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In July I had the honor of facilitating a session for the University of Washington’s Women in Chemical Sciences and Diversity in Clean Energy groups about how to write a winning a resume. Just as I shared tips about writing resumes, I want to share tips for hiring managers about what to look for when reviewing resumes.

1. Make the job description count.

The most important task for a hiring manager is to make sure that the job description for an open position is as accurate as possible. Candidates apply based on the information you provide regarding the job. Be sure it’s accurate and does everything it can to engage potential applicants.

We talk a lot about how recruiters spend less than a minute scanning a resume; the same can be said of applicants. Your job description needs to compete for their interest. Take stock of the skill sets that are making your organization successful and determine which skill sets will be needed down the road so that you can start building your talent pipeline.

Don’t just describe the role on paper, make sure you talk about the role and expectations during the phone interview and again during the in-person interview. You want to make sure the individual knows exactly what they need to deliver from day one.

2. Prioritize what is relevant.

Once you have an enticing, accurate job description, make sure that you know what level of experience is truly required, what skills are non-negotiable, and what knowledge an applicant might be able to learn on the job.

Hiring managers and recruiters can become so overwhelmed by the possibilities, or mired by the details, that they review resumes beyond what is necessary and may never find “the right one”.  When you look for one candidate who meets every single requirement, you may lose top talent. Instead, highlight and make note of your top three to five requirements so you can keep those in mind as you review candidates.

3. Review for relevant experience that relates to the industry.

The group I spoke with in July all have numerous academic achievements and accomplishments, many of them will complete their Ph.D. and then begin looking for a job in the STEM industry. These students didn’t have professional industry experience per se, but many of them had internships or volunteer roles that provided valuable industry experience.

As hiring managers review resumes, it’s important to consider all relevant experiences that relate to the industry. Don’t immediately dismiss a candidate just because they are a recent or soon-to-be graduate. In addition to deep academic knowledge, they may also bring insights and innovative ways of thinking which will add to your organization, and may have industry experience gained via other methods.

I’m a recruiter, so of course I want to encourage hiring managers to partner with recruiters throughout the sourcing and hiring process. When hiring managers and recruiters work together to proactively build relationships, we can make great progress and hire the talent your organization needs.

Working with an augmented HR service provider such as Resourceful can help you assess what talent you need, write job descriptions that attract the talent you want, and assess the applicants to ultimately hire the candidate who will contribute to your organization’s success.