The Tipping Point of Feedback

By Michelle DiMattia, Class of 2017 Career Advisor

By Michelle DiMattia, Class of 2017 Career Advisor

As a Career Advisor I spend a lot of time helping students sharpen the various tools in their recruiting toolbox: the perfect resume, the attention-grabbing elevator pitch, the compelling cover letter, and the insightful question that cuts through what can feel like recruitment propaganda.

I truly believe that working with someone else can provide tremendous value when preparing for the various aspects of recruiting.  

  1. An outside perspective can see how a point on your resume highlights the success of a project rather than just celebrating the impact you had on that project.

  2. Someone from a different background can help you cut out the jargon you didn’t realize was actually distracting from your elevator pitch.  

  3. Someone who has recently been through the recruiting process can help you focus on highlighting the stories or skills that were top of mind for recruiters.

At Booth, where the pay-it-forward culture is so strong, there is never a shortage of people willing to help and provide guidance!

However, despite the tremendous value that can be gained from external review, there inevitably comes a point when you no longer benefit from seeking out that additional feedback.  There are two main reasons for this.  

First, recruiting is inherently subjective because what is considered valuable or desirable will differ amongst firms.  And this is exactly why seeking out diverse perspectives for input on your recruiting approach is so valuable!  Yet, too many opinions can sometimes lead candidates to dilute or contradict their message in an effort to try to appeal to each person’s definition of “value”.  

Second, in recruiting--as is the case in business generally--the law of diminishing returns applies.  I remember getting to a point last year where I spent hours swapping action verbs on my resume because my mentor told me one thing and Management Consulting Group (MCG) told me another. Or spent hours trying out different ways to emphasize leadership and teamwork in my interview examples because peers gave different advice.  And while it was important to have strong action verbs and punchy interview stories, I definitely hit a point where the effort I was putting in was far greater than the benefit I was getting out.   

...in recruiting—as is the case in business generally—the law of diminishing returns applies.

Again, I am not saying that review and feedback is not important – I think it is critical! But I do believe that it is important to always be conscious of the value you are expecting and the value you are actually gaining. My best advice is to take a minute to think about the value you want to get from each recruiting activity early on.  Whether it is a resume review, a coffee chat or case drills, ask yourself what you hope to gain from each activity. And equally as important, be honest with yourself about when you’ve hit a certain saturation point.  Recognizing that can can allow you to redirect your efforts to another activity where you can truly benefit.

Michelle is ready to complicate recruiting preparation by giving Boothies some of that much-needed career advice. By appointment of course.