Revealing Resumes

We run a systematic hiring process for sales positions.  We have refined the process over the past 14 years and have it optimized (even though when we started we were writing newspaper employment ads!).  As part of any hiring process, you have to receive resumes of respondents to the ad.  This is where things are changing.

A new trend I am seeing is resumes with copy and paste information from job descriptions, websites, etc.  What I mean is candidates do not take the time to write about their skills and experience in their current or previous roles.  They simply use web/marketing copy that they paste into their resume.  I have also seen many resumes with the job description information pasted into their experience.

For example:

“You will call on mid-market companies to sell our cloud-based service.”

That is someone’s experience for their current job.  Amazing.  What is worse is that this position is selling marketing services.

I like to remind hiring managers that this is the best the candidate has to offer.  The interview process should reveal the best of what they have to offer, from writing to phone discussions to follow-up.  If their best in this phase isn’t good enough for the role, do not expect improvement if you add them to your sales team.

5 Tips For Hiring A Sales Manager

This Selling Power article is a quick, solid read.  The 5 tips are all on point with this one being my favorite:

2) Metrics without context. Your candidate noted that his or her team closed $2 million in sales last year. That’s great. But what was the quota? What were the expectations? Was this half of what your potential new hire and the team were expected to do? Or did they not only exceed quota, but also outperform every other sales team at the company? Don’t rely on metrics alone; your candidate should provide context that tells the whole story.

So much of resume information is devoid of context yet many hiring managers buy into the information.  Every candidate seems to have some remarkable numbers/statistics/results in their resume, but far fewer provide the context to define the success they claim.  Always look for this information in the resume.  If you have a candidate that you would like to pursue, it is certainly a good practice to contact that candidate and ask for clarification.

Overused Adjective

I am spending an inordinate amount of time reviewing resumes and one particular word keeps appearing throughout many of the resumes.  The word is…

proven

Perhaps the most insipid phrase is this – “proven track record.”

Every time I see this phrase I immediately want the candidate to prove it.  In most instances, the quoted achievement would be difficult to prove to an outsider.  That fact makes this throw-away phrase easy to included.  My personal take is to have the candidates simply state their record in numbers.

The Value Of An Updated Resume

I am stuck in an ongoing cycle of sourcing.  Just when I am about to be worn down, I come across a resume that lists the candidate’s technical skills.  The first thing listed:

-MS Windows 98

Seriously…Win98?  My guess (hope) is that the candidate simply has overlooked that part of his resume for years.  That is about the only explanation because I certainly hope he isn’t touting his technical proficiency with an operating system from 13-14 years ago.

Of Scary Fonts

Just reviewed a resume written entirely in Comic Sans font.  Scary.

Resume Writing

I am filtering through many resumes right now and having a wonderful time examining some of the unique stylings of candidates.  Some flavor:

-One candidate listed his core competencies…TWENTY FOUR of them

-Another stated this, “Subject Matter Expert in dilemma analysis.”

-Another misspelled his name – his name

Never ceases to amaze me when sourcing.

Most Overused Word

My vote for the most overused word in resumes:

Dynamic

It has become cliché in my eyes.

Bad Wording

The opening line of a candidate’s experience as he listed on his resume:

Hired by company to penetrate virgin markets…

Honestly, this is a candidate for a high-level sales position.  He doesn’t have enough sense to change that sentence?

Higher Education

Honestly read this under the "Education” section of a resume:

Completed Kindergarten on through 12th grade

I think that is rather funny.  I guess the old axiom that the longest journey starts with the first step is true.  Education starts with successfully completing kindergarten.

3 Years And A Cloud Of Dust

My apologies for co-opting Woody Hayes’ saying, but I am from Ann Arbor and couldn’t stand the guy anyway.  I’m wondering what the Great Recession is going to do to resumes.  What I mean is this – many people have shortened tenures nowadays (especially Gen Y).  3 years is turning into a fairly good tenure for a worker.

This recession has cost millions of people their jobs.  Some will have to start their work career over, essentially taking a “lesser” job and working their way up all over again.  In many instances, they will have to jump from job to job to keep moving up during their now condensed work career.

This fact is going to have repercussions for future sourcing activities.  I have already run into this issue recently when sourcing for a sales position.  An older sales manager was focusing first on tenure of candidates.  I had to quickly point out some of these facts.  He seemed to receive my input at the time, but a day later he was back on the tenure train.

Whatever economy eventually surfaces from this deep recession will contain many, many, candidates who simply lack the traditional employment longevity that was so frequent just 5-10 years ago.