Beyond the Resume, Part 2

By Ryan Mann

Last week, we discussed two techniques that can help you get beyond the surface of an employee’s resume. Here in Part 2 are more concrete examples to help you uncover a truly qualified candidate:

Seek Specific, Quantifiable Examples from Their Career

As mentioned earlier, candidates may have a very applicable background from your industry on paper. The previous job tasks written on their resume and the skills they acquired doing so may be more than you dreamed when you started recruiting for this position. However, candidates may be telling you what they did, but they are not telling you whether they did it well.

When talking through previous job tasks and experience, you want to find out not only what the candidate did on the job, but also how well they did it! When they talk about their job tasks, be prepared to follow up with questions asking for specific and quantifiable examples of their previous work. If they increased sales, we want to know by how much and how efficient they were. Ask for specific and quantifiable examples to prove that they excel at the most critical tasks you are seeking your new employee to perform.

Pay Attention to Job Duration

If a candidate has all the tasks and skills that you are looking for, but they had very short job tenures in their career, you should proceed with caution! You certainly do not want to spend the time and money to hire and then train a candidate, only to have them leave a short time later. Often, a candidate’s short job tenures may indicate that they were not very effective at their position. It could mean that once a project they were working on went to production or started to falter, they left for greener pastures and a clean slate.

Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes candidates have valid reasons for shorter job tenures. But don’t overlook these just because the candidate has the desired credentials.

Don’t Overlook the Reference Checks

If you are considering extending an offer to a candidate to be your new employee, remember that someone else out there has been this candidate’s employer or manager before. It is essential that you seek to get in touch with these people who have been in your role before. In most cases, the previous supervisors and managers will have mostly good things to say. They may give you some pointers on what to look out for or areas of weakness that you can get a head start on addressing. This is a great learning experience and will help you and the candidate get off to a great start.

In other cases, the picture won’t be as pretty. They may indicate that the candidate was fired for lack of punctuality. They may indicate that the candidate has fibbed about their job title or length of employment with a certain company. They may deliver a warning that is too great to ignore. For these reasons, thorough reference checking must be done, as you will inevitably get information not contained on a resume that will help you make a sound decision on all finalists.

Employment is a bit like a marriage relationship. While the resume may cause love at first sight, make sure to peel back the mask before tying the knot!

Learn from this employer’s highly publicized interviewing mistake!

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