Why hiring the best person beats hiring the best resume
"Well, they looked good on paper." If you've ever said that about a recruitment misjudgement you're far from alone. Resumes are designed to make candidates look good; they're manipulated, remastered and reinvented to do just that.
So while the essential ingredients of a resume – experience, work history, qualifications – are the skeleton of a good candidate, it's the flesh and blood you should be taking most notice of. Here's why.
It's not there in black and white
A professional resume indicates a professional candidate, right? Wrong. A professional resume quite possibly indicates a candidate who simply got a professional resume writer to write their resume for them. Believe it or not plenty of people make a living doing nothing but write resumes.
So chances are that beautifully constructed self summary is anything but autobiography. It may well be absolutely no reflection of your candidate's abilities with the written word at all.
You can't read between the lines
If you laid the resumes of every member of your staff in a line, would an outsider be able to tell if you had a compatible group? No, it would be total guesswork based on a few self-confessed character traits.
But as 'outgoing' can be a euphemism for 'obnoxious' and 'team player' a euphemism for 'compulsive flirt,' guesswork really isn't the way to go. Observation is the only truly accurate way to judge any likelihood of compatibility.
Resumes stop short of what matters
How good is your candidate under pressure? Are they a level-headed type or prone to stress and regrettable outbursts? Are they a quick thinker or ponderous plodder?
Try getting honest answers to those questions out of a resume. While their two page self promotion might be as keyword rich as a Google search, the only key words for any potential recruit are "show me."
Get face-to-face with facts
That's when you really find out who the best people are. Interviews are generally more stressful than the job itself, so a candidate who deals with that stress with good humour and dignity has to be given serious consideration.
Finding the best person is about asking the best questions to tap into their true self. You can't get that from a resume. Use resumes as a first stage culling device to get interview numbers down to manageable levels. Then toss them aside.
The only skills you're looking for from there are people and performance skills. The best person for the job will soon put their hand up and say 'pick me!'
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