Reading a Resume Better

Reading a Resume Better

How to Read a Resume Better

If you are responsible for hiring, sourcing, or recruiting for your organization, then the majority of your day may be spent reviewing resumes. When you post a position on a job board, you may have more responses than you thought possible or maybe you are searching a career site with results of more than 800 “matches.” Either way, reviewing resumes is time-consuming and a lot more difficult than you might think. It can be easy to toss out blatantly terrible responses, but making a decision between the candidates who are somewhere in between is not as easy as it may seem. 

Here are some tips to help you navigate through a sea of resumes:

1. Set up a hierarchy of ‘must-haves’ and scan for those first.
Review the job description and create two lists:  the absolute essential requirements to be able to do the job and the desirable traits/skills that the candidate should possess. If someone doesn’t meet the basic requirements of the position, move on and spend more time reviewing the resume of someone who does.

2. Screen in, not out.
This might seem counter intuitive to my first point, but don’t start reading a resume with the goal of eliminating the person. Your goal is to hire someone great. This is a frame of mind that is critical to your success in finding the right candidate. Pick up every resume with the goal of finding a way to for the candidate to be a match.

3. Look for positive trends and growth potential.
When reviewing the resume, you should look for trends of increasing responsibility and success. Let’s say, for example, you have a candidate who meets 70% of your requirements. Initially, this candidate may be tossed aside due to a lack of required skills. However, you should also be checking for promotions, responsibilities, awards, and after hour activities. These are signs of a strong candidate who is an active professional. With a small amount of training, this 70% match may become your strongest employee. Additionally, you should be looking for candidates with the right soft skills.

4. Be cognizant of transferable accomplishments.
You want to hire someone who will deliver results and accomplishments to satisfy your business needs. Look for instances on the resume of the person delivering the same or similar results, even in differing industries or positions. If you need someone to operate three different types of forklifts, turnaround an underperforming social media presence, or lead a sales team, then look for evidence of these traits/skills. The more examples of results similar to what you need for the role, the better the candidate.

5. Know your competitors and other industry leaders.
This might seem obvious, but successful companies usually have strong employees behind them. Next time you are looking at a resume, check out the companies your candidates worked for and see what they sought out in an employee. You can also look at the current employees in similar roles on LinkedIn to get a feel for the caliber of talent they hire. If a candidate has worked somewhere you know hires only REALLY good people, they are probably worth checking out. Also, don’t forget about the lesser known companies. They might be small and new, but their employees may be well-rounded, motivated, and creative thinkers!

In conclusion, resume reading is critical to your success in hiring top employees. By setting a plan, staying true to your goals, and knowing what to look for you will do what it takes to get the right people onboard. It’s worth remembering that just because the resume is a perfect fit for your business, a resume is only one dimensional. If someone appears to be a fit but you are not 100% certain, it is always worth doing an interview or brief phone screen to make a determination.

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