Is it really THAT important?
Over the years I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard an employer say “I was so impressed with the resume”, or “I don’t believe I want to interview this person, since I didn’t like what I saw on the resume”.
So what is the true purpose of a resume? Yes, it does “represent” the job seeker and it can tell a story both positive and negative. But truthfully I don’t believe that the majority of the pre-assessment of the person should be solely (or even largely) based on the resume.
There are many savvy resume writers that can be commissioned to write a well-constructed, impressive resume. And on the flip side, there are many bright, well versed people that are not very adept at creating a professional document that truly reflects who they are.
I use a resume as a tracking mechanism first and foremost. I can track a timeline as to where they have been and what they have done; but truthfully you must clarify and gather the information directly from the job seeker to capture the most accurate and truthful information.
Sad to say, many people “play” with dates and job descriptions, as well as successes they have had and contributions they have made during their career. It’s not unusual for a candidate to embellish their skill sets or accomplishments; and the inverse of this are the many people who never offer pertinent information about themselves that I was able to gather during in-depth conversations regarding their history.
My recommendation is to create and develop a protocol and approach to your interview process that enables you to create a “safe place” for the candidate sitting across from you. Be aware of how uncomfortable and awkward this encounter can be and begin to create an environment that will give them the opportunity not to be fearful of sharing their true history and background.
The information obtained at this meeting should be noted for your reference. Be sure to ask for more clarity so that everything that you are gathering is as accurate as possible. Letting the candidate know that “we all have strengths and weaknesses, including myself” will enable them to be frank and honest and not necessarily sugar-coat their responses. The interview encounter can be extremely valuable, and when handled tactfully can offer the interviewer information that will far exceed anything that might be offered in print.
I strongly recommend that you and any team members that are involved in the interview process keep in mind that the most important thing to remember is to assure the candidate that you will not judge or cross-examine them during your conversation, but rather provide them the opportunity to share honest and true information about their strengths and weaknesses. This forthright approach will allow you to evaluate their skill sets more objectively.
Consider the old “pros and cons” scenario and then carefully decide if the pros outweigh the cons, and whether you and your team can work with this person and assist them to develop the strengths and talents that you require for the position and for your practice. Too often great employee possibilities are passed by and those that turn out to be wrong for the practice are quickly hired. Start an interview regimen that includes structured due diligence and systems, and you will find a much more successful, long-term hire.
Oh, and think twice about requiring that they fill out a Hiring Application. Why take up precious interview time having them sit and list all the things you can ask them face to face? And you know from my previous posts* how I feel about asking them “what they made in past positions” or “what they want to make in this one.”
*To review a previous post on this subject, click here.
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