There’s nothing like a first impression, and in the case of job applicants, that is often a resume. But let’s be honest for a second about resumes and their real value when it comes to making hiring decisions.

  • We skim them, and the more resumes we have, the less time we have to spend reviewing them. In fact, a recent study shows that recruiters spend an average of six seconds looking at each resume. This means we’re often making hasty decisions about who to move forward – and not move forward – within the hiring process.
  • They often contain falsehoods, exaggerations, and outright lies. According to ADP, 44% of the more than 2.6 million resumes they examined had lies about the applicant’s work history! Because past employers do not, and often cannot, verify the information, we are left to assume they are true – a potentially costly assumption.

importance of resumes

  • Even if everything on the resume is accurate and prior work experience is aligned with job requirements, it is quite likely that new hires will need to learn and perform additional job duties with new tools in a different environment.
  • The information contained in resumes and the manner in which it is presented lacks consistency.  As a result, their usefulness in comparing and contrasting candidate qualifications is limited.

What can you do to address resume challenges? Here are a few simple, yet actionable and proven approaches:

  1. In addition to collecting resumes, utilize standardized, job-specific (as opposed to generic) employment applications to gather relevant, legally defensible information from all candidates.
  2. Compare and contrast candidate qualifications based on the objective information gathered from the standardized job-specific applications.
  3. Prioritize the order and depth of resume reviews on a top-down basis, thereby allowing you to spend more time reviewing top contender resumes.
  4. Schedule and conduct structured, on-site interviews with top contenders.
  5. Use a standards-based assessment strategy to gain a holistic view of each applicant’s cognitive ability, job-related skills and personality, and integrity.

It should be noted that there are a wide variety of professionally developed employment tests that can be seamlessly integrated with the process described above. Doing so in an intelligent and planned manner can significantly improve your ability to efficiently, objectively and consistently identify top contenders.

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