I can’t tell you how many phenomenal candidates get eliminated because of a résumé and how many poor performers get interviewed because of a well-written résumé. “But I can’t interview every résumé I get!” OK, right. But if a candidate even looks like a possibility of being a good one, at least pick up the phone and spend 15 or 20 minutes with him or her. Or, better yet, spend 30 minutes face to face with them. Get a quick take on who they are and what they can do. Do this with a number of candidates. You can then thoroughly interview the ones that are the best for your situation. This method is quick and efficient, but it takes discipline - no more than 30 minutes on the first one!
Hiring authorities and screeners put way too much emphasis on what is on a résumé. They try to judge the total quality of a candidate by a résumé. A résumé is a “go by.” It should simply define a candidate as a “possibility”- and a broad possibility at that. The interviews have to be the qualifiers.
People who “qualify” a candidate and decide how he or she is going to perform should read Tony Romo’s résumé a nobody; or Kurt Warner’s - a bagger at a grocery store; or Abe Lincoln’s - many failures. Don’t rely on résumés!
This is how you go over a candidate's resume
7. Not interviewing enough candidates - or interviewing way too many. Most hiring managers err on the “too few” end of the spectrum. “I want to talk to the three best candidates!” “I don’t have time to talk to everybody!” No one person other than a hiring authority can tell who is “best.” Three or four is usually too few. The “bell curve” for most professional hires is about 9 or 10 candidates. This, of course, depends on the level of job and the availability of certain types of candidates. The key is to know what kind of availability there is in the marketplace for the kind of person being sought. Our banking division, for instance, may be lucky to find three or four qualified VPs at any one time. A mid-level sales position may require 10 or 12 candidates. Even recruiting a number of quality candidates for administrative positions, which traditionally would bear many quality candidates, isn’t as easy to do in this market.
The key is to interview a range of quality candidates and know what is available. If you want to wait for superman or superwoman, I guess it’s OK. It just depends on how badly you need to hire someone. Just be sure you know, firsthand, the quality of candidates on the market. The only way to do that is to do your own interviewing of the numbers necessary and available.
The other end of the spectrum is the hiring authority who wants to interview forever, thinking unrealistically that the quality of candidates will get better the more that are interviewed and the longer it takes. All too often, we hear from hiring authorities, “We have interviewed 20, 25, or 30 candidates.” There is something wrong here. They exhaust themselves in a “process,” forgetting the result, and then complain about it. It doesn’t get a good employee. They confuse activity with productivity.
Interview the number of candidates necessary. Don’t make the mistake on either end of the spectrum.
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