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Your First Contact with Job Candidates(From the January 2000 issue of Demolition, published by the NADC)
By Jerry Jackson, President and COO FMI Corporation Raleigh, NC
Before you ever shake hands potential job candidates, you, hopefully, scrutinize their credentials earn per This can be tricky sometimes deceiving, the right toots at hand, you can choose a few winners from the pile.First Step
Enlist someone else to help you make the first run through of the resumes. That person should check to make sure all your company's must have qualifications are met in the resume. As a rule, you should have more than one must qualification, but no more than five, otherwise the probability is high that no one will fit the bill. screening resumes always should have a list of every important qualification to compare with the resumes.Yes, No, or Maybe
Instruct that person to separate resumes into three piles Yes No and Maybe If, during the first resume screen there isn't enough information to determine if a candidate meets all the musts, put it in the maybe pile. Later, depending upon the number of resumes in the yes pile, you might be inclined to call the maybes to get more information. After the first screening, you or a group of your colleagues should intensify your screening efforts with those left in the yes pile. To effectively read a resume, start at the bottom first because you'll save time. Often the most important information is closer to the bottom of the resume. Look for positive attributes such as leadership experience and taking on responsibilities beyond those expected in a given position. An example might include membership or leadership in professional and civic organizations.What to Look For
Look for achievement-oriented resumes. When you read an achievement oriented resume, you'll know it. They focus on details of accomplishments, especially with offices held in organizations. They go beyond the average, Met productivity goals for 1996-97. For example, an achievement oriented resume would instead list, Reduced recoverable lost time by 50 percent in 1996-97 by implementing an incentive program. Be especially wary of missing items and employment gaps. Why isn't this person revealing everything in their professional career? Does he/she have something to hide? Also note overqualification and ask yourself, Why does this person want this job? Be aware that if you hire an overqualified person, he/she might just be interviewing with the dream job they wanted in the first place after only three months with your company. There are several different types of resumes, and people use them for all different reasons. For instance, candidates might opt for the Functional type of resume, which highlights work experience by project, to hide employment gaps or job hopping. Most people tend to use a chronological resume, which should list both dates and experience. Unless candidates are applying for a desktop publishing or design position, resumes should be fairly traditional in their design. Be wary of the candidate who sends you a resume that pops up out of a box or contains flashy graphics. They might have more sizzle than steak, so to speak. After you screen the resumes, you should have about 25 percent of the total left; if you had 20 at the start, you should have five in your yes pile. Of course, not every resume is a cut and dry yes, no, or maybe. You'll need to decide for your company what must have qualifications you'll bend, if any. For instance, if a candidate is four months short of your requirement for experience, will you let this slide? The answer to these questions also depends on how urgent your hiring need is and how much response you've received for the position.Always Follow Up
Remember to send letters of regret to applicants you won't interview in the "no" and "maybe" piles. Use a general statement indicating that the applicant's background doesn't match the job requirements. Never reveal exact reasons for not hiring an applicant because you either might get into a legal battle or you'll never convince the candidates that they aren't qualified.