The world of social media has created a new kind of problem where every other person is doing something to make themselves look “very good.” That need to “look good” has taken a whole new level when it comes to crafting a resume.
The information included on that resume is hardly subjective.
Or is it?
In addition to the typical acts of embellishment, exaggeration and resume padding, the rise of websites like FakeResume.com and CareerExcuse.com have introduced an entirely new level of lying to the mix. Whether you’re simply trying to get past the “fluff,” or to determine whether a candidate’s skills, abilities and characteristics are accurately represented by his/her resume, these tips can help.
1. The Background Check
In today’s harried, fast-paced workplace, it’s easy to give into the temptation to skip this step — especially if you’re rushing to fill a vacancy and the “perfect,” candidate appears. However, a standard background check is a vital part of the process. Look for confirmation of work history and dates of employment in order to separate the resume from reality.
2. Know the Red Flags
In some cases, gaps in employment or bouts of “self-employment” have rational explanations. In other cases, these seemingly innocuous things may reveal critical information about a candidate’s professional background. Additionally, if a candidate is unforthcoming about reasons for leaving a job or seems reluctant to share references, these may also indicate hidden issues.
The quickest way to get past this uncertainty? Make reference checks a non-negotiable part of your hiring process. Verify websites and numbers of previous employers yourself before making contact as these can easily be faked — particularly in the digital age.
3. The Power of Social Networking
A candidate’s social networking profile can help you verify basic information, including education credentials and work experience. Candidates who have their privacy settings set to “public,” meanwhile, may unknowingly reveal even more about themselves. Take a moment to check each candidate’s social networking profile to get a better sense of who an applicant really is — as a potential employee and as a person.
4. Put Them to the Test
Anyone can infuse a resume with keywords based on the job description, but how many people actually have these skills to the degree for which they’re required? Don’t leave this up to chance. Instead, give applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their skills by testing them during the interview. In addition to “hard” skills, it’s also possible to test “soft” skills with questions designed to highlight sought-after traits like communication, teamwork, and empathy.
5. Keep an Open Mind
Bias is an unfortunate part of the hiring process. When evaluating candidates, it’s essential to keep an open mind, both pertaining to your own bias as well as to any honest mistakes which may occasionally occur on the candidate’s side. If information is misrepresented on a resume, give the candidate a chance to explain.
But keeping an open mind doesn’t mean disregarding your own common sense, intuition and experience. If something seems “off” or incorrect, follow up.
Accepting a candidate’s resume at face value comes with risks which can compromise both your business and your bottom line. These simple techniques can help you delve beneath the surface to get a more accurate understanding of a candidate’s true potential to make a meaningful contribution at the workplace.
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