Selecting New Employees for your Small Business: Do Your Applicants Resumes ROAR?

Selecting New Employees For Your Small Business: Do Your Applicants Resumes ROAR (are they Results Oriented And Relevant)?

Are you looking to expand your Small Business by hiring new employees for professional positions?   If so, you are likely to receive numerous resumes once people find out that you are hiring.  How do you begin to sort through all of the resumes?  Perhaps, the first point to remember is that a resume is a sales pitch designed to show you that the applicant understands what you need and is the best prepared person to deliver it for you.   Thus, the resume is like any other form of advertisement. The successful applicant’s resume conveys the appropriate content to convince you that they are the best qualified one for your business.

Fortunately, resumes may be read relatively quickly.  Indeed, some professional human resource people who look through numerous resumes only need to spend seconds on each one.

When I review a resume I check to be sure that the applicant conveys that:

  • They understand their potential employer’s business
  • They have explained their previous job relevant accomplishments
  • They have shown that their job relevant accomplishments have prepared them to be the best qualified employee for the potential employer’s business
  • They are interested in doing the work.

A good resume will ROAR, much as a lion will ROAR.  Once you look at the resume it will command your attention.  A quality resume will have two key attributes. It will be:

  • Results Oriented.   The body of the resume will tell you about the applicant’s job relevant accomplishments in previous jobs, at school, as a volunteer, and/or a leader in civic and community organizations.
  • And Relevant to you.   The resume will begin with a clear statement which shows the applicant understands your business, what you need to have done, and it bridges the relevant experiences in the body of the resume with your business needs.  The statement will also convey the applicants interest in doing the job you need to have done.   Alternatively, some applicants may include this in a separate “cover letter” rather than on the resume.

You might quickly set aside resumes which:

  • Contain a general statement explaining the applicant’s needs rather than your needs.  For example, a recent graduate states: Looking for an entry level position to increase my sales ability.
  • Describe an applicant’s job responsibilities, rather than their accomplishments.  For example, a cashier lists their assigned tasks: count money in cash register. run customer items over scanner and place items in bags which would be obvious to anyone hiring cashiers rather than providing evidence that they were successful at doing the job.

As you interview candidates you might also eliminate applicants if you find that they:

  • Are not familiar with their resume content.
  • Express objectives different than those on the resume.
  • Seem to have very different qualifications than the resume would convey.

Given that some applicants make claims on their resumes which are not true, you may want to verify as much of the objective information as you can on the resume, such as dates and places of employment, high school or college degrees (especially Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Degrees from leading universities), etc.

You may also wish to check references or recommendations but keep in mind that at least some people who agree to serve as a reference believe that that have agreed to sell the applicant to you.  They may be very unlikely to mention any real weaknesses or problems, much as a sales person trying to sell you a particular brand of car is likely to focus on the cars strengths, not its weaknesses.  On the other hand, other people may believe that their job is to evaluate the applicant for you, much like a Consumer Reports Magazine might evaluate a product.   Also, people providing references may have differing levels of communication ability.  Thus, differences in reference reports may reflect more about the style of the person providing the reference (and their skill as a communicator) than the applicant’s ability to do the job.

Once you select the seemingly most qualified candidates from the resumes submitted, you will probably want to interview the candidates by phone or in person to better understand the candidate’s ability to do the job and, perhaps, more importantly to provide the applicant with information about the job so that they can decide if they would want it assuming it is offered to them.  The most important points about the interview is

  • for you to verify that the applicants are qualified to do the job
  • Perhaps, more importantly, for the applicant to gather enough realistic information to decide if they would like the job.

During the interview, it is critical that the potential employer only ask questions which are designed to determine whether the applicant would be available and capable of doing the job.  The potential employer should ask specific questions about how the applicant handled job relevant situations in the past.   The potential employer might, for example, ask a potential sales employee to explain how they convinced a customer to buy a product which would better meet their needs even though it was somewhat more expensive than an inferior product advertised by the competition.   The potential employer should not ask the applicant personal questions such as their race, marital status,age, religion, country of origin, children, height, weight, etc. which are not relevant to the job.

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow