Resumés are just the Tip of the Iceberg
A resumé all by itself is virtually worthless. It’s how well you size it up that counts. Especially with the advent of on-line job boards, standardized templates, and professional resumé writers who deploy a variety of doctoring methods to make resumés appear more favorable to prospective employers, you need to keep your wits about you when appraising them.
Also, thanks to the Internet, it has become increasingly easy for job seekers to access your company’s e-mail directory to enable multiple submissions--even for opportunities for which they have absolutely no qualifications to recommend them. And our global economy has produced an expanded pool of job applicants with education and work experience from many different countries around the world. So how do hiring managers stand a chance of verifying candidates’ qualifications and industry exposure even before having the opportunity to meet them?
We’re not going to try to tell you that screening resumés is easy for anyone, especially when you’re confronted by piles of applicants. Our success in prescreening relies on our collective insight as a firm that has been successfully supplying personnel to North-American printing-industry companies for 15 years, as well as the individual expertise of our hiring managers, derived both from their direct hands-on experience in the industry and from reviewing countless resumés day in and day out. Our daily conversations with companies seeking to hire and candidates looking for continuing career development also help guide us in assessing which skills and backgrounds will prove most relevant and timely in today’s job market.
Resumé assessment 101
But even if you lack the benefit of such a broad and experienced perspective, you can still do a decent job of screening resumés by approaching the task rationally and systematically. Basically, you should start with your written job requirements. These are the essential screening parameters for the selection process. For each resumé, note the number of correspondences between the job requirements and the resumé’s contents. Also assess whether the resumé and any accompanying documents are organized, neat, free of errors, and demonstrate a sufficient command of language for the position you are filling. Assess the employment history for credibility, consistency, and stability: Are there specific examples of achievements and advancement? Are there inconsistencies in dates, education, or experience? Is there frequent job-hopping?
Create a candidate selection form
One way to obtain consistent information about the eligibility and suitability of all candidates is to create your own candidate selection form for each contender, with a table listing your job requirements on the left side and a blank column in the middle where you assign a simple numerical value beside each requirement (0 = Does not meet requirement, 1 = Meets requirement, and 2 = Exceeds requirement). Leave an additional blank column at the far right for your comments. Your total scores for each candidate can be used as a tool for prioritizing which ones to contact first: obviously, you’ll want to start with the highest scorers. Additionally, the candidates whose attractions exceed your requirements or who demonstrate highly specific expertise will also merit a second look to consider their potential fit not just for the vacant position but also your company’s long-term strategic plan.
Benefits of using a staffing agency like PrintLink
A major part of PrintLink’s value proposition is that we interview people who submit resumés to us to analyze, assess, flesh out, and document the full story behind the headlines. We probe applicants to uncover relevant experiences and skills that will transition well to our client companies’ defined requirements—sometimes factors that aren’t obvious in reviewing a resumé, but that, once uncovered, will spur us into make proactive practical suggestions to both hiring managers and job seekers.
In addition to the fact that all our managers come from backgrounds in the industry, we stay grounded there via writing articles for magazines and Web-based media, participation in industry trade shows and conferences, and active involvement with industry associations. This foundation enables us continually to interpolate market realities, trends, and future predictions for our clients, as well as apprising them of practical staffing solutions we have seen work before in the field.
Equally, we offer candidates market intelligence to help them realistically assess their place in the job market and its implications for their career evolution. Because of our effective results and honesty in setting people’s expectations appropriately, we continually attract good candidates who value our assistance in developing their careers. The result is that over years we have accumulated a large inventory of motivated and prequalified candidates in the United States and Canada, as well as a lucid understanding of the advantages each of these individuals actually brings to the table. All the detailed interactions of our daily intake of new candidates and updates from existing ones are logged in our extensive database, a tool that enables us to source suitable prospective employees for our clients with unusual speed and flexibility.
When we recommend a candidate to your company either on spec or for a specific position, we provide the person’s resumé (that we do our best to ensure includes a complete employment history), as well as a summary outlining our reasons for putting the person forward. We recommend only candidates whose career paths are most appropriate for your position—a factor that gives the hiring relationship a huge head start in stability. Thus supported by our concentrated, time-saving preliminary information, what hiring managers need to do is expand further on their assessment of the candidates though interviews, testing for both skills and profile, and conducting or reviewing reference checks. (Our previous articles for Whattheythink.com elaborate on best practices for all of these activities.)
Evaluating global experience
The globalizing trend has taught us to assess experiences from abroad--especially in our Canadian operation based in Toronto, a cosmopolitan city where almost every country on earth is represented in the population mix. (One executive from a prominent Canadian printing company recently said, “Toronto is where the world lives.”) Our conversance with Toronto’s wealth of candidates with global work experience helps us not only to analyze their industry backgrounds in terms that North Americans can understand but also to identify the specific strengths they can offer to North American companies through their past exposure to global markets.
Monitoring candidates’ motivation
Another important aspect of screening candidates for us is determining each person’s level of motivation both initially and if their enthusiasm shifts during the hiring process between the following three categories:
- Active job seekers – those who are either unemployed or are committed to making a change from their present employment.
- Passive job seekers – those who are happily employed but seeking career advancement.
- Tire kickers – The term derives from sales people in car dealerships, and refers to “simply curious” people who come around frequently, but are either permanently indecisive, or fault-finders, or can’t actually afford to buy a car. In the hiring context, we use it to describe candidates who are just testing the waters to see if they’re indeed in a good job circumstance or are potentially using their findings as leverage to advance their current situation. (“Your competitor just offered me a higher salary, so to stay with your company in my present job, I’ll require a $5,000 raise.”)
Especially since it has become so easy to submit applications electronically to companies like ours or to numerous, anonymous job boards, many people are turning into tire kickers. Unfortunately, more often than is ethical, such candidates will let the hiring process play out right to the final stage of a job offer before they turn it down on the grounds that they’ve elected to stay where they are instead. This sort of game-playing can become very frustrating and time-consuming for hiring managers--and to be honest, for us as well. Part of our value proposition is that we respect the fact that time is the most important asset anyone has to give. Not only does time equate to money, but it is also a premium commodity in a world increasingly focused on high-level productivity. Therefore, although we’re not infallible, we do everything possible to ensure that the candidates we introduce to employers will be appropriately motivated to accept the employer’s job offer in good faith once it is extended.