Resumes Don’t Show Up For Work

September 1, 2022

Titus Talent

Titus Talent

There is a big difference between what the resume tells you and how the candidate shows up in the actual workplace. 


Their professional experience and achievements are only a third of the puzzle when it comes to seeing the candidate and predicting their performance in YOUR organization. 

Take a step back for a moment. What does a resume tell you, or more accurately, what does a resume GIVE you? 

A resume tells you: 

  • Where a candidate has been (past jobs and school) 
  • How long they have been there 
  • What they have done 
  • A list of skills 
  • Potentially a short paragraph that reframes the job description into a task-oriented justification for their candidacy. 

What a resume doesn’t do is: 

  • Tell you what they ACHIEVED 
  • Give insight into where they are GOING (not just where they’ve been) 
  • An indication of how they perform 
  • Their values and motivators 
  • Communication style 
  • Character  

In fact, According to The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 100 Years of Research Findings, education has almost no correlation with job performance. In fact, education provides only 1% predictive ability.

Whether a resume says Yale or a community college, the school a candidate attended tells us little about how they will perform on the job. This is not to suggest that skills are not acquired, or specific knowledge not attained from an education. They are. – Predictive Index – How Good is Education at Predicting Job Performance 

Experience and time in the job ultimately tells you very little. This is what a resume entry might look like: 

McPherson Goldenberg Google and Son. Operations Manager  

May 1977 – Nov 1979, Portland, GA  

  • Supervised, delegated, and coached six departments to ensure floor display and product knowledge is current and accurate. Updated and maintained data via record system. Set weekly and monthly schedules for overflow to backup departments.  
  • Addressed and resolved client billing errors and complaints. Updated and maintained client financial data and personal information via database remotely.  
  • Ensured proper maintenance and usage of all equipment and supplies. Observed, trained, and coached back staff to follow all safety protocols while operating machinery.  

From this resume entry we learn the following: 

  • Candidate oversaw 6 departments and had a goal 
  • Spent 2.5 years at the company 
  • The company name. 
  • They trained team members 
  • Set targets 
  • Update records 
  • Had/followed a protocol 
  • Solved problems 

Well, the candidate has training experience, has managed teams, worked with financials, solved some problems, and worked for a great company for longer than average. A proven winner…not so fast. What don’t we see? What exactly is going to determine their success? Let’s take a closer look.  

  • We see that the candidate oversaw 6 departments and had a goal, but how did they lead? Were they approachable, how did they care about their people? How many people joined/left the team and why? What was their impact? Were the departments successful, why? 
  • They spent 2.5 years at the company, however time spent in a role is not an indicator of performance. If you’ve seen Office Space, you’ll know. What did they achieve during that time? Were they promoted, why? What challenges did they face and how did they overcome them?
  • We know the company name, but how did they get the job there? Why did they make the decision to join the company. What was it that they were working towards that influenced their decision? How did they get the job? 
  • They trained team members. What are the tangible metrics that point towards successful team member trainings? Is it retention rates, promotions, referrals, testimonials etc.? Would that team member work for or with the candidate again? How did the candidate deal with performance issues? What was their communication style? Do they know how to differentiate between a poor, mediocre, good and great manager. 
  • They set targets. What were those targets, and how were they achieved? What would they have done differently and why? 
  • They updated records. What impact did the updating of records have on the performance? What was the frequency of updates? Which metrics were valuable to them?
  • They followed a protocol. What were the protocols and how did they relate to the overall vision of the project or role? Did they at any point challenge the protocol to increase efficiency? Did the candidate display initiative during their time in the role?
  • They solved problems. What problems were solved, and who was involved in either supporting the candidates’ efforts or hindering them? How did they navigate the relational aspect? Did they solve the problem by cutting corners or displaying lasting change? Were they the one who solved the problem or was it a “team effort” in which their impact was present but minimal?

There is a big difference between what the resume tells you and how the candidate shows up. 

The professional experience and achievement are only a third of the puzzle when it comes to seeing the candidate and how to predict their performance in YOUR organization. 

We believe that making a successful hire (which we would define has hitting the performance objectives over the course of the first year in the role, and beyond) you need to look at the WHOLE person. 

The WHOLE Person approach consists of the Head, Heart and Briefcase, everything that goes into how a person thinks, reacts/responds, what motivates them, the core values they hold and how they communicate with others and perceive the world around them. The WHOLE Person approach take these personal factors and adds in the resume, experiences, and professional choices of the candidate to give a full picture of what you can expect from the candidate and how they are going to perform for your team and how they align with your vision and values (which is immensely important). 


  • Behavioral Traits 
  • Cognitive Reasoning 

The Head portion is where we engage the Predictive Index, an assessment tool that helps us understand the way a candidate thinks, reacts/responds and their predicted ramp up time into the role. By understanding how a candidate communicates, thinks and acts (their behavioral traits) we can use that to provide a comparison to the benchmark set for the role. The benchmark is defined when creating the Performance Profile and takes data directly from team members who the candidate will either work alongside or report to. We can help gain an understanding of how the candidates communication style and behavioral approach will resonate with the team to highlight any potential blind-spots, areas of conflict that may arise and any areas where the candidate will synergize with their approach.  

In short, is this an area the candidate will thrive in or will it shut them down; there is no pass fail, simply insight. 


  • Core Values 
  • Interests and Beliefs 

What is a candidates why? What is fueling the choices they make, what drives and motivates them and how does that align with your organization. Will the seat you are looking to fill and the values and vision of your organization appeal to the candidates. If the answer is yes then you can predict that the candidate will resonate so deeply with your vision it will marry up with their own and you find yourself with someone who will invest in you and your company and will push through the inevitable difficulties that everyone has. They will also be more likely to be receptive to the investment you are making in them. It is a partnership, and true partnership is powerful. 


  • Professional Choices 
  • Resume 

This is where the skills, experience, achievement patterns and growth minded choices align. Can the candidate do the job? Anyone can learn a role, but do they have the necessary skills to hit the ground running and make an impact from day one? 

If you want to know who is showing up to work then you need to take a 360-degree view of the candidate, to look beyond the resume and find out what lies beneath.  

Resumes aren’t going away, that’s not going to change (they might look different in our digital world) but how you read them and what you look for will benefit from a re-evaluation.


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