A Resume Doesn’t Guarantee a Candidate will Deliver Results

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a cross-transferrable phrase when reviewing resumes. As a hiring manager, you may start by combing a resume for key buzzwords highlighting skill sets, education, previous employment, professional affiliations and accomplishments but a savvy manager understands this is a one dimensional approach to hiring a potential candidate. An awesome resume does not guarantee the candidate is capable of delivering results or fits with the culture of your organization.

Vet the Candidate, Not the Resume

Automattic, a blogging service with the mantra of making the web a better place, was recently featured in Harvard Business Review for their outside-the-box approach to interviewing. Before making a hiring decision they conduct ‘try outs’. It entails engaging (and paying) strong candidates to work on a real project with the team. It provides team members and the candidate an opportunity to see if the candidate can deliver the results required and work well within their virtual team environment. The selected project is directly related to the potential role. An initial resume is useful for attracting a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention but an increasing number of businesses like Automattic are looking to gauge how a candidate will perform as part of the interview assessment and prior to extending an offer.

A comprehensive ‘try out’ may not be feasible for your organization, but there are valuable and inexpensive methods to determine whether a prospective candidate with an impressive resume will perform on the job.

Resourceful HR has some key recommendations to help you improve candidate assessments:

  • Understand what is important to you and what is required of the candidate. Create a job description that lays out the results expected of the individual. Include aspects of the environment and culture that may impact how the role must function. By taking the time to tailor a creative, culture influenced, and transparent job description, applicants will understand what is expected when they choose to apply.
  • Conduct phone screens prior to scheduling an in-person interview. Screens can be tailored to ask specific questions aligned with the position, while providing an overview of related skills sets and experience. A good screen can also discern culture fit and provide insight into problem solving abilities. Phone screens save time and money by providing an initial assessment of relevant value to the hiring team.
  • Ask the right questions and train your hiring managers on how to interview. Not all hiring managers have equivalent experience when it comes to asking behavioral and skill based questions to assess capabilities. In addition to training hiring managers on the legalities of what can and cannot be asked, train your hiring managers on how to ask relevant questions that get to the heart of whether the candidate will thrive and produce in your work culture.
  • Always check references. When you think you have found the right person, double check the person will be a good hire by validating prior work behavior and characteristics. Checking references not only confirms interview results but also should confirm a pattern in defining the individual and what they legitimately bring to the table. Design open-ended questions so references are required to share examples and situations, which will improve accuracy and showcase personal attributes.
  • Hire a recruiting consultant to support and advise you on your hiring process. Clients wear many hats in their organizations; the recruiting and hiring process can be a major drain on time and productivity. Hiring the wrong person for the job is equally costly, when you look at hard costs and the impact on morale and productivity. Working with an experienced recruiter who can take on time consuming aspects of the recruiting process such as phone screens, sourcing, training managers, checking references, and candidate engagement, can make life easier, reduce the risk of a bad hire, and greatly increase the opportunity to have a great hire.

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