Resume Roulette - Paper does not = people.

We all know that technology has made it very easy to advertise and receive applications. My belief is that it has made it too easy. Anyone can and will apply for every job that you post regardless of education/experience required and salary.

It is exciting to see the “number” of new applicants to your job post and that excitement soon turns to frustration when you realize that most if not all of them are not nearly qualified and/or live across a national border. I get it, but now is not the time to play resume roulette!

I do want to caution you however that not all candidates are as “unsuitable” as their resume might indicate.

Can you really judge a person by a piece of paper (or simulated paper on your monitor)?

It is my job to interview people and I do it often, regardless if I have an opportunity to discuss with them or not. I interview hundreds of people each year and here is what I have learned about resumes vs. people.

FYI - All of the following are sweeping generalizations!

• Be cautious of people with great resumes! Why is there resume so good anyway? How often are they working on it and modifying it.

• People that don’t look for work, generally have the worst resumes. Yes the people who you want – the people who are loyal. They don’t do their resume very often and have the least experience and knowledge of how to do them properly. And this applies to people in senior positions too.

• A resume in no way, shape or form is an indication of the person who created it. It is common knowledge that no one is great or enjoys all aspects of their job and the same applies to resume creation. People that are passionate about operations and being in motion generally can’t sit down and do a perfect resume – it is not in them. However, someone who enjoys administration will enjoy sitting at their computer and piecing together an appealing resume.

• Don’t judge candidates by the list (yes list) that is generated by the job board you use or your website. Often all you see is a name, city/country, current position and company (maybe) and that is enough information for you to eliminate a person form contention. Especially now when people have been downsized and may be working at a job below their abilities, it is important to look at their work history.

Some of the best performing candidates I have placed over the years were people I had to convince my clients to interview. On paper they didn’t add up – but in person they were the best candidate.

In my last post I talked about how people are your biggest asset. This is a perfect example about how a few extra hours invested could pay off if the perfect candidate doesn’t look perfect on paper.

Views: 374

Comment by Harold Ensley on March 5, 2010 at 2:13pm
"Some of the best performing candidates I have placed over the years were people I had to convince my clients to interview. On paper they didn’t add up – but in person they were the best candidate."

Absolutely... this goes for my hires as well. And this is why it's dangerous to short list via paper only, and why recruiters, in corporations should always own the shortlisting process. A weak recruiter allows paper to dictate reality.
Comment by Corey Harlock on March 5, 2010 at 3:00pm
Harold - I think you are a very intelligent man - because you agree of course.

This is possibly the biggest "value" we bring to a company - we have the time to actually explore and scrutinize resumes and talk to the long shots and dark horse candidates - who as you have pointed out can often be the best candidates.

Thanks for the comment.
Comment by Ron Rafelli on March 8, 2010 at 11:45am
Good points, Corey, however, in my experience the BEST candidates are those who take it a step further and, although they haven't looked for a job in years, go to the effort of educating themselves on the process, writing or having written for them a good resume, and following up after submittal. This extra effort says alot about the quality of work someone will to the table as an employee, as does the lack of that extra effort displayed by some of those you describe in your article.
Comment by Ron Rafelli on March 8, 2010 at 11:47am
Sorry, above should read "quality of work someone will bring to the table..."
Comment by SKI on March 8, 2010 at 12:15pm
>> In my last post I talked about how people are your biggest asset.

As Jim Collins correct me (and the world), "The RIGHT people are your greatest asset."

Big difference. A certain "Pretty Woman" might even suggest, "Huge difference!"
Comment by Corey Harlock on March 8, 2010 at 12:57pm

Thank you for your comment, however I must disagree. Having someone else do your resume, understanding the process and following up are not all skills that are known by applicants or things that they can afford or are comfortable with.

The means should suite the positions. If someone is able to "ace" the process you have outlined above, they would probably be great for a sales position - but what about an administrator or accountant. I don't think all of these attributes are esential to thier job and if they are poor at networking has no bearing on how good they are at thier area of expertise. This processachieves a whopping 50-60% success rate. If asked you for $1,000.00 and said there is a 50-60% chance I will pay you back - would you give me the money? You would probably want me to guarnatee the loan or give you some collateral. Why wouldn't you want to improve your chances at finding the right hire as well?

The process is flawed - how can every applicant be asked to complete the same process for every job? Is training for every position the same? Is the education required the same? So why should this process be any different.

Things have and are changing - perhaps it is time that employers look at this as a process and see how they can change it to attract the right applicants and find a way that they can best represent themselves.
Comment by Ron Rafelli on March 8, 2010 at 1:07pm

I agree that allowances need to be made to compensate for varying personality types, such as those who may be attracted to Accounting or IT (although I hate to generalize), to expect an HR department to delve that deeply into every single resume recieved, especially these days, is unrealistic. You have to have some baseline standards. Will some good candidates slip through the cracks? Probably, but you can only do the best you can with what you have.
Comment by Corey Harlock on March 8, 2010 at 1:09pm
I agree totally and I guess the direction I am trying to take the conversation is that maybe the process needs to be re-addressed and modified to "catch" as many of the good people as possible. It is obvious that the current process does not work at least 1/2 of the time.
Comment by Ron Rafelli on March 8, 2010 at 1:17pm
I don't know if I agree with the 50% failure rate statistic (that hasn't been my personal experience, anyway), but I do agree that in a perfect world less of the type of people we are discussing would fall through the cracks. The problem involves lack of resources (IMO). More due dilligence requires more man hours. That's a tough sell right now.
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on March 8, 2010 at 8:51pm
While I agree in theory that people shouldn’t be judged by superficial factors. I also believe that it is generally expected that professionals present themselves and their qualifications appropriately on their resumes, social media networking profiles or other related correspondence.

You are correct in stating that most people – high level executives and other top-tier professionals included - do not have much success with do-it-yourself resume projects. So what is the harm in those folks outsourcing that task to a subject matter specialist?

If I’m not a web designer, I could either by a “web design for dorks” book to figure out enough to slap something together -OR- I could hire an actual web designer to do the job. What would be more likely to produce the best result? Assuming I choose to do it myself, would others be willing to overlook any flaws -OR- would they assume the poor quality is reflection of other aspects of what I do?

That scenario would equate to building an ineffective resume or conducting a job search without being up to speed on how things work in this contemporary, competitive market. Most people involved with talent acquisition don’t have the luxury of time to examine each and every applicant for hidden potential.

It is incumbent upon candidates to market themselves according to the prospective employers’ needs. Or, alternatively, recruitment professionals could advise them to pursue professional assistance to do so.

When you only get one chance to make a great first impression, the ROI from objective, outside help should be immediately evident. Even if/when a talented professional is identified through networking or referral, their paper or online presence should be a consistent match and reflect the entire package.


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