By Carolyn Heinze
While applicant-tracking technology has definitely helped to
streamline the recruiting process, it hasn’t cut down on the sheer number of
candidates that are applying for jobs. If anything, technology may be
responsible for increasing the volume of applicants: it’s faster to submit a
resume online rather than print one out, put it in an envelope and post it in
the mail. This, combined with a challenging job market, has HR professionals
and hiring managers struggling to sift through hundreds of resumes per
advertised position, in addition to all of the other responsibilities that fall
under their realm.
Carolyn Thompson, author of Ten
Easy Steps to a Perfect Resume (BookSurge), Ten Steps to Finding the Perfect
Job (BookSurge) and Ten Secrets to Getting Promoted (CreateSpace), not only
counsels job seekers on how to land a position, she is also heavily involved in
recruiting. In a recent conversation with tEDmag.com, she offered this advice.
What is the secret to screening resumes?
CT: When you are looking at the
resume, you need to know what it is that you really want. If you need somebody
for a long-term project, or if you need somebody who is going to be a permanent
employee who is going to move up, you’re going to be looking for different
things. Someone who is trying to hire someone for a project will be looking for
people who have a history of taking on projects. People who want to be at a
company long-term and have a career progression are looking for different
things than someone who is a project-based person. Know clearly what kind of
person you need to hire and what your true need is.
What is your ultimate
resume-related red flag?
CT: The biggest red flag for me is
typographical and grammatical errors. Somebody who emails their resume with a
cover note that is typed in all caps is not really somebody who understands
professional communication. That person, generally, doesn’t have close
attention to detail.
Do you run into a lot of
situations where people lie on their resumes?
CT: The advent of the Internet and
LinkedIn and Facebook have kind of taken away some of that. Someone can send in
a resume that doesn’t have the name of their employer on it, but I can find the
name of their employer by looking them up on LinkedIn, and nine times out of 10
they have the name of the company they’re working for on there. We don’t see as
much of that as we used to, prior to the advent of Internet job boards. But
puffing up of qualifications and/or resumes filled with keywords that the
person really doesn’t have any substantial experience with –– we do see that.
How should one go about finding
out whether or not a resume has been puffed up?
CT: Framing questions for the
interview process around what is important for you. Asking situational
questions is a really good way to get people to talk about their actual
experience with something. Getting them to tell you stories about their experience
of how they have used something, or been involved with something, will give you
a good background as to how much experience they have with that.
What are some of the mistakes that
you see recruiters make when they are screening candidates?
CT: I see people looking for
reasons not to interview people as opposed to reasons to interview them. Trying
to pick people's resumes apart when they don’t really know their stories is
probably the biggest mistake that people make. It doesn’t take that much effort
to get someone on a Webcam, or to get someone on the phone to ask them a couple
of quick questions to determine if you want to bring them in. It's not that
That’s the “human” part of human
resources: to not pass too early a judgment on someone’s paper presentation
before finding a little bit out about their story and what their journey has
been, because everyone’s journey is different.
Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.
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