In today's world of increased speed and technology the resume review has become the first interview, and serves to narrow the field quickly and identify candidates that will most likely produce and last. So what should the hiring manager be looking for in the resume in the first sixty seconds to determine whether the candidate has passed the initial screen?
- Screen in candidates who are technically capable of doing the job and will be challenged in the position.
Do the experience track record, education and certifications appropriately match the requirements for the position? Often the position titles indicate where the majority of the work experience was gained for that position. If you are looking for certain experience you should be able to find it in the resume quickly. If you are looking for a similar industry you should be able to find that quickly. It is the responsibility of the candidate to write a resume that explains what each company they worked at does and their size. Will the candidate be appropriately challenged. If the candidate has done the position and responsibility multiple times they may demonstrate traits that they are not challenged in the position.
- Screen in candidates whom you do believe there will be personality chemistry with.
The resume reveals the personality of the candidate. For example, if you like lengthy, thorough explanations then you are likely to prefer a candidate with a longer versus shorter resume. If you like information passed to you in a concise summary you will probably prefer a candidate with a short but impactful resume. What about the sentence structure? Short sentences indicate a person who gets to the point. Longer sentences can indicate a person who prefers lengthier, fuller explanations. What about relevancy and the ability to put the reader (Manager) first. Resumes which emphasize recent achievements do this. Resumes that have jobs 15+ years ago with as much information as the most recent job demonstrates a lack of effort in this key task; resume preparation. If they won't prepare with the reader in mind in the resume stage how likely are they to prepare comprehensive yet well-communicated information for you once on the job? Does the candidate have a solid, track record of accomplishments stated in a direct, factual low-key manner rather than over promoting themselves in flowery language and excessive superlatives?
- How stable is this candidate? Are they willing to take appropriate risks?
Look at the track record of the candidate. If they have switched companies excessively, quickly and randomly with little logic - then be prepared. They may not be with you very long either. History does repeat itself. There may be extenuating circumstances - if so the candidate needs to communicate that in the resume. On the other hand - if someone has been with one company for a very long time - they may be less likely to be able to adapt to new situations and take appropriate risks. An ideal candidate shows a track record of internal promotions while also having an exposure to several companies. They demonstrate a track record of achievements, promotions and added responsibilities over an extended period of time.
- How well will the candidate handle change and ambiguity?
In today's competitive world the need to thrive in change and ambiguity is increasingly necessary. Does the resume demonstrate this? In the accomplishments area - is there evidence of creative solutions? Has the candidate lived in different places? Has the candidate worked in different job functions? While specialization becomes increasingly important later in careers - what evidence is there of the ability to thrive in different settings and culture?
- Trust your Instincts.
Will the candidate fit-in? It has been said one should "hire for aptitude - fire for attitude." That is nice, but the smart hiring manager wants their new hires to both produce and last, avoiding the expenses and liabilities from a bad hire. Therefore the hiring manger should think through whether the candidates' attitudes will fit with your company for the longer-term. Will the candidate be able to pleasantly tolerate the internal dynamics of your department and company? In the end, does the resume feel right? It should have proper margins, spacing, grammar and layout. Trust your instincts. If you have a hard time figuring out the resume will you be later able to trust and rely on the person to help you make sound decisions in a timely manner?