As I indulge in what remains of my box of Valentine’s Day chocolates, I have a whole new appreciation for the wise words of Tom Hanks from the movie Forest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Although this quote was undoubtedly referencing the unexpected twists and turns that our personal lives can take, I believe that Forest Gump’s infamous quote can extend into the professional world. After all, if you have ever been a part of the hiring process you know that candidates are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

Knowing that your candidate pool will be full of assorted applicants with varying levels of education, training and experience, how do you determine who will be the best fit for your company?


Look beyond resumes:

Resumes are like the decadent exterior of a chocolate. They make an amazing impression, but only provide a limited view. While resumes can make a candidate look appealing, you won’t know if they will be a good fit until you invite them in for an interview. To find out if a candidate has substance, look beyond their resume and ask questions that will give you insight into how well they will fit in with the culture of your company, if they will be a team player, and if they are willing to take on new challenges.

Interview without expectations:

Just like biting into a chocolate, it’s best to go into an interview without expectations. Having high expectations can cause us to make allowances for those that aren’t the right fit simply because of how impressed we are with the information on their resume. On the other hand, going into an interview with low expectations can cause us to count a quality candidate out before even meeting them.

Get a second opinion:

We all have personal preferences and biases. I personally love orange cream filled chocolates, while others can’t stand that flavor combination. Similarly, you may get excited about hiring a certain candidate that your team can’t stand. To avoid hiring a candidate based on your preferences and bias alone, invite another manager or team member in for interviews or to review resumes. They may be able to offer a different point of view during the hiring process and help you to choose a candidate that will be the right addition to the team.


If you find yourself struggling to make hiring decisions amidst the array of applications that you receive, make sure that you look deeper than a candidate’s resume, leave your expectations out of interviews, and seek a second opinion.