Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hiring Qualified Candidates

It occurred to me in the midst of reading a pile of resumes that writing a proper resume is a rare skill. Resumes are an easy way for employers to narrow the pool of candidates.

We’ve all heard stories of an employer placing an ad for an open position and receiving hundreds of resumes. This is true. What is also true is that there are few applicants that have all the requirements to make it to the top of the pile for a call to interview.

Case in point: 

The marketing person placed several ads for an open position at the company. I was charged with narrowing the candidates and conducting first interviews.

Out of over 500 resumes submitted for one position, I narrowed the pile down to 10. It was a simple process. 

Of all the resumes submitted more than half were incomplete. The ad specifically asked for a resume and a cover letter. There were more resumes without cover letters but there were a few cover letters without resumes attached.

One of the items listed in the ad was the request for salary expectation. The department budget allowed for a certain range for the position. Anyone listing too high likely wouldn’t take the position, so interviewing would be wasting their time and mine. Anyone listing too low likely had too little experience. Again, interviewing would be a waste of time since several years of experience was a requirement.

The cover letter demonstrated the applicants’ communication skill level. All positions at this company interact with customers, vendors and co-workers. Verbal communication and documentation of conversations in notes, orders or email is required.

Each resume is a snap shot of the applicant’s experience. It also demonstrates how they organize information. Resumes should be clear and easy to read. Those that were poorly organized were set aside. 

While some employers require each skill in their ad, I was looking for overall ability with a teachable attitude. The applicants with at least most of the required skills and interesting additional skills caught my attention. If there were other skills listed I knew they weren’t just using the ad to write their resume.

Contact information the resume and the cover letter needed to match. If the phone number and email were available I knew the applicant was eager to be contacted. I did see some resumes with no contact information.

I was a little nervous about narrowing to 10. Ten applicants could take most of the day to interview. But there were applicants who didn’t answer the phone or respond to the message. So the list was reduced to five.

Two out of five nixed themselves because they didn’t show up to the interview.

After the interviews, I had three qualified candidates. Each was given a second interview with the CEO. He liked them all but only one followed up. She got the job.

The steps for selecting appropriate candidates were as follows:

1)      Resume with cover letter (252)
2)      Salary expectation in cover letter (157)
3)      Structured cover letter with proper grammar and correct spelling (30)
4)      Clearly organized resume (23)
5)      Appeared to have the experience necessary (17)
6)      Contact information on the letter and resume (10)
7)      Answered the phone or returned the call for an interview within a day (5)
8)      Showed up on time with their resume in hand (3)
9)      Followed up after the interview (1)
 10) Started the job on Monday.

1 comment:

Tony Laplume said...

I've come to loathe the application process. Even if everyone does it rationally like this, most of them really don't. I think they select at random.