How should recruiters read CVs/resumés?

Scanning thousands of resumés and selecting the best out of them can be tough. We understand that. Especially more so in present times wherein people willingly write lies, ‘untruths’ or distorted facts in their professional resumes in an attempt to fool the recruiters.

We know the struggle to find the perfect aspirant is real. Consequently, we have come up with this guide discussing how recruiters should scan standard resumés to identify loopholes, pitfalls, dishonesty and similar such cases.

We will provide a section-wise analysis scrutinising certain key factors which you, as a recruiter, should keep in mind. Without further ado, let’s begin:

Job title

The job title is ideally written right below the name and should be based on the aspirant’s current designation and their target profile.

More than 50% of applicants mention their job title, irrespective of whether they have any experience in that particular domain or not.

This is where the ‘distorted facts’ come in. For instance, a software developer targeting data analytics will write ‘Data Analyst’ as their job title. In their head, they can defend the job title by saying that certain components of their previous/current jobs were around analytics. But that doesn’t justify writing ‘Data Analyst’ as the job title, and you know that.

Always cross-check the job title by scanning the ‘Professional Experience’ section. This way, you can easily catch if the job title provided is true or false. See if there’s a link between their current profile and the profile they are targeting. Reference checks will surely help in such cases.

Education and professional qualifications

Check whether the academic qualifications match up with the target profile or not. The minimum educational qualifications as mandated in the job listing should be prioritised; there’s no need to compromise on that criteria even if the applicant is experienced.

Additionally, if an applicant is armed with certifications related to the profile they’re targeting, then surely you should give more preference to that candidate over other applicants. In that case, make it a point to ask for relevant documentation to back everything the applicant claims on their resumé.

Professional experience

It’s the most important section when it comes to selecting the desired candidate because an experienced person undoubtedly can contribute more to the next organisation.

If you want to check whether a person is telling the truth in his/her professional resumé or lying about the professional experience he is carrying, then don’t turn a blind eye to the following things:

  • If there is a gap in the professional trajectory of the applicant, it won’t hurt to scrutinise the resumé thoroughly. Identify the reasons for these gaps and see if the cover letter addresses them. In case there were genuine reasons for the gap, the applicant will justify the same in the cover letter. It’s your duty as a recruiter to decide if the claims are true or not;
  • In case the candidate hasn’t mentioned the period (month AND year) for their profiles, it can be construed as a red flag. It’ll help if you cross-check this specific factor in either the interview or through reference checks;
  • If the bullet points framed are generic and do not discuss his/her actual contributions, then give a second thought before calling that person for the interview. Chances are that he/she would have utilised a pre-written content template for that particular profile without bothering to include their actual details; and
  • If the candidate has written everything that has been mentioned in the JD (Job Description), but similar points are missing from his achievements/contributions, that is a red flag as well. Chances are that they’d have pasted the JD in the hope of getting shortlisted.

Always look for aspirants who have quantified their bullet points and achievements – how many reports they generated, how many customers they handled, the KPIs they were tasked with and their performance against the same, and so forth. These details are a definitive parameter to gauge whether the information in the resumé is genuine or not.

Skills

Most of the applicants write skills just to pass the ATS compliance test but it’s your responsibility as a recruiter to find out whether it’s fake or genuine.

For this, the best policy is to go through the Professional Experience section and scan if they have justified the same points which are mentioned in Key Skills and Technical Skills or not.

In case they have mentioned the points in the Professional Experience nowhere, then you know what to do!

References

If the aspirant has mentioned references, then go ahead and reach out to them. This will clear all your doubts if you find something fishy in the resumé and will additionally clear the dilemma around whether the candidate is a perfect fit for the job he/she is looking for or not.

Instead of merely validating the claims made in the resumé, ask whether the candidate was a cultural fit in the organisation. The technical aspect of any job can be addressed, but if someone is unable to gel with his/her colleagues that could be a problem.

By following the above-mentioned approach, you can easily outdo the selection part and find the desired candidate in a hassle-free way.

Aditya Sharma is the co-founder at Hiration – an online resume builder and AI-based career services platform.

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