February 17, 2014

Ask the experts: Take time to review resumes, find the right candidate

Ann Close shares tips for reviewing and sorting résumés to find the best employee for a position in a small business.

Hiring new employees in a small business can be time consuming for an owner who is running a company and struggling with time management.

However, the time spent on following a hiring game plan vs. hiring a “friend of a friend” or a “warm body” is time well spent, said Ann Close, managing member and senior human resources coach for Close HR Connections in Raleigh.

“The latter is easier, but when they don’t work out, the time and money spent on trying to make them work out or manage them out can be very, very costly,” Close said.

Here are Close’s edited tips on developing a plan to review résumés and narrow down job candidates.

Investing time and money on the front end of the hiring process will strengthen the opportunity of hiring a qualified candidate for your position and will minimize the need to use your resources to try to make an unqualified candidate work out.

Start with a job criteria checklist detailing the most important skills, abilities, education and experience you desire and require for the open position.

If the résumé is missing several of the checklist items, then they are moved into the “not qualified/not interested” pile. If the résumé has all the items or a majority of the items on the checklist, it is moved into the “qualified/interested” pile.

Once you’ve made this first pass on the résumés, take your “qualified/interested” pile and look at the candidates’ past two positions. Are the positions or job titles relevant to the position you are looking to fill? If not, that résumé should be moved to the “maybe” pile.

While making this review, also take note of the résumé style, spelling errors, unexplainable gaps in employment history and whether the résumé is tailored to your position or generic.

These can be clues to the strength and quality of the candidate.

If an owner can’t afford to be away from day-to-day business operations to follow a hiring process, then they should seek to hire an outside resource to help.

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