How to “Read” an Applicant’s Resume – Instant Hiring Video Tip

Discover how to get the most information from an applicant’s resume.

How to Read a Resume to Find Better Quality Candidates

Read any resumes lately? Chances are you’ve seen resumes ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other… Resumes that looked like pieces of art, resumes that went way over the top trying to gain your attention and resumes that a toddler probably could’ve done a better job on!  Let’s face it, it’s getting more and more difficult to derive any benefit from resumes these days.

But that’s not to say there isn’t important information that CAN be gleaned from a resume to the trained eye. The challenge with sorting through and reviewing a lot of resumes is you begin to zero in on and focus on exactly what you’re looking for which is typically the content (employee work history, work dates, progression, etc.). Everything else becomes background noise… including some things that you shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss.

For instance, if you’re hiring for a position where attention to detail is a necessary trait for the incoming employee, you should pay close attention to how the resume is presented. An astute applicant with a high attention to detail will not only use a pleasing font but the layout and structure of the resume will also be flawless. Are the indentations on the resume all lined up? Does the format look clean and crisp? Is the information presented in a manner where it’s easy to follow and understand?

In addition, look for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Written and verbal communication is a huge aspect of most managerial and higher level positions today so spelling and grammatical mistakes should not be overlooked. If you find a lot of spelling or grammatical errors, either you have an applicant who’s too lazy to spell check or they’re just incompetent. In either case, they’re probably not someone you want working for your organization.

How an applicant puts together and organizes information on their resume can be a huge indicator of the type of work they will produce if you decide to hire them. If an applicant turns in a sloppy resume you can probably bank on the fact that their quality of work will be sloppy as well.

Focusing on the structure, design and grammatical errors of a resume can be a great way to weed out unworthy applicants if the position you’re hiring for requires a high attention to detail and any sort of writing skill what-so-ever. So the next time you’re checking out resumes, don’t just focus on the content  but take a look at the overall presentation and quality of the resume because it will lead to a higher caliber applicant making his or her way through your hiring process.

Case Study: Mike’s Carwash Named one of the Top Small Workplaces of 2009!

I am very excited to present this case study. Mike’s Carwash has been a client since 2004. In late September, the Wall Street Journal honored and recognized Mike’s as one of the Top Small Workplaces 2009! You can read the full article here.

One of the many factors that contributed to Mike’s Carwash receiving this designation is their rigorous employee selection process that all applicants must go through. They hire approximately 1 out of every 100 people who apply! Needless to say, they are very selective. Mike’s is only interested in hiring top-performing, customer service oriented individuals and has been using two assessments that we offer; CandidClues and JobClues. These entry-level screening tools enable them to go much deeper than a traditional job interview and predict how well a person is suited for their unique work environment.

In this case study, I interviewed Tom Wiederin, HR and recruiting manager for Mike’s Carwash. He holds nothing back, and describes in detail the process they use, along with key factors they track to ensure the employee turnover is kept at a minimum.

Be sure to listen at 6:20 into the interview. Tom talks about a key factor that is directly linked to identifying top applicants.

Congratulations to Mike’s Carwash for being recognized as one of the Wall Street Journal’s Top Small Workplace of 2009!

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The Dog Ate My Homework and Other White Lies People Tell.

From padding expense accounts to pilfering paperclips, more and more often employees feel entitled to get a “little extra” from their employers. Short of watching every person every minute, there is no way of measuring how often white lies are told or petty theft occurs in the workplace.

If, like Pinocchio’s nose, each lie became immediately apparent in a person’s profile, business owners could easily weed out employees who cheat and deceive. So, how can an employer predict who might be prone to “borrow” a few dollars, take advantage of sick days, or even surf the Net to find the next job while still on your clock?

Background checks catch a very small percentage of the “white lie club” because the majority of employees who steal—68.6 percent—have no prior criminal record. It’s the apparently honest employee who typically commits this sort of soft deceit.

Most people think of themselves as trustworthy. Others may disagree. Research shows that people lie in one-fourth of their daily social interactions with 91 percent of those surveyed saying they lie routinely about matters they consider trivial. (Source: The book The Day America Told the Truth) One out of every four adults in the United States may lie to get ahead. Ninety-three percent of Americans admit to lying at work. Most of us lie an average of three times a day, about as often as we eat

Where does this behavior start? Apparently at home and long before a person joins the workforce. Twenty percent of parents polled by U.S. News and World Report think it’s appropriate to do their children’s homework. Twenty-five percent of adults think lying is all right if it helps you get ahead.

In a 2003 Josephson Institute of Ethics survey of 12,000 American high school students, 74 percent admitted to cheating on an exam at least once in the past year. Thirty-eight percent of respondents say they stole from a store in the past year. Those who say they would be willing to lie to get a good job jumped from 11 percent from 2000 to 2002, according to study results.

There is light on the horizon: Eighty-four percent of students agreed with the statement: “My parents want me to do the ethically right thing, no matter what the cost.”

What can an employer do to take advantage of this hopeful statistic? Consider using the newest generation of personality tests for pre-employment screening. These tests gauge what hourly employees consider good and bad workplace behavior and what path an executive, professional or manager might take when forced to choose between right and wrong. Although an effective screen, these tests may not be enough to filter all bad behavior traits. That is where a skilled interviewer can make the critical difference. By asking behavioral and situation-based questions, this interviewer can expose the “little devil” in all of us and cut though the magnetism of a suave and debonair candidate before bad behavior later on repulses him. 

Hire employees with good dogs … those that don’t eat homework. Even more important, hire employees whose ethics match those of your business. For more informationb about the CandidClues, a cost-effective, entry-level honesty and integrity test, click here.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.