Recruitment today certainly isn’t an easy process. Today, recruiting a potential employee means a whole but more than striking off points on a checklist. Gone are the days when recruiting experts and HR executives would follow an exhaustive approach for evaluating a candidate’s competencies. Taking into account the infinite number of resumes HR receives today, it’s likely that he/she might not necessarily pay attention to how the resume is put together. Agreed a resume is the first point of contact between a recruiter and a potential employee. But questions like does the resume have a strong professional appearance? Is it properly indented? does it have a detailed account of the candidate’s educational qualification starting right from his/her SSC scores etc might not figure in the top of a recruiter’s priority list, today. A good resume should speak about a candidate’s approach to work and most importantly, how well candidates understood the broader implications of their work. Besides academic specifications and work experience, most hiring, managers will confirm, that extra curricular experience in any form, can be a powerful tool as skills developed through activities involving social work, volunteer work, sports, music, debates, arts etc can play a vital role when the time comes to apply for jobs, thus giving a candidate an edge over his/her contemporaries in the interview process. After all Knowledge and experience gained in any form- be it in a professional settling or a personal one, can never go waste. It might be unfair to assume that because a candidate has customer service experience that he/she will be a good customer care executive. After all dealing with client complaints can give the most experienced customer care executives a tough time but someone with an experience of doing volunteer work for a political party might have the right mix of subtle shrewdness and good persuasiveness.
Unlike academic degrees, knowledge from extracurricular activities is not earned, but learned. A HR manager can be impressed with a candidate associated growth NGO because it’s always admirable to have an employee onboard who’s socially active and a good people’s person or it can also be intelligent to have an national level football player in one’s swing for he/she may be a good sport and target-driven. A candidate resume would be considered invaluable if the candidate has no experience in such activities. Evidence of extra-curricular activity like working with an NGO gives more weightage to the candidate’s resume.
Extracurricular activities help build and foster qualities like teamwork, self awareness, adaptability, leadership and most importantly it reveals an individual’s drive to succeed and his/her ability to face challenges head on. Hiring candidates on the basis of his/her involvement with an extra-curricular activity can prove to be an effective hiring tool. The job function for which a prospective candidate is being hired becomes the defining feature. For instance, if one is recruiting for a core sales function, we look at the candidates’ vivacity, extrovertness, ability to connect to people motivation to win etc., which to a large measure can be judged by the candidates’ participation in extra curricular activities. On the other end of the scale, if we are recruiting for a core research driven function, more weightage would be given to the academic credentials that a candidate brings to the table.
A candidate with a genuine extracurricular experience is multi-dimensional, practical and application oriented and probably has emotional intelligence that helps him deal with crisis in a tactful manner. They provide insights about the person and give us a clue to who he/she really is and what makes him/her tick. A candidate having exposure to extracurricular activities indicates that he/she is sensitive has the ability to work with people, has the perseverance in tracking issues to closures owns up responsibility has handled challenging situation and is rational in expectation. In an increasingly interdependent and team working environment important role that mere academics or for that matter higher IQ.