Resume Screening: Finding the Right Person For the Right Job
Odds are you are one of the many tourism operators in BC currently looking for experienced employees to handle the sharp increase in business. After spreading the word that you’re hiring, hopefully, you are often faced with the challenging task of sorting through a large number of resumes that you’ve received, in search of those few that really stand out.
Effective resume screening is an important step in the hiring process. Your role in this process is to find those potential employees whose skills and experience look good on paper and should be contacted for an interview. But how do you know exactly what to look for in a resume?
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
Ultimately, you are looking at the content provided on the resume, such as past experience, skills and abilities. But there are also a few subtleties that you should be aware of whenever reading a resume:
- Look for gaps – Has the applicant been absent from the workforce for a long period of time? Have there been significant gaps between jobs? This doesn’t necessarily mean the individual is not qualified, however may require extra training or time to readapt to a more structured work environment. Gaps in employment history may also reveal behavioural traits that otherwise could have gone unnoticed
- Look closely at extreme employment patterns – Be weary of the resume that lists several jobs and companies within a short period of time. Jumping from job to job may suggest the individual lacks loyalty towards their employer. Likewise, the applicant who has remained stagnant in the same position without having gained additional responsibilities suggests a lack of motivation and initiative
- Don’t just look at experience – Never automatically dismiss an applicant based on a lack of work experience. Perhaps the individual has a tourism-based educational background, or has volunteered in an endeavor that involves social interaction with others. Remember, the ability to interact effectively with different individuals of varying needs is essential to the success of any tourism-based operation
- Extracurricular activities – Consider any extracurricular activities listed on the resume, especially if the applicant is active in team-related activities that help promote a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. A list of hobbies and interests also suggests the potential employee has successfully created a balance of personal and professional well-being
- Pay close attention to the small details – Has the applicant taken the care of providing you with a professional resume that lists the pertinent skills related to the job, and does not contain any errors in spelling or grammar? Also, look for those cover letters that have been customized according to the specific needs of the position and your business. These types of resumes and cover letters send the message that the potential employee is sincerely interested in the job you have posted or advertised by taking the extra step in demonstrating their personal investment of time
- Stick to the requirements of the position – Never determine someone’s suitability based on personal information that may be listed on the resume, such as age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, cultural background or religious affiliation. Personal attributes such as these have no bearing on whether the applicant is qualified for the job and basing employment on this type of information is illegal
- Never hurry through the screening process – Take the time to carefully review each resume that you’ve received. Speed reading may result in your having missed important information on the applicant’s relevant background and skills
- Carefully read work experiences – Note the detail given in descriptions of job responsibilities or achievements as it may result in weeding the right person out. General descriptions of work experience may indicate false work experience. You will more readily catch exaggerated claims such as someone with six months of experience claiming they manage an entire restaurant, supervise the staff and purchase all inventory
EFFECTIVE RESUME SCREENING
After carefully reading each resume, it’s always a good idea to sort it according to its suitability in proceeding on to the next level:
- Looks good on paper – let’s call to set up an interview!
- Not sure – hold on for now; might consider at a later time
- Not what we’re looking for
Sorting resumes in this way will help simplify and speed-up the recruitment process by allowing you to select only those individuals for an interview who have the knowledge, skills and experience you’re most looking for. During this step, you should also make note of any information provided on the resume that requires clarification or follow-up at the interview stage.