Sep 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

Give Yourself an Edge: Interview the Candidate With the Imperfect Resume

There are hiring managers who will not interview a candidate unless his or her resume looks good. Some of them would say, "I won't consider anyone who's not taken the time to put together a good resume." Others would say, "People know that, if they're going to apply for a job, they'll need a resume. So what does it say about a person who's not taken the time to learn how to put together a resume?"

That could be true. Or is it possible that these people did take the time to learn how to put together a good résumé, but they were simply given bad advice.

As a hiring manager, it’s your job to hire good people. I’m sorry — that’s a misstatement.  It’s your job to fill positions in order to complete the work for which your team, group, or department is responsible. So, the better the people you have in positions that report to you, the higher the likelihood that your team will handle the tasks for which you, the leader, are responsible. Let me rephrase that: The better you are at finding and hiring good people, the better the overall talent level of your team; the better the talent level of your team, the greater the potential of your team.

So, here’s my thought for consideration: If someone has a good-looking résumé, you’re going to want to interview that person, right? Well, if you’re going to want to interview that person because his or her résumé looks good, so is everyone else. In this case, you’re not doing anything different from anyone else. At this point, you don’t have an advantage, but you’re not at a disadvantage in regard to your candidate pool.

How about this? If a person has a poor-looking résumé, you’re not going to want to interview him or her, right? And that probably goes the same for the other managers in the market who are looking to hire similar people, right? So, if you don’t interview these people, you are at no disadvantage. But if you were able to figure out a way to interview a few people in this category, you would then be interviewing people whom most of your peers are passing over, right? You would then be interviewing people whom others are not. You would, therefore, have an opportunity to hire people whom others are not. So, if there are good people in this candidate pool, you may have a distinct advantage.

I’ve never seen a study that says people who are experienced at composing quality résumés are better performers. To my knowledge, there’s no study that says people who put together poor-looking résumés are lesser performers. Studies have shown only that people in the first group get more interviews than do people in the second group.

The only question is, are you willing to take the time to find the people who will give you an edge over your competition?

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Interviews, David Kushan