The importance of looking beyond academic success when recruiting – commentary


With all the changes we’ve seen over the past year, with the stratospheric rise of the digital universe and the significant change in the way we do business, a whole new generation of highly skilled and knowledgeable talent in digital has emerged – and it’s disrupting the traditional world of work.

This new group of disruptive, forceful and shameless voices from the business environment has been forming for some time. The pandemic has simply provided an opportunity to supercharge their efforts and show how it is they who are now leading the way.

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Traditional career paths are rare in the tech industry. Instead, we see a generation of practical, digital-aware, digital-curious self-educators who don’t see a lack of skills or even previous office experience as a barrier to their success.

Mr. Findlay became Managing Director of Hudson before his 30th birthday.  Image: contributed.

Mr. Findlay became Managing Director of Hudson before his 30th birthday. Image: contributed.

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We hear from hundreds of bright, sharp, theoretical candidates, but when it comes to ‘doing’ they don’t know where to start. With the increasing use of platforms like GitHub, which essentially allow tech enthusiasts to improve and showcase their skills, companies like us can see what candidates can do before they are offered a job, which that helps us make informed hiring decisions.

It may be a generational attitude, but it is an attitude that all industries should learn from, as it gives job seekers and companies hiring in the tech industry a length of time. ‘advanced.

How did this affect the approach of hiring managers? Has there ultimately been a drastic shift in recognizing a person’s potential beyond their exam scores or whether they have a degree, whether that is relevant or not?

Technical skills can be taught, but personality not, he believes. Image: contributed.

Having left school at 16, I consider myself in a good position to have an opinion on the benefits of having a more holistic view in recruiting.

While not everyone is a natural leader or will become a self-made millionaire in their lifetime, the only thing I have learned is that attitude, ambition, and aspiration, coupled with a will. to be successful are far more attractive – and much more likely to have a positive impact on the entire organization – attributes than a list of notes on a resume. The traditional education system does not yet fully value these skills, but they are what will differentiate a person from their peers.


Walt Disney was known for his “attitude, not aptitude” hiring policy – an approach that I felt should be taken more broadly. Recruiting is a challenge for any business and finding the right fit can take time and energy, but looking beyond the resume, and looking at an individual’s attitude, is a viable way to make sure you take it. a successful date the first time.

Likewise, I don’t think you can teach a strong work ethic. The ability to be punctual, to understand the importance of going the extra mile, and to hold yourself accountable for the decisions and actions you take in a professional capacity are traits that are part of an individual’s DNA.

I have never been in academia. The traditional way of learning did not suit me. I was nonetheless eternally grateful to my teachers, who spotted the motivation in me and gave me the encouragement and self-confidence I needed.

My own career path up to MD was unconventional. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been thirsty for innovative design and creativity and bought my first website domain when I was 14 on a loan of £ 4. I have used it as a platform to acquire advanced skills and develop my knowledge and understanding of the online business space. After I left school, I used the website as my CV to secure an internship. It wasn’t a smooth road, but it was my first step up the ladder to become Hudson’s CEO before my 30th birthday.


According to Russell HR Consulting, a mixed approach to recruiting – focused on both personality and skills – is the most effective way to separate the wheat from the chaff and minimize the opportunity to make the wrong decision. . But it does happen.

Recently, Hudson was brought in to work with an e-commerce client who had engaged with a senior consultant on a work program to boost their online business operations. The individual had all the qualifications required on paper, but lacked the practical skills, experience and practical knowledge that come with working at the mine.

With the speed at which our industry is changing, it is imperative that customers have access to people who really know what they are talking about. The company that appointed the consultant on the basis of his CV lost the contract.

I’m looking for people with life experience, rather than direct experience, and the right personality. Technical skills can be taught. Personality cannot. As a company that works with clients whose business is primarily in the retail industry, I have been able to benefit from employing very experienced people who have a good understanding of the industry and teaching them how to work. turn to digital business models.

It is the hunger and thirst for knowledge that I look for in candidates. I want them to show me something different. I want to see what really motivates them and where their passions lie. A traditional resume doesn’t really do that – and I’m sure great candidates are overlooked as a result.

Ryan Findlay, Managing Director of Hudson Commerce

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