Don’t rely on resumes in the hiring process

For as long as any hiring manager can remember, the resume has been a go-to reference point in the recruitment and selection process. Offering a (usually) succinct summary of the candidate's qualities and attributes, CVs are perceived as a yardstick with which to quickly assess an individual's fit for a role.

However, as many HR professionals will be able to attest, such documents are not always the most reliable measure of a candidate's suitability. Focusing too much on the resume in the recruitment process can be a risky path to take, leading to ill-advised hiring decisions. According to the US Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hire can be as much as 30 per cent of the candidate's potential first-year earnings.

Instead, a more holistic approach must be taken to recruitment and selection to boost your chances of making the right hire the first time, saving your organisation valuable time and resources. In addition to stringent interviewing, the range of accompanying talent and personality assessments available today can help you form a more complete picture of each candidate.

The challenges involved with giving overly heavy weighting to resumes is highlighted in two recent surveys.

Liar, liar

The problem of untruthful CVs is nothing new, with hiring managers catching out resume fabrications on a regular basis. But just how prevalent is the issue today?

A recent survey from CareerBuilder found that nearly two-thirds (58 per cent) of employers said they have spotted a lie on a candidate's CV. Difficult economic times may be behind this high proportion, with the survey revealing that a third of respondents reported noticing an increase in lying after the recession.

Interestingly, while half (51 per cent) of employers said they would automatically disqualify someone who lied on their CV, 40 per cent said they would consider what the candidate lied about before making a decision – and 7 per cent said they would hire them anyway if they liked them.

So what are job applicants lying the most about? Embellished skill sets were revealed to be the most common form of dishonesty on CVs, with 57 per cent of respondents reporting instances of this. Embellished responsibilities was also fairly prevalent, with this being reported by 55 per cent of survey participants.

Employment dates, job titles, work experience history, education and awards were also prominent among the responses, indicating that organisations certainly need processes in place to look beyond the CV and dig into a candidate in more depth.

Should hiring managers be more lenient?

Typos, grammar mistakes and similar errors on CVs are usually heavily frowned upon, with employers taking them to indicate an individual with poor attention to detail. Historically, just one or two such errors was enough for a hiring manager to rule out a candidate – but a survey from earlier this year suggests that they are becoming increasingly lenient.

Accountemps' poll of managers revealed that almost one in five (17 per cent) would immediately eliminate a candidate who had submitted a CV containing even just one typo. While this may seem harsh to some, it is a significantly lower proportion than in previous years. The equivalent 2009 survey found that 40 per cent of managers would dismiss an application from consideration if it featured a single typo, while in 2006, this figure was a whopping 47 per cent.

It's certainly good news for job seekers – but what are the implications for hiring managers? Is it beneficial to the recruitment process to be a bit more lenient and overlook such minor errors, or are they truly a reflection of a candidate's competence?

Whatever the answer, it's crucial to implement additional measures in the hiring process to make the best hire.

So what can be done?

The latest recruitment and selection tools allow your organisation to go beyond what the candidate looks like 'on paper' and obtain the most accurate indication possible of how they will fare on the job. 

Such instruments include Hogan Assessment's suite of products, which help you identify candidates' personalities and behaviours and how these will influence their performance on the job. Such personality assessment and profiling tools can be used to assess an individual's levels of emotional intelligence and how they will cooperate with coworkers – factors that can't be expressed within the pages of a CV.