Résumé Screening Is Not Very Effective

A new survey from staffing firm Robert Half suggests that companies may not be great at reviewing résumés.

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Employers impressed by a job candidate’s résumé often discover the person isn’t such a good match for the position after all, research shows. More than six in 10 senior managers (64 percent) responding to the survey say it’s common for an applicant with a promising résumé to not live up to expectations when interviewed.

While the inclination may be to blame it on the résumés and the applicants, survey findings suggest otherwise.

Reviewing and Interviewing

The survey also looks at how much time employers spend assessing job candidates. These findings include:

  • On average, managers review 40 résumés per job opening and spend 12 minutes looking at each one.
  • Managers interview an average of seven people per open position, and those meetings take an average of 41 minutes each.
  • Verifying relevant experience is the top reason employers interview job candidates (61 percent), followed by assessing soft skills and corporate culture fit (21 percent), and evaluating technical skills (18 percent).
  • A lack of technical abilities (51 percent) and soft skills (49 percent) are common reasons new hires don’t work out.

“Finding good résumés is just one piece of the hiring puzzle,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “The full process can be challenging, but recruiters lighten the load and accelerate the timeline for employers by sorting through application materials, conducting initial interviews, and assessing skills and corporate culture fit. This allows hiring managers to focus their attention on candidates with the greatest potential.”

Saving Time

Robert Half offers the following tips for more effective recruiting:

  • Juice up the job posting. Take the time to write a job ad that is both detailed and compelling.
  • Cast a wide net. Go deep and wide, the firm says. Post the opening on your website, job boards, and social media. Meanwhile, don’t forget in-person networking.
  • Don’t shortchange the résumé review. Take the time to look for résumés with key words and phrases that match the job description. Also, keep an eye out for résumés that highlight both technical and soft skills and include concrete ways the job seeker added value and helped meet company goals in previous roles.
  • Conduct consistent interviews. While your conversations will naturally take different courses, be sure to ask all candidates the same questions to keep the playing field level.
  • Determine the right salary range. Offering an attractive salary package is a must given the competition to attract talent today, Robert Half points out.
  • Act fast when you find the right candidate. According to a survey conducted by The Creative Group, a Robert Half company, it takes five weeks, on average, to fill an open staff-level position; filling an open management-level role takes an average of seven weeks. Once you’ve identified your top candidate, extend an offer quickly.

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