If you’ve ever had the pleasure of posting an open job and reviewing resumes, you’ve quickly realized that every applicant is different. Some follow the application instructions, some are taking a leap of faith, and some are not even close to being a qualified applicant! But, after you’ve weeded out the duds, the process of working through qualified resumes can be daunting. Here are some easy ways to separate the good from the great!
Spelling and Grammar
Ok, this is a low bar. Hard skills and qualifications aside, if someone has grammar or spelling errors in their resume or application process, I am weeding them out. Most computer applications (Word, Pages, Google Docs) all have spell check, there is no reason for mispelt words. Grammar can be tricky especially with some industry slang. Bottom line, if an applicant’s resume is proofread, egregious grammar mistakes should be caught before reaching the hiring manager’s desk.
Resume Lay Out and Readability
Diving deeper into the resume, I am a stickler for reader-friendly layouts and descriptions. It is important to get a quick snapshot of what the person has done and who they are on a resume. One to two pages is enough to create engagement if written well. A resume should not be a list of EVERYTHING the candidate has ever done. It should list our relevant accomplishments, certifications, and experience for the role they are applying for. The lay out should be concise, understandable, and linear.
A good question to keep in mind during the entire hiring process is “How did this candidate move through the entire process?” Are they engaged? Did they stick to their time frames? How are they holding themselves accountable? Quality, engaged candidates follow up, follow through, and move through each phase with ease.
Candidate Engagement and Preparation
There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with a highly qualified, unengaged candidate. Because of their hard skills, you are often overly intrigued and willing to cut them some breaks not afforded to other candidates. Quality candidates will show engagement in their preparation, follow up, and connection. Even if a candidate is passive, high quality candidates will come prepared with questions about the company, the role, and the hiring manager. There is so much information on social media, company review sites, and the company web page, there is no excuse for not being prepared.
These tips are not meant to weed more candidates out of the process but give the hiring manager more information on how to measure candidates. Far too often, we are seduced by hard skills, certifications, degrees, alma maters, competitors, or resume embellishments (We will cover that later!) that we need a different approach to grading applicants.
This is the beginning of every Selection Process, check ours out here.