Should you judge a good candidate behind a bad resume?

Hiring in today’s job market can be just as vexing for employers as it is for job candidates. Finding “the perfect resume” can leave many companies with unfilled positions for months, ultimately focusing too heavily on finding the ideal rather than working with the realistic. The quick-to-judge mentality that many recruiters have, especially those who use software to sort through resumes, may be missing out on talent and potential that could drive the company forward.

A resume is the first impression a company has of a potential employee, but maybe that should change. Although it requires more interaction and leg-work, taking a chance on candidates who may not have won you over with a resume at first glance could turn out to be profitable.

What Mistakes Are Acceptable?
You can’t allow every candidate with a poor resume to come in for an interview. For some companies, this would mean literally hundreds of people pouring through the door. The turn-around time would be ridiculous, and resources would be wasted while the position in-question went unfilled.

However, there are some errors in a resume that many people dismiss prematurely. Consider the following examples.

A Loud Design
The days of a simple black-and-white Microsoft Word doc for a resume are over, and many candidates are getting crafty in hopes of catching a company’s eye right away. Bright colors, bold fonts and even images are all common occurrences on modern resumes.

Some employers may be turned off right away, believing this design choice to be unprofessional and demonstrate a lack of awareness. It’s time to reconsider. Rather than dismissing a candidate because you don’t like their design choices, look at the content.

Do they have relevant work experience or education? Did they include a cover letter that expresses genuine interest and understanding of the role, as well as how their unique skills could benefit the company?

As the saying goes, “Looks aren’t everything.” You have to read what a person’s resume says before you can decide whether or not they’re worth reaching out to.

Bad Formatting
A blocky, text-laden resume is an eye sore, and many hiring managers will turn away as soon as they see one they do not find suitable. However, doing this can cause you to miss out on experienced professionals who have both real-world experience and a strong desire to grow within a business.

Once again, reading within the lines and reaching out to those who meet the application requirements (or show great potential) is worthwhile.

A Convoluted Work History
Some candidates have an extensive work history that makes them appear flighty and inconsistent. However, there are many reasons why someone may have chosen to leave their previous companies, and their experience at those establishments shouldn’t be the primary thing held against them. There may have been a short-term contract, or they might have been let go as the company outsourced or dissolved their position.

Besides, if a candidate can get hired at a variety of strong companies, then that’s a strong indicator they clearly have some talent.

Ultimately, employers need to try to humanise the hiring process as much as possible. It’s entirely plausible that some people just suck at writing resumes. It’s like selling yourself on a dating profile – no one knows how to summarise their entire being into a few sentences.

Look closer, focus on experience, education and potential, then decide whether or not someone is worth a phone interview.

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