Looking at job applications and resumes is like panning for gold. You need a good eye to sift through the applications before you. But there are ways to use job applications and resumes to help you select the right employees.
But, before you start to read the applicants’ resumes, determine the job qualifications that are important to you. Write a job description for the position, which includes a list of the qualifications you believe are essential for this position. When you have a solid idea of the qualifications you need, locating them in the applicants will be easier!
When reading, remember to read between the lines. Look beyond the facts. Be sensitive to hidden signs in a resume, things that may indicate qualities of a successful employee. Here are the Six Steps:
Step 1. Divide resumes into three groups.
- Definites (those you want to interview)
- Maybes (those who might work out), and
- NOs (those clearly unqualified)
Step 2. Read a resume from bottom to top. The least-flattering information often is at the end.
Step 3. Go through the “maybe” pile and pick two or three to test your objectivity. Are your job qualifications valid? If you find “maybes” that are as strong as “definite,” rethink your job qualifications.
Step 4. Look for:
- Signs of past achievement. These could be an indicator of successful future performance.
- Patterns of stability and career direction. Don’t immediately turn down an applicant because of frequent job changes. Find out the reasons for the changes. Be wary of excessive changes unless the applicant has moved up with each change.
- Specifics in job descriptions. An applicant may be trying to inflate what was actually accomplished if a job description is too general. If you can’t decide between applicants, pick the one that spells out exactly what his or her accomplishments were.
- Indication of willingness to work hard. A willingness to work hard is almost impossible to predict from an application or resume. Two indications are: duties that went beyond normal boundaries of the job, and leisure activities that include volunteer work.
Step 5. In general, beware of:
- Applicants who show a great number of lateral moves (moves that bring no more money or responsibility than the last job). Two good reasons for a lateral move might be a career change, or to get off the unemployment line. Find out the reasons for the lateral moves.
- A lengthy description of education. Concern yourself only with the specific degrees or certificates an applicant has earned.
- Obvious gaps in background. A resume arranged in a functional form (jobs listed by function, not chronologically) may be hiding gaps in the applicant’s background.
- Candidates with a long list of hobbies or interests. This may mean that the person is either weak in experience, or too busy during leisure time to do good work in a job.
- An overabundance of qualifying phrases such as “knowledge of,” “had exposure to” and “assisted with.” An applicant may use these phrases if he or she does not have hands-on experience in the areas you want.
- A bitter or self-righteous tone. If anger shows through on an application or resume, chances are bitterness will surface in a new job.
- Gimmicky resumes. Using odd colors or unusual typeface so the resume will stand out. The candidate is rarely as interesting as the resume.
Step 6. Watch for unexplained periods of unemployment. Ask about them. Record the answer and check up on the explanation. If the explanation is verified, you’ve probably found an honest person.
Once you’ve identified the ideal candidate, use PayVision Online’s Employee Background Screening and Pre-Employment Testing and Screening tools to help you make the smartest hiring decisions for your company.