Reading Resumes: How to Quickly Identify Potential

Episode 64

Episode Overview

Need help improving your efficiency when reading resumes with the just-right balance of speed and diligence? Let’s go behind the scenes of efficient hiring as we talk about what to look for in a resume.

On this episode of the Hire Calling Podcast, Pete and Ricky share insights on the importance of resume screening. They discuss the critical elements that make up a well-crafted resume. Not only does reading resumes involve identifying candidates who are qualified with the right experience and skills but also recognizing red flags.  

Pete and Ricky will also look at the evolution of job descriptions, the balance between making an informed hire and filling a position quickly, and the cost of productivity and money loss with more interviews. Their goal throughout the episode is to equip you with the best strategies for efficient hiring!

46 minutes

View transcript

Tips For What to Look for When Reading Resumes

  • Relevance to the job: Check if the candidate’s experience and skills align with the job requirements.
  • Stability: Look for steady employment history without frequent job changes.
  • Progression: A record of promotions or increasing responsibilities is a good sign.
  • Customization: The resume should be tailored to the specific job application.
  • Quantifiable achievements: Look for specific, measurable results in the candidate’s work history.
  • Attention to detail: The resume should be free from spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors.
  • Professionalism: The resume should maintain a professional tone and appropriate language.
  • Skills and certifications: Check for any specific skills or certifications required for the job.
  • Education: Confirm the candidate’s educational qualifications, especially if a certain degree is required.
  • Keyword matching: The resume should contain keywords and phrases mentioned in the job description.
  • Gaps in employment: Pay attention to any unexplained breaks in the candidate’s employment history.
  • References: Ideally, the candidate should provide professional references for further validation.

Additional resources

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.

Ricky Baez

About Rick Baez

Efrain “Ricky” Baez Jr. is a published human resources professional specializing in strategically aligning HR competencies to business goals with a down to earth, common sense approach. Ricky is a four- year veteran of the United States Marine Corps and holds a Masters degree in Human Resources (MHR) from Rollins College and an SPHR certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute. Ricky is also a faculty member for the Master of Human Resources program at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.


Pete Newsome: 0:01
You’re listening to the Hire Calling podcast, your source for all things hiring, staffing and recruiting. I’m Pete Newsome, joined by Ricky Baez, of course. Ricky, how are you today?

Ricky Baez: 0:18
It’s yes, it is summer, and I can’t think of any better way to spend my summer than inside in an air condition office reading resumes Reading resumes That is what today is all about how to quickly identify potential in a resume.

Pete Newsome: 0:36
I think it’s hard to read resumes effectively, thoroughly .undefined quickly. dib’t ayou ?

Ricky Baez: 0:46
It is really hard when a recruiter has hundreds of other positions to recruit for. It’s a balance. It’s a balance of how much time you give one resume versus the quantity of resumes you have to read an entire day. You get to find that perfect balance.

Pete Newsome: 1:04
I think that’s what we’re talking about today. It is How to make the most out of interpreting resumes. Not all jobs are alike. We know that Some have very high volume applicants. I see those on LinkedIn. There’s posts that have a thousand people who apply. If you’re that recruiter, you’re going to have a very hard time giving each resume the attention it’s probably due.

There’s other jobs that have very few applications or candidates are hard to come by because the candidate pool is small. We know that it is nearly impossible. It is impossible to be too general and also accurate in a discussion like this. What’s saying for the middle? and talk about most positions which probably have a fair number of resumes to look through by the recruiter but also need to be efficient in doing so. You just can’t spend a lot of time. You can get lost in resumes.

Ricky Baez: 2:07
Let’s explain that because I’ve had conversations with a lot of people who are not in HR who don’t understand that concept. They’ve been in conferences where it says a recruiter has a really small amount of time to scan a resume. People ask why would a recruiter not give enough time to a resume to make sure they’re looking for the right person? Again, it’s time You and I were talking before we started out recording that there’s a lot of work and not enough time and that’s a great problem to have, but it is a problem If you don’t have a solution for it.

Pete Newsome: 2:42
It remains a problem and candidates don’t necessarily understand the volume that’s associated. Of course, they stopped and thought about it and looked at the number of applications. What I see candidates becoming frustrated with is unresponsiveness. It’s just not practical for most recruiters busy recruiters to dive too deeply. I don’t think we want them to. We want them to not miss great candidates, not miss qualified individuals, but we also don’t want them to linger.

Let’s talk about look, if we were given advice to candidates right now, i’ll say treat your resume like a magazine that you’d see in the checkout line, or a newspaper, if those things still exist where you have to grab the reader’s attention with the headline and you have to give them a reason to want more. It’s marketing 101 and that’s what people probably struggle with as much as anything. That’s why the resume writing industry is so prevalent, which always surprises me, because all these resources are available online. But nonetheless, people need that extra help and certainly want it at times.

But you have to toot your own horn. That’s what we’re looking for. As a recruiter, when you open a resume, i need that attention grabbing headline to make me continue, otherwise I’m moving on. I’m grabbing the pack of gum and not picking up the magazine.

Ricky Baez: 4:17
You just have to pack it of gum, some wrinkly speriment gum, the one that lasts like 20 seconds.

Pete Newsome: 4:23
I haven’t been chewing gum lately. I need to. I don’t even know what’s on the market. I was a HUBBA Bubba fan back in the day, but I don’t know if that still exists.

Ricky Baez: 4:33
Here’s the thing You have to. The big question now becomes all right, what is that headline? What should I put out there to make my resume stand out? There’s no one answer for that, because it really depends on who you are. It depends on what kind of position you are, you are applying for in the culture of the organization. Right, if you do your homework or research the organization, who they are, the cultural values, you’ll be able to get a good sense of what kind of a resume strategy you’re going to put together to really grab your attention. And make no mistake, folks, the candidate that spends the time to research and home and does the homework for that company, that person is going to have a much better chance to have the resume picked up and get a call back to you.

Pete Newsome: 5:21
And so I’m glad you make that point, because if you are a recruiter, in trying to determine, with very little information at your disposal, who to invest more time in, the one that’s clearly taken the opportunity and made the effort to customize their resume for your job and I’ll just say it because I have to even writes a cover letter, we’ll move on from that. Right, but that’s a candidate. If I know nothing else, I know that they’ve showed a certain level of motivation and interest and they haven’t just clicked blindly, going down a long list of job titles.

So that’s a great thing If someone has highlighted their experience and tailored it for your job. Stop and pay a little closer attention, because of the first step in all this is look, you’re trying to do two things You’re trying to rule in the right ones and rule out the bad ones. So we’ll talk about red flags a little bit later, but let’s find the ones that have relevant experience and I will say, as someone who’s looked at hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of resumes at this point it might be millions that you don’t want to have to figure out what you’re looking at Right. That I mean. It has to tell a clean, clear, concise story, and it has to jump off the page at me. The thing I’m looking for is does this person have relevant experience and-. If that jumps out at me, then I’ll go to step two.

Ricky Baez: 7:01
So, Pete, I got to tell you from a former recruiters perspective nothing and this is for all the recruiters out there and also for all the candidates out there looking for a job, to give you a glimpse inside a recruiters mind. Nothing annoys me more than nothing gets under my skin, more than I’m going through a resume, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the position that they apply for. Like nothing to do and look a recruit is an average of nine seconds to look at a resume, right, and if I look at a resume has nothing to do. That’s just nine seconds that we just wasted out of my life, that I’m not going to get back.

Pete Newsome: 7:38
I’m just being honest, that’s right. So well, ok, so that’s on the candidates to set that stage and we’ll address them separately in a different show. How to say sorry, that’s right. So, if I’m so, you’re this recruiter, what are you looking for? Well, you’re looking for the history, right, professionally. You’re looking for key criteria. That’s how I think of every matching, every job description with every candidate. I want to know and if I’m recruiting on the job, i will know the key hiring criteria.

So that’s what I’m looking for initially, most jobs that we end up recruiting for in the professional world. We’re not looking for education and certifications per se. We’re looking at skills and experience, as The way I like to think of it is what you’ve done in the past is a really good indication of what you’ll be able to do for me in the future. So that’s that’s always the, the lens with which I look at a resume. So I want the skills, i want the work history. That’s that’s where I go. What about you? Do you, do you differ?

Ricky Baez: 8:39
Oh, no, no, no, I don’t. That’s why I kind of parked up, because I love what you just said there. You don’t just look for certifications and education although that’s important, right, because all a college degree is and I’m just going to just to say it It’s a receipt that you got an education. I’m not looking on whether you’ve got an education or not. I’m looking to see how you’re using it. So, on a resume as a recruiter, what I look for is examples of what you’re doing with that education and certification you got.

I want to see tangible examples that I can see as a recruiter, that that could be valuable to the organization. The recruiter is an expert and they know what the job description is. It’s it’s like so we’re looking something to fulfill those needs for the job description. So always put down from the camera Disperspective. Always put down how you’re using it from a recruiter’s perspective. Do not let, do not let. Do not get carried away by the shiny of school Right, if you see the graduated from Harvard, you’re like, oh my God, I’m going to bring this person in. Well, no, take a deeper look. If they got a humanities degree from Harvard, that’s not what Harvard is known for.

Pete Newsome: 9:49
Well, if they’re. If they were Harvard grad, i might bring them in anyway. But the most schools, to your point, become increasingly less important as your as a candidate’s career evolves. We all know that, depending on the, the skill set, the position type, some degrees are going to be more relevant than others. There’s many professions today where a college degree would have been mandatory and the not so distant past 20 years ago I worked for a large company earlier in my career that would not promote people above a manager level unless they had a master’s degree, which I found absurd then.

I find even more absurd now. Bad, joy, bad. That’s a bad line to draw in the sand, but nonetheless every organization has the ability to do that, because your goal in this is to find the best candidate for that particular job. And as someone’s career progresses, as they’re able to accomplish and do more for you, potentially the degree that they have is probably not going to be the biggest indication of how effective they’ll be, but everyone needs to figure that out for themselves. So if your organization does happen to value degrees greater than most, to a degree greater than most, then of course you’re going to highlight that. But for the most part, for me, i need to see the skills

Right, I need to know they’re capable of doing the job number one. And then I’m going to look at the work history And that is where you want to see a clear path to understand what it is, and I think of it, and often describe of this section, as as driving down a busy street. Right for me in Orlando it’s Orange Avenue, right through the heart of downtown. If you start hitting lights, it feels like you’re going to hit every light, but if it’s all green man, you can sail through and it’s a beautiful thing. So that’s how I want to see a resume. I don’t want to have to understand why there’s overlapping dates on job history. If that means to me that is one of the biggest red flags and something that I’ve seen. More of our more time spent among our recruiters over the years trying to justify, explain, understand It’s, it’s. It’s something that just always jumps off the page at me and I’m out If I see if I can’t follow the career path.

Ricky Baez: 12:15
So that’s an important piece there. right, It’s because it’s as a recruiter I am looking. I’m looking to fulfill this position as easy as possible, as efficient as possible, Because once I’m done with this one, I have ninety, nine thousand other ones that I have to do. So what I look for as a recruiter is for all the information to be there, readily accessible, as quickly as possible, that I can read within nine seconds and then make a decision from there on forward. So for everybody out there listening from a candidate’s perspective because I know we’re talking about the recruiters perspective it’s like hey, I’m looking at both sides of it. man, I got to look at both sides because you got to understand here I am bringing military logic.

Pete Newsome: 12:57
You got to understand the enemy in order for you to understand which which the candidates most definitely or not, but go on.

Ricky Baez: 13:14
You’ve got to get your system down for you to balance how much time you look at a resume versus what you have to do later on. So you’ve got to come up with your own system. And what I would do as a recruiter that way you connect better with your candidates is you do a little video about that system and put it on social media, put it on LinkedIn. That way you let everybody know.

Pete Newsome: 13:36
It makes it easier for you, would you not believe? Yeah, so I’m going to share what may be an unpopular opinion, as I’m prone to do. Maybe it won’t be, i don’t know, but here’s my strong belief that most people are bad at writing resumes. Okay, why? I would agree with that. Why are they bad? Because they don’t do it very often. They’re not in the business of reading resumes, as we’re talking about. They’re not in the business of interpreting resumes or deciding whether it’s candidate A or candidate B who you’re going to move forward in the job.

They’re good at doing their job. They’re good as a teacher or a doctor or a software developer or a designer, whatever their role might be, none of which has to do with writing resumes. So recruiters need to acknowledge that, at least internally, and look at resumes. I’ll say it again, through that lens. That’s not what I’m looking for. When people go to resume writers, they’re looking for something that, to me, doesn’t really make the difference in whether they’ll be selected.

Now, the resume writers, of course, will share their success stories, but these candidates were probably going to get hired anyway. It just so happens to be. I’m sure they don’t share their stories of candidates who didn’t get hired, but it’s not because your resume was great, but you can rule yourself out by having a bad resume, and that’s what I’m talking about when I think of conflicting dates on your job. That doesn’t take someone who is a great resume writer. That just takes someone whose career makes sense, and so it either tells a good story or a bad one. So don’t get hung up on looking for a great resume, or people get upset that there was a typo or bad grammar. You know what?

Go talk to the 10 people in your life. They’re closest to you and, depending on who you are, i would venture to guess that their grammar is not excellent. Have them write emails. I bet it’s not great. Now, does it show that a candidate takes time to spell check things and to have someone proofread? of course You can get into all that, but don’t get hung up on things like formatting or phrasing. People generally are not good at that, and we know it, and so I just think we tend to get confused as to what we’re actually looking for in a resume at times, which is a bad path to go down.

Ricky Baez: 16:28
I may be on the opposite side of that, pete, because from a recruiter’s perspective I get. About formatting, i completely understand, because that’s just where the words are on the resume. But if I see a grammatical error, if I see a spelling error on a resume, it’s a huge reflect from me And I understand that people hardly write resumes. I completely understand. But this is the one piece of document where they’re supposed to be putting their best foot forward And if this is the level of care that I see the best foot forward, imagine when they’re comfortable at work.

Now the opposite is so, so true. What I was saying about, actually you were saying it that a recruiter would give more time to that person who took the time to craft that personalized resume to the organization. Now that’s a person that when I hire, if I hire, they do well. That’s a person that I know. They showed me that they’re going to take that kind of level of care in anything they do. So the nonverbal cues is just as important as a verbal one. What?

Pete Newsome: 17:33
do you think, yeah, i mean, look, it’s inexcusable to not use spell check or something like that. What I’m really referring to are just general grammar problems that people will have, or bad phrasing or, like you said, formatting or the way the headers look. Those are things that really don’t have much bearing on a software developer’s ability to write great code and to operate efficiently and to be a good teammate and whatever is important for that particular role. But look at their skills, look at their work history, look at longevity right, not so popular today either.

We want to act like that doesn’t matter, but here’s why it does Because it shows you’ve had the ability to deal with challenging times and adversity. If, when I see a resume of someone who’s only worked at all their jobs a very short time, it tells me they haven’t had to deal with or successfully deal with too many challenges Because we all get the honeymoon phase right, you’re in, you’re new, great, you get this grace period, you’re training, whatever. But when I see people who’ve consistently left after a year and a half, i think, hmm, you haven’t really gotten through the muck at all and come out clean on the other side.

Ricky Baez: 18:55
That’s the threshold a year and a half to use short.

Pete Newsome: 18:59
It is short, sure. Well, i need to see that you’ve been able to stick it out at some point, right, that’s what? because I, or I have to be. It’s okay to do this, too, if you’re okay with someone, probably not lasting very long, but again, this is something that I have when I have to make decisions. Out of 200 resumes, potentially, who do you think I want to go with? Do I want to go with the one who’s never worked for a job more than a year and a half, when I’ve just told you I think the first year almost is a grace period in many companies, right?

Or do I want to see someone that’s had a history of success in advancement? Because I’m also looking for that. I want to see that you’ve succeeded where you were previously. As I said earlier in the show, what you’ve done in the past is the best indicator of what you’ll be able to do for me in the future, right? So if what you’ve done is not accomplished, much of significance anywhere, you’ve been. Okay, that’s what I’m going with, because I don’t know anything else about you.

Ricky Baez: 20:08
And I agree with that, i do. You know it’s a you have from a recruited perspective. You have to take a look at that past experience. But, pete, you know some people because, you’re right, some people are horrible at writing resumes. Not a bad thing, it’s just that they haven’t had that practice. And then other people could be great at writing. They’re just not good at, you know, patting themselves on the back. And that’s what a resume is. It is a walking talking. It’s magazine cover, exactly how you said. Right So, but here’s my thing. Here’s my thing from from a recruiter’s point of view. Job hopping today, job hopping today doesn’t really strike me as bad as it did 20 years ago. And the reason for that is is because I understand from a recruiter. I understand today’s workforce. They’re not as attached and loyal to a company like their predecessors have, would you not?

Pete Newsome: 21:03
agree with that? I do, but it’s about showing accomplishment, so it’s a good segue into that. Next thing to look for is is data, that is, i want to see tangible evidence that you’ve been successful in your role. If you’re a software developer, tell me what you’ve built. If you’re a designer, show me what you’ve, what you’ve developed or you designed. If you’re a salesperson, tell me what you’ve sold. Give me metrics, give me numbers, give me the data that I need to see. So, when you’ve been, if I’m hiring a salesperson, if I’m hiring a recruiter, we’ll say, since that’s who we’re talking to, and I see that you’ve worked at a string of places for never more than a year and a half, well, how good of a recruiter can you be for that company where you haven’t been through multiple cycles?

And you know I don’t and especially if your job I’ll say this too, and this is like the third thing I’ll say that’s probably going to be unpopular in some circles, like you said in today’s times is that I don’t. If I see just linear, if I’ve seen your progression stay flat and you’re going from recruiter to recruiter to recruiter jobs, you’re not advancing right. So well then, then again, here’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a resume being the book cover, the magazine cover that’s going to determine whether someone will pick it up to read it.

Okay, and if I have five resumes that I’m looking at even though we know we have hundreds, and I have a choice between year and a half job hoppers, or I look at someone who’s been at their places previous employers for three years, five years, demonstrable progression on their resume. I see metrics, I see awards, i see recognition and accolades. Who are you picking? Who are you picking? And you find who is everyone going to pick.

So that is the problem with this And this is more of a societal point. Right, and I rolled my eyes at you when you were talking about you know, here’s a message for candidates. Well, it is a message for candidates, but anyone who has to make hiring decisions is that if you don’t know anything else about the person coming in and you’re going to compare what you see to others, you’re always going to want to go with the ones who seem to have more longevity and progression in their career. It’s just smart. Why would you do anything differently?

Ricky Baez: 23:57
So it’s not that I would do anything differently, i’m just looking at the opposite concept as well. So job hopping, yes, if somebody jumps around a lot, that’s a red flag. But if somebody stuck around for an organization it’s a 30 years and that’s the only organization they know, wouldn’t that limit how they work in different industries? Because all they know is that one company. they need their job, but they only know their company’s way of performing that job It would.

Pete Newsome: 24:23
And so if you see someone whose job hopped a lot and let’s just continue this fictitious year and a half scenario but I do, it’s not that fictitious, right? We see it all the time That and, by the way, those are usually people giving the most career advice out there, just for the on LinkedIn, for the record, and I guess they’re good at finding jobs. But I think I want people who are good at keeping and succeeding in the jobs.

But if you You have to make a decision, do you want someone who can hit the ground running quickly, because that’s what you’re going to interpret from that, or do you say I don’t see any demonstration of success or achievement? That’s how I see it, so I’m just going to play the odds. And if I see someone that’s been at a company for 30 years, what depends on what I want them to do? Do I need that level of deep knowledge and expertise that I’m sure they would come with? Yes, maybe, then I’ll hire them.

Do I need someone to hit the ground running quickly and be agile and flexible? No, probably not. So the situation and the need will dictate how I interpret longevity at a job. But this is more of a general statement that I want to see accomplishments and I want to see progression. And you said what if someone doesn’t want to move up? Okay, depending on the role, that may not be the person I want to hire. Do I want to hire? So what? you just asked me, the way I heard it was do you want to hire someone with ambition or without?

Ricky Baez: 25:55
What I mean. But you’ve answered it correctly. It depends on the job. If you look at somebody who just make widgets, and that’s it. When you look at any kind of ambition, this position doesn’t necessarily move up, and you don’t want to move up.

Pete Newsome: 26:08
That’s made in heaven And sometimes that works against candidates, Right? I mean, where they’ll say, whoa, I’m afraid they’re not going to be in this job too long, I’m afraid they’re too ambitious and want to move on. I mean, I’ve received that feedback a lot over the years from companies that want the person to stay in the same seat. Now the same problem exists. So right, if you’re going to job, hop anyway.

Ricky Baez: 26:29
You’re not, you’re not, you’re not, you’re not you’re not going to be able to rely on that?

Pete Newsome: 26:37
Yeah, i depended, again depending on the role. Do I want that in a salesperson? No, no, definitely not. Do I want an accountant? Sure, right, i mean, that’s, if, that’s, if that’s all I ever want or expect from them. Sure, but to your point, every job and situation is unique.

Ricky Baez: 26:57
It is, and you know, and yes. so a lot of job hopping within a small amount of time is a red flag. Staying in one company for a long time could be a red flag, depending on how you want to do it. What about employment gaps? How do you see those?

Pete Newsome: 27:13
Again, it’s. It’s. If we’re being completely transparent, as we always are, it depends on what I’m comparing it to. Is it a small candidate field? Then I’ll be more forgiving of all of these things that we’re talking about. If it’s an abundant pool of candidates, who am I going to go with? The one that’s shown consistency, because you have to either accept or not, and I’m okay if the answer is not. It’s just, it’s not how.

How I would operate and have operated successfully, i’ll say, as a recruiter over a long time. But if I don’t have anything else to operate on, I’m going to make some assumptions based on what you’re showing me on the on the cover of this book. So if I see a work history that’s hard to follow or inconsistent, or big gaps, i don’t know, do I have time to stop and address that? You said it earlier nine seconds per resume. So how much of that’s getting consumed with understanding why there’s a three-year gap?

Ricky Baez: 28:21
Right. Well, i mean, here’s the thing, right to me, if that nine seconds it’s, it’s spent on what they write on their summary. Right, here’s my skills, here’s what I do, blah, blah, blah, and then I’m like I’ll move on to the next. Sometimes I don’t get enough, i mean, or if I’m trying to put too many things together.

Pete Newsome: 28:41
I’m done with the resume. You can use this analogy It’s, it’s. It’s analogous to so many things that exist in the world. I was looking for for something at the mall last weekend, with my wife looking for a shirt for a very specific purpose. I went to the rack, I scrolled through with my eyes, found one I liked and then picked it out. Why, I don’t know, because that’s the one that caught my attention. It was the right color, It appeared to be the right fabric. You know the brand, whatever it is. Then I go to the next level right, Here are three shirts I’m going to try on.

Right, It’s just like three resumes I’m picking out. But that means you didn’t pick out every other shirt or every other resume. So why are you picking out those and not others? Because they hit all the right points, clearly stating the qualifications, the work history, the experience, the data, the awards, the, maybe longevity, right, But as much as anything else, you’re not throwing a lot of other garbage at me. And so if I see a shirt, you know if it’s, if it’s so off from what I’m looking at, right. If I’m looking for a winter shirt and I see one with short sleeves, I’m moving on right. I don’t have to dwell on why it has short sleeves or understand what happened, and it’s an evolution to end up with short sleeves. It’s just not what I want.

Ricky Baez: 30:08
I’m just glad that I’m not the only one who attacks a mall that way. I hate malls And I think our wives should be on this show with us, because my wife goes in with a strategy. She’s there for eight hours. I go in, I go into the mall to find what I want exactly how I look at her.

Pete Newsome: 30:26
Right? Well, we went with right. We went. I said, hey, i need to go, i need this shirt, I need it for a reason. She’s like, great, i’ll go. She jumped at the chance to go with me, of course. And 10 minutes in, I’m like, all right, I’m already over this. She’s like, well, we just got here. I’m like, I don’t know, I just want the shirt, just like I want the candidate. I don’t want to look at resumes unnecessarily, I want to get right to the point. So the more tailored, the more specific, the more relevant and the more easy to understand and give me the feeling that you’re worth more than those nine seconds. That’s the goal. And so we could justify anything, and there’s lots of reasons. Now, here’s the thing, and this is now.

I’ll speak to a candidate and say, if you have a resume that is not easy to interpret, or you see potential red flags, whether you think there should be a red flag or not, right, and whether you’re justified and there’s lots of reasons, and I fully acknowledge that some great, great employees probably have an awful looking work history Then you’re going to have to figure out another way in the door, right, don’t, don’t compare, don’t send your resumes into a pile where where a bunch of others are going to look good, Figure out something creative, work with a recruiter And, by the way, i know all of these things because as the owner of a staffing company for two decades our recruiters are constantly having to figure out gaps and resumes, understand things that on the surface are don’t make a lot of sense, fix formatting, and this is which which drives them crazy. So we know all these things And they’re not insurmountable, but it does make you at a harder hill to climb.

Ricky Baez: 32:10
So it’s so. We talked about the, the copy. We talked about what kind of information that happened. How many red flags are you good at figuring out if somebody’s exaggerating their?

Pete Newsome: 32:22
stuff. Well, i assume everyone does, right. I mean, to some degree, most will exaggerate, but I don’t. I, you know that’s an interesting one. What’s your take on that? I don’t, i mean exact. There’s exaggerating, and then there’s there’s being dishonest. Are we, are you separating those things?

Ricky Baez: 32:46
What’s the okay? so let’s split hairs here, right? So exaggerating to some point does dabble in dishonesty, because if you’re exaggerating what you can do, you’re painting a false picture to somebody else about your credentials, is it not?

Pete Newsome: 33:02
Yep, it does. So give me an example, though. right, I’m the greatest recruiter in the world. Are we talking, you know, subjective exaggeration? or I filled a million positions in a week? Okay, now, that’s not an exaggeration, that’s dishonest. So I think it depends. I think that you find those things out Now, once it’s on the resume, and you see something extraordinary jump out, because that’s what’ll happen, right, you’ll see things that either are potentially too good to be true or they’re amazing and you wanna drill deeper, or things that are potential concerns that you need to drill into. So that’s on the candidate to defend, and I don’t know that I can pick those things out just from the resume itself, without drilling down further, and do a conversation.

Ricky Baez: 33:54
This is one of those things that I don’t know what I’m looking for, but when I see it, I know it.

Pete Newsome: 33:59
There you go.

Ricky Baez: 34:01
Yeah, because once I’ve seen situations that I’m like whoa, there’s no way. And that comes with experience, right, i know how our sales costs are, no worse. I know how a government entity works. So a recruiter that comes from there, in an environment that sorry, let’s say I’m looking for a recruiter, right, i’m a recruiter looking for a recruiter. And then I know they’re coming from a government agency. I know that a recruiter or the local government maybe recruits 50 positions a month and they’re telling me I’ve failed, actually failed. 600 positions every month. That’s a huge. That’s not a reflect, that’s a red blanket.

Pete Newsome: 34:33

Ricky Baez: 34:34
And now I’m gonna have a conversation. Actually I’m not gonna have a conversation. I’m not because I know actually it depends. I’m thinking out loud here. If it’s too exaggerated, i’m not even gonna give them a call. But if it’s like, wow, this is a little bit more than normal, you’ve now given me the need or the want to follow up with you, so maybe a little exaggeration is good.

Pete Newsome: 34:59
Well, i don’t know about that. I don’t see that You think that, maybe that it would be more common than it is. But I think people are used to having to defend what’s on their resume and are careful to put things in writing that are blatant untruths. So I don’t. but I agree with you. If you know, have intimate knowledge of the role and know what a too good to be true looks like, right Filled 600 positions in a week by myself. Okay, i know that’s not true. Why would I? I don’t think that’s someone you’d screw around with. You don’t?

Ricky Baez: 35:40
I mean, if you do, you ask them to just come to the NTV with a bunch of water and say do your magic, Let me see some wine out of this.

Pete Newsome: 35:47
There you go. So what about reading resumes? I mean so any other tips that we have that you’d want to offer to someone who how they should approach? I feel like I’ve given some of mine today That I want to be as efficient as possible and get to the. I want to get to the finish line, just like I wanted the shirt right. The goal was to get the shirt, the best shirt and with the littlest effort, and I think that’s how every recruiter intends to operate. Whether they do or not is a different question, but everyone wants the best candidate as quickly and efficiently as possible. So how do we get there?

Ricky Baez: 36:29
So how do we get there? I know this was something that I struggled with when I was a recruiter And what I struggled with is finding that balance of spending enough time, because I know how much time I put in my resume. right, when I was in college I knew my professor didn’t read my papers. So that’s when now, as a professor, i read papers. So as a recruiter I try to find, i try to give every candidate the most time possible.

But at the end of the day it’s almost impossible to do that because you as a recruiter have a responsibility. You have a job to do to find that candidate. Every day that that position is empty, it’s more money the organization loses and that’s the hat you need to have. So for me, what I like to do, i organize myself. I study that job description like nobody’s business, and I mean study it to the point that I almost know it by heart. If you study that job description, you test yourself to know what’s in it. You will be a whiz and reading resumes faster to make a determination on whether that candidate should be given an opportunity to interview. But I’ve seen a lot of recruiters who just jump in. they skim. they spend as much time on the job description as a resume, and that’s a mistake.

Pete Newsome: 37:51
Well. So job descriptions have sort of evolved in a way. I think that have led to that, because recruiters know that they often don’t accurately represent the true hiring need. Job descriptions are its own discussion on good and bad. I think to your point. While I said most people are bad at resume writing, most are bad at job description writing too. But they don’t have to be they just no one likes to do it. It’s a bad, that’s not fun. Let’s get past that. Let’s just get the candidate. So get the right job description in place.

You’ll have more accuracy in your applicants and the resumes that you receive. But as a recruiter I wanna understand what the most relevant parts are to that and then match those up with the resumes that I’m looking for and to fill the job with as few candidate interviews as possible. And that’s an area where I think people get lost too. So maybe my philosophy is what leads me to being harsh about some things like gaps in resumes or job hopping, where I am just trying to get to the candidate who is going to get the job and be the best one available.

So that means I wanna rule out. I will be faster to rule people out than I will to rule them in. As a result And that’s one of my strongest recruiting beliefs right If you is to rule out all the bad and then you’re only left with good. Right. So now, if it’s a skill set where there’s only five people within a thousand mile radius that can do the job, i’m going to be more accommodating. But if it’s a big candidate pool, like we talked about earlier, you don’t get a second chance, right?

Ricky Baez: 39:46
And look, here’s the thing from a career progression perspective. this is to the recruiters. from a career progression perspective. if I’m overseeing a recruiter and I got two recruiters, one of them is taking their time to fill this position. They have a lot of interviews Because to schedule interviews you take time away from leadership hiring authorities, from their regular jobs to interview Who do I pick for promotion? It will be the person who fully understands the entire business picture, because what you just said their peep is crucial.

You want to fill that position with as little interviews as possible. More interviews equals more productivity loss equals more money loss. That’s what that means, and a recruiter who understands that and finds a way how to be more efficient in bringing those in the higher ups are going to notice that. So, again, find the most efficient way. I can tell you the best way again for me is a job description. I know you said sometimes they’re old, but whenever I see it, whenever a recruiter tells me this is old, excellent, let me connect you with my HR generalist. We’re going to go ahead and get that updated ASAP. We should not put that to the side.

Pete Newsome: 40:56
Right. Well, i know, and I think on most of the time, the vast majority of the time, there’s about three to five things that really, really matter for a job, and that’s this is a kind of a very broad, gross exaggeration perhaps, but that’s usually how. What I’m looking for is let me start with those things, and those things have to be abundantly evident to me on the resume. The rest of the things need to be in place, where I’m not concerned about drama coming in from the candidate. And again, just let’s make it smooth and easy.

And I can tell you unequivocally that throughout the thousands and thousands of people we’ve recruited in place successfully over the years, there’s been many more that we haven’t successfully placed, that we’ve recruited. And through all of all of those experiences, one, what’s become clear to me is with their, one red flag may as well be 100. So if, if we’re new together as a candidate, I’m the recruiter, you’re the can, I’m the recruiter. And early on in my relationship with you there’s a, there’s a flaw or a problem jumping out, why would I want to invest more time and effort in that?

So I’m looking for red flags, right, because I know what, if you can do, if you, if you’re a Drupal developer, if you’re an interior designer, i will know I need to make sure that you are a good Drupal developer, right, I need to know that if you, if you’re design, style and experience and capabilities match the client’s needs. But I don’t know if there’s a lot of other baggage and problems that come in or come in with you. So that’s what I’m going to try to rule out first. Right, I’m going to rule out all the bad and then and then be left with the good.

Ricky Baez: 42:52
That makes sense. That and that brings me to this next point then, because if, if I’ve seen situations where a recruiter is looking for that diamond in the rough, looking for that unicorn, right, and they find that unicorn, but that unicorn also has red flags. When you find that diamond in the rough and the unicorn, sometimes that diminishes or devalues the value of a red flag to the point that some recruiters ignore it. And then six months later they’re like, oh man, well, we knew this at the interview because they all the quality he was looking for overshadowed that reflect. So what I’m saying here is do not lower your standards from red flags just because you see somebody come with a skill set that is 100, that that is what you’re looking for.

Pete Newsome: 43:36
So we got to be careful with that as human beings and in fact I’m putting together a book right now on this, and I’ve started started thinking a little bit about what the title will be, and it is going to have to it’s. It’ll end up being something about ruling people out, right, because you know, recruiters want to find the right candidate Yes, of course, but we have to be equally focused on excluding the wrong ones, if not more focused on that, and that’s and that’s where new recruiters struggle the most is looking. You don’t want to see the red flag, so you don’t see them.

You should go into that. Can new candidate resume conversation as soon as possible. If there are red flags, you want to know them immediately. So back to the resume point. If you can identify a red flag in those first nine seconds, great, you don’t have to invest 10 seconds. That’s a win. If you don’t identify it in those first nine seconds with the resume and you go deeper, well, hopefully you can identify it before you pick up the phone and schedule a call. If not, then then the first conversation and so on. So what you don’t want to do is find out after the person’s been hired that there was an oops. This is why they had the gap on the resume. This is why they don’t stay anywhere very long.

So play the odds, because we have limited time and the odds indicate that the cleaner and more straightforward resume is, the better the candidate process is going to go, and they’re going to be a better, higher Well then let’s say goodbye. I think that’s good. You always get the close. Is that the last word? Are we going to call it good? All right, awesome. Well, this was good, Ricky. Thank you so much. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on resume reading and some things to consider. We love feedback, so hit us up, hire calling H-I-R-E-C-A-L-L-I-N-G at 4cornerresourcescom. We love feedback. If you have suggestions or just say you think we’re wrong and you want to share why, we’ll be happy to address that on the air too. So, Ricky, thanks so much. Thank you, sir.

Ricky Baez: 46:00
You have a good one. You did a great job spelling that, by the way, because I’m like H-I-R, so, yeah, you got it All right folks have a good rest of the day.

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