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Don’t Make These Mistakes Judging a Candidate Resume

Hiring is difficult. For most of my clients, hiring someone for their team isn’t a process that gets them out of bed and out the door in the morning. Hiring the right candidate is a challenge and unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the perfect candidate. That being said, there is hope! In this post I’ll be sharing some advice to ensure good candidates aren’t falling through the cracks during the recruitment process.

Over the years, I have looked at thousands of resumes, and I’ve seen first-hand why it’s critically important to have an open mind when reviewing candidate resumes. At Lannick, our dedicated Recruitment team interviews every candidate before they are submitted to our clients. Through these interviews, we are able to get answers to any questions we have about their resume. It often turns out that individuals with “bad” resumes are in fact great candidates, and even end up being placed into roles at our clients’ companies.

Unfortunately, giving candidates the chance to explain their resumes isn’t a common practice. All too often, I hear of applicants being rejected immediately in the hiring process because their resumes break the so-called “rules of a good resume”.

The next time you’re reviewing a resume, break the rules! Don’t make these mistakes when judging a candidate resume:

1) Judging a book (resume) by its cover (format)

Formatting a resume is an art that not every candidate has mastered. Quickly glancing at the highlights may be tempting, but you’re also risking missing out on a great candidate due to lacklustre formatting. Accomplishments and experiences can be buried in run-on sentences, so carefully take your time to read through each resume.

2) Assuming all gaps are bad

Life happens, and so do resume gaps. People take breaks from the working world for various reasons, from pursuing further education, trips, personal events, health issues, etc. I’ve also met lots of great candidates who have quit jobs they hated and are taking their time to find a new the right role. I always advise hiring managers to be open-minded to at least hearing the full story behind employment gaps story rather than making assumptions.

3) Dismissing short(er) tenure

If you were to quickly survey a room of hiring managers, one of the most agreed upon “bad” resume traits would be short tenure in previous roles. While this is definitely a warning sign, it shouldn’t automatically eliminate a candidate. Similar to resume gaps, I encourage you to look at the reasons for the movement – is the person getting promoted or making lateral moves? Are they changing industries? Joining a more prestigious firm? Furthermore, in today’s super hot hiring market, one year of tenure in a role shouldn’t be looked at unfavorably, especially at the entry level.

4) Turning a blind eye on transferable skills

In such a tight market, it can be very hard to find the “perfect” candidate who has possesses your ideal skill set, is a solid cultural fit, and meets your budget. I advise my clients to look at candidates from outside of their industry, as many candidates possess excellent transferable skills and can be quickly trained on any gaps upon joining your organization. Accounting is accounting; assuming a candidate has a solid understanding of the core principles, any industry-specific nuances (or lack of) shouldn’t knock them out of the running.

5) Ruling out international experience

You can significantly increase the available candidate pool by considering candidates with professional accounting designations from outside of Canada. When meeting professionals with other accounting designations, I encourage hiring managers to focus on professional accomplishments, work experience and transferable skills. Your recruitment partner can also screen prospective candidates for English presentation and communication skills.

6) Not looking beyond the resume

A resume is only a small part of every candidate’s story. Even if a resume appears too short, consider the applicant’s cover letter, accomplishments, online presence, and professional reputation. This is especially true if they have been recommended by a professional recruiter. At Lannick, we meet with thousands of candidates every year, and we only short-list those that we believe to truly be a good fit for our clients’ needs.

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