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You Got All That From Reading the Resume? Really?

Posted by Bob Corlett on October 25, 2009

A few months ago I was talking to a CEO about one of his senior managers.  This manager believes he can read a lot into a resume, so he summarily rejects quite a few resumes when he is hiring.  The CEO decided to test this manager's selection skills by forwarding his own resume using a different name.  The CEO was, of course, rejected as unworthy of an interview.

Later, I read an article in Forbes and the lead-in to the story immediately grabbed me:

"The current job market reminds me of a story about a church committee assigned to hire a new pastor. Numerous well-qualified candidates applied, but none seemed to meet the committee's requirements. Frustrated with this perfectionism, one of the committee's members submitted an anonymous résumé with the accomplishments of a certain priest who had lived and preached in Galilee 2,000 years before. The committee reviewed the résumé and rejected it. Even Jesus Christ wasn't good enough."

Let me be clear.  I am not advocating for lowering your hiring standards.  Heaven forbid - after all, I am the guy who wrote "In Recruiting, 'WOW' is the New Normal" just a few months ago.  Managers should be raising their hiring standards now.

No, I'm just saying that too many managers spend too much time trying to interpret nuance from a resume, when they should be paying more attention to how they define the job specifications and thinking harder about how they actually interview real people.   Trust me on this one, you learn far less from a resume than you think you do.

Topics: Reading Resumes, Hiring Process