Monday, January 14, 2013

What's the point of a résumé?

If you're looking for a job, you're quite aware of all the advice on how to conduct an effective job search, how to write a résumé and cover letter, and how to conduct yourself during an interview.  You can even take courses to learn how to be more effective during an interview or write compelling cover letters and résumés.  And let's not forget the follow-up thank you notes.  Finding a new job has, in itself, become big business.  Is all this etiquette and advice necessary?

Unfortunately, yes, but it's time to teach HR departments the proper rules and etiquette for posting a job position, what to ask from applicants, and when to ask for it.  Just because an applicant may be unemployed doesn't mean he has all the time in the world to provide redundant information nor information that isn't needed unless the employer plans on hiring the individual.  Sure, the employer has the upper hand because they have something an applicant wants, but that doesn't mean an employer should be wasting an applicant's time.

Here are some guidelines all employers worth working for should be following:
  • When listing a job opening, don't spend a paragraph or more telling the applicant how wonderful your company is.  An applicant worth hiring will tell you during the interview how wonderful you are.
  • Don't ask the applicant for his salary requirements.  The applicant's salary requirements are simple - cash or direct deposit.  The position you're trying to fill shouldn't be a reverse auction bid, either, where the lowest bidder wins the job.  You know what you are going to pay, or at least a range you are willing to pay, so don't ask the applicant what he wants to be paid.
  • List a salary or salary range for the position.  The only people who will apply for the position are the ones willing to earn what you offer.  You only succeed in wasting an applicant's (and your) time coming in for an interview for a job he will turn down because of the pay.  If you want quality applicants, offer more pay or settle for those  who do respond to your pay range.  Remember, you get what you pay for.
  • You received a résumé.  Why do you need the information from it copied and pasted to an application?  Attach the résumé to the application.  That simple.  An applicant didn't spend hours composing a résumé (or spend a small fortune having someone else write it) to only spend more time copying the information to your application.  Do your job; streamline your hiring process; eliminate redundancy; and save time and paper.
  • Don't ask for references until you are down to the final pool of possible people to fill the position and need more information to narrow the pool further.  You're looking for applicants with skills and knowledge, not applicants who know the right people.  You're wasting the time of the applicant who needs to tell his references that he used them only for you to never call the references because you decided not to hire him early on.
  • Remember, an applicant has invested many hours, and probably money, in preparing for and conducting his job search.  Your time may be valuable, but his time is more valuable.  He has bills to pay and wants to start work today. 

Posted by The Coffee Party

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