Re: Resume evaluation

Subject: Re: Resume evaluation
From: SuePStewrt -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Sat, 11 Jun 1994 10:39:41 EDT

>>Either way, I'd still like to hear from the people on
>>this list that go through stacks of resumes: What do you >>reject
>>What do you like to see?<<

Well, I spent quite a few years going through those stacks looking for
writers--there's something about putting the "w" word in a classified ad that
brings 'em out of the woodwork, let me tell you!

I did my "sort" in several passes, and although I never actively quantified
it before, here's how I did it (A word of qualification: I did NOT hire
entry-level writers, but the rejected resumes were often passed on to someone
who did):

First pass: a skim, sorting into "no" and "maybe" stacks, with any obvious
typos or grammar errors joining the new grads and the people in other
professions who "liked to write in college" in the "no" pile. I didn't dump
for poor typefaces, but a handwritten cover letter was going to have to be
INCREDIBLE to make it to the next level. Access to typewriters isn't that
difficult to come up with, *if you want the job*.

Second pass: Back through the "maybe" stack, now reading quickly through the
cover letter and resume. Typos and grammar errors into the "no" stack.
Badly written cover letters landed the packet there, too; I suspect that the
cover letter is usually an actual sample of the applicant's writing skill,
while resumes can be done by professional shops. I started the tightrope
act, here; a writer with obvious skill may stay in the "maybe" stack even
with weak qualifications. I also checked the salary requirement here; if
someone wanted twice what I could offer, I wasn't going to waste my and
his/her time. However, an asking price above my usual range was NOT an
automatic disqualifier, because my company had superior benefits (I'd
recommend that you always say in your salary range that you are willing to
negotiate depending on benefits; but I also recommend that if the ad says
"salary requirements mandatory" you *not* go into that coy "too personal to
discuss at this time" stuff some of the employment columnists recommend,
because "mandatory" means "mandatory" and plenty of people will just ignore
your resume if you ignore such a requirement. Note: I'm talking salary
REQUIREMENTS here; I think a maidenly shyness about your salary _history_ is
more justified, as I didn't find past salaries that relevant. The company
had set salary ranges for each position, and what you made two years ago
didn't have much to do with it.).

Third pass: Now I got to start looking for what I *like* instead of what I
didn't want. I read the letters and the resumes thoroughly. I used a
highlighter to mark particularly relevant skills and experience. I also
wrote questions on the resume I might want to ask this applicant if I
interviewed him/her. I often put a note regarding my overall impression at
the top of the cover letter, to help me recognize quickly why I pulled out
that package. (I tried to be cryptic, in case the applicant saw the package
on my desk during the interview, because I used it to ask questions from.)
Now I was sorting into "potential interview" and "maybe another time."
Occasionally I would find something I missed on earlier passes that put the
package into the "no" stack.

With luck, I would end up with 6-8 good possibilities that I put in
order--that is, I ranked them as possibilities--and returned to the HR dept.
A recruiter did a telephone interview (I worked with the same recruiter all
the time, and she was comfortable with what my department wanted.), and if
that went well, I was ready to spend two or three hours apiece with these
people. Then another hour or two in second interviews.

Hiring someone is EXPENSIVE, and it takes a great deal of time to do
properly. I tend to think of it rather like courtship and marriage, because
you hope the relationship will last a long time! I'd interview a few, then
tell my recruiter, "Well, I feel pretty good about So-and-So, but I'm not
ready to get engaged yet."

Yes, your resume doesn't do the job. But if the person hiring has to look
through a couple hundred of 'em, your resume may be the only chance you have
to demonstrate that YOU can do the job. Remember, also, that the hiring
manager is not having much more fun in your interview than you are. While
you're terrified you're going to goof up and you're nervous, so is he/she,
because if you're hired and you're a dud, guess who gets blamed? If you blow
the interview, it's not going to follow you; you can go on to the next
interview and practice deep breathing or take a tranquilizer or study up on
the company or do whatever is necessary to avoid blowing another one. If the
hiring manager hires a real dud, he/she may never get another chance to prove
he/she can find a good employee, and company management all quickly learns
who hired the bozo.

It's sort of like going to apply for a loan. I know, you hate that. You
think the bank officers are sitting there hoarding the money, waiting for you
to persuade them that yours is a worthy cause, expecting you to beg.
However, the bank can't make money unless it lends money; bank officers
truly WANT to loan money, because if they don't SELL LOANS (yep, that's what
I said) they will find themselves in other lines of work. Both of you have a
stake in getting to the yes. The same is true in job interviews. You're not
the only one who needs something you're not sure you'll get!

hope this helps -- suepstewrt -at- aol -dot- com

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