TED@UPS: Hiring the Scrapper

What happens when your whole life seems engineered towards failure – and you actually succeed?


Your company launches a search for an open position. The applications roll in and two qualified candidates are identified.

Person A: Ivy League, 4.0 grade average, flawless resume, great recommendations. All the right stuff.

Person B:  State university, job-hopped around a bit, and has held a lot of odd jobs, including cashier and singing waitress.

Candidate A falls into a category my colleagues and I have labeled “silver spoons” – people who have enjoyed clear advantages and who seem destined for success.

Candidate B is an example of who we’ve named “scrappers” – people who have overcome tremendous odds to give themselves a shot at success.

Over the years, I’ve learned something about people whose resumes read like a patchwork quilt of jobs and experiences. What I’ve learned is not to be too quick to dismiss the scrapper.

I don’t hold anything against the “silver spoons.” But if your whole life has been engineered towards success, how will you handle the tough times?

On the flip side, what happens when your whole life seems engineered towards failure – and you actually succeed?

That’s something scrappers have in common: They don’t think they are who they are in spite of adversity.  They know they are who they are because of adversity. 

So, who are you going to bet on? Silver spoon or the scrapper? Check out my TED Talk to see who I would pick and why I’d choose them. goldbrown2

Click here to learn more about Regina. 


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Regina Hartley is a human resources director for UPS Information Services

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