One thing I’ve never liked about applying for jobs is the initial screening process is all about a resume, a single piece of paper. And there is so much more to a person than a single piece of paper.
Just ask Josh McCown.
McCown is now an NFL quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after having his best season last year, at the football-ancient age of 34. But the real story is that he got a second chance in the NFL, and it certainly wasn’t about his resume.
If he had a resume, in 2010, McCown would put that he played for the Hartford Colonials for the United Football League. If you have never heard of the UFL, you’re not alone – it was failure, largely because of its lack of talent. It is an embarrassment that McCown, in what should have been the prime of his career, played for the lowly UFL, a league filled of has-beens and never-weres.
Here’s the part that didn’t show up in the resume: McCown, right before the start of the Hartford Colonial season, was offered a quarterback job for the Chicago Bears, one of the most storied teams in the NFL. He turned down much more money, much more prestige, much more everything to play for a league destined to fail.
"It just didn't sit well with me," McCown recently told ESPN. "I had done a ton of press releases and appearances and stuff like that for the UFL. I know it sounds silly to turn the Bears down, but something in my stomach just didn't sit well. I felt like it would be a bad example to my kids to say, 'Give your word to somebody until something better comes along and then break that.'"
That’s integrity. Turning down fame and fortune and everything else that goes with being a quarterback in the NFL because he made a commitment to the Hartford Colonials. THE HARTFORD COLONIALS!
Eventually, McCown would sign with the Bears and had his breakout season in 2013. But turning down the Bears for the Colonials, that’s something few of us would ever do (I know I wouldn’t).
The point is if you were to just look at McCown’s resume, he’d never get a job. I mean, he played for the Hartford Colonials in the prime of his career! How could he play quarterback in the NFL!?
Now, NFL teams probably knew the full story, because NFL teams have almost-unlimited resources and can take some real time knowing all the candidates. But the rest of the world doesn’t have that advantage, we don’t have time to know the full story of each candidate.
So we look at the piece of paper and make initial decisions off of that.
Today, though, with technology, there is a better way to do it. And I’m proud to be part of a company that makes people more than a resume, more than a single piece of paper, while still making it manageable for the hiring team.
Because a person can’t be explained by a piece of paper, they deserve a voice, an opportunity to explain who they are.
Just ask Josh McCown.