Misinterpreted Information on a Resume

Oct 22, 2014 12:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

In my experience, hiring managers frequently review résumés for a minute or less and come to conclusions that are based on false assumptions. It’s from these false assumptions, in turn, that they base their decisions regarding whom to interview.

One such false assumption that influences interview decisions: how long someone has worked for their current employer.

About six months ago, we were working with one of our best clients.  We sent two résumés to him for one position: Candidate A and Candidate B. Of course, before presenting both résumés, we had significant conversations with both candidates. From those conversations, we felt that Candidate B was the better option.

The problem with Candidate B was that his résumé gave the appearance of job-hopping. He’s held each of his last three positions for only two years. But what his résumé didn’t reveal is why he changed jobs so frequently. If you evaluate strictly from the résumé, you’d have only your assumptions upon which to rely.

In contrast, Candidate A’s résumé gave the impression of more stability, due to the length of stay in each position. Candidate A had three jobs in his career. Furthermore, she’d been at her most recent position for the previous six years.

Initially, the hiring manager said he was going to pass on Candidate B due to his shorter tenure at each company. He mentioned that he really liked Candidate A, because of the length of time she’d spent at each of her employers. The hiring manager said he felt it showed a sense of loyalty to her organization.

What we told the hiring manager next surprised him. We said that even though Candidate A had been at her position for six years, we know that she had interviewed for other positions as early as her second year of employment. We told him that we also knew that she had interviewed several other times over the past couple of years, but that she just hadn’t found something ideal.

It was at this point that the hiring manager clearly realized that his assumptions about length of employment and loyalty were incorrect.

Again, the point of this post is to say there are a lot of misconceptions about what certain things mean on a résumé. Are there any others of which you are aware?

You may also like: How To Prepare For A Hard Interview

General, Resume Tips, Hiring, David Kushan


Sign up for our blog.

Stay connected