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King Tut's Tomb: A Guide to Unearthing Job Candidates

November 7, 2012
Related Topics: Top Stories - Frontpage, Applicant Tracking Systems, Recruitment
King Tut
King Tut's miniature canopic coffin.

There are hidden gems to be found. Locating them isn't always easy, but when you do, they can be worth their weight in gold.

In November 1922, months after the first issue of The Journal of Personnel Research, Workforce's predecessor, came off the printing presses, a major discovery had been unearthed. It was an unparalleled find that dominated the headlines of the day and captivated the imagination of much of the world then and for generations to come.

A young king had been found in the Valley of the Kings.

For 3,000-plus years, the sarcophagus for the pharaoh Tutankhamen—and all the gold and riches that followed King Tut into his final resting place—lay buried in Egypt's most famous graveyard. After years of fruitless searches and after a drop-dead deadline to make a discovery was set, archeologist Howard Carter and his team came upon the find of a lifetime. It all started with the uncovering of a step near the tomb of another king, Ramses VI.

That first step would lead to 15 others, taking the team to the entrance of the tomb of Tut, a king who died too soon and who is now the most famous ruler from Egypt's Dynasty XVIII.

After making the discovery, Carter wasn't sure what he had found: a tomb or a cache. He summoned his benefactor, George Herbert, or Lord Carnavon as he was known, to come to Egypt to witness what was behind an entrance buried for centuries beneath sand and rubble. When he breached the door by chiseling a small hole, Carter reported that he peered inside with a candle. Overcome with anticipation, Carnavon said, "Can you see anything?" Carter, astonished by what he was witnessing, replied: "Yes, wonderful things."

Wonderful things, indeed.

Inside the tomb was a priceless cornucopia of treasures and historical artifacts preserved for millenniums. The discovery also unleashed a renewed interest in Egyptology that persists today.

Speaking of today, there are important discoveries to be made in the 21st century, too. But it might require the same hands-on thoroughness Carter used to find King Tut's tomb to detect them and not relying on technology alone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-technology. That said, and maybe this will sound as useful to you as studying hieroglyphics, but when seeking job applicants, I do believe in taking a step back to recruiting's roots. After all, relying too much on technology will keep great candidates under wraps.

I understand that résumé overload is a real concern, but perhaps one of the first steps in unearthing the crown-jewel candidate is to print out and spot-check some of the résumés rejected by your applicant tracking system. Inevitably, some great candidates' interview chances were left for dead by a program that keys on words, not necessarily deeds. Or maybe you go old-school and search through some of the applications you're required to hang onto anyway that are entombed within a metal filing cabinet, inside a pile of papers stacked on a desk or sealed away in a file folder on your server. There, you might find a treasure-trove of information that hasn't seen the light of day in weeks, months or even years.

By all means, "see who else is out there" via the typical 21st century means when recruiting, but who knows if there's a diamond-in-the-rough résumé resting in peace in your office unless you look?

So go exploring before the résumé-mummification process takes place. Wonderful things could come of it.

James Tehrani is Workforce's copy desk chief. Comment below or email

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