended college really determine their value? Or how about where their last place of employment was? Episode Two of the #GoBeyondResumes video series challenges recruiters and hiring managers everywhere to question if pedigree truly matters when evaluating resumes.

Tigran Sloyan starts the episode with a profound statement: “Many people believe that those who work at top companies like Uber and Twitter or those who go to universities like MIT or Stanford have some innate ability or are geniuses at birth or have been given some extraordinary talents by their respective institutions.” Think about that for a second. By just attending, or better said, by just saying you attended a certain university of prestige on your resume, you automatically fall into the genius bucket regardless of your actual talent. And if you have talent, it’s because you learned it through your university. Some of this may very well be true but it’s certainly not the end-all-be-all.

Episode Two features a special guest, Raffi Krikorian, an engineering leader with ties to building teams at large tech companies such as Twitter and Uber and currently the Chief Technology Officer for the Democratic National Convention. Tigran asks Raffi: “How do those with a lot of pedigree coming into the job differ from those who don’t have the same credentials?” Raffi doesn’t think it matters all too much. He touts how one of Twitter’s best early engineers didn’t even have a high school diploma.

So what are we missing here? How can a software engineer not have a college degree or even a high school diploma and yet had been part of creating one of the top five most popular social media platforms in the world? Raffi can answer that for us. According to Raffi, he loved software engineering so much, “…that this was both his job and his hobby.” He had passion and self-discipline which no degree or even university can drill into someone to that extent. So it’s more than just the school and company name, it’s the practice and effort that gets them to go far and if you ask most “geniuses” about their journey, you’ll likely hear the same feedback.

Tigran ends the episode by presenting what he calls the “resume challenge” to Raffi in which he had to choose the resume of an industry-famous engineer before he became well known. Recruiters on average spend about six seconds reviewing an individual resume so the challenge limited Raffi to spend that amount of time on each resume. After looking through about 10 resumes of various pedigrees and background, at the end, Raffi did not choose the resume of Python creator, Guido von Rossum. The lack of a prestigious university or work experience at a popular company on Van Rossum’s resume threw Raffi for a loop and he used no popular keywords that a recruiter would normally use to qualify him as a worthy candidate.

Join the #GoBeyondResumes movement and start looking beyond the pedigree on a resume to find the right talent for your organization. 

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