Fighting through the Fluff: How to Pick up on the Resume BS

Sort through Resume Fluff

So you’ve posted your open job description, and now the floodgates have opened. Suddenly you find yourself drowning in a sea of resumes, and that job had to be filled like yesterday. But don’t stress, because we have the tools you need to stop drowning in fluff and start getting to the important stuff on each and every resume.

Skim Like a Pro

The average recruiter or hiring manager spends about seven seconds skimming a resume before reaching a decision about it. To skim like a recruiting ninja, start out by only looking for the mandatory job requirements. Skip everything else for now. For example, if the job requires a college degree, search for that first. If the rest of the resume appears to be well-written, set it aside to read more in-depth later.

If you’re looking for specific keywords, conduct word searches using Microsoft Word. You might consider creating three folders – High Potential, Medium Potential and No Potential to help you sort resumes on your computer.

Skip the Cover Letters

Let’s be honest, many cover letters are filled with fluff. If the candidate isn’t even qualified for the position, you’re just wasting your time reading their cover letter. Check resumes first, and look at cover letters as a secondary enhancement to the resume.

Request More within the Job Posting

Many candidates don’t read the full job description or don’t follow application instructions. In the job posting, include instructions to help you see who follows directions.

For example, ask candidates to email answers to specific questions or upload their resume in a certain format. Candidates who don’t follow instructions can immediately be placed in the Low or No Potential folders.

Quickly Identify Education & Work Experience

Use the search function on your computer to quickly pull out education information and work experience. The search function is an excellent tool to sort through resume fluff. If the job requires a Master’s degree in Business, search for “Master’s,” “M.B.A.” or “MBA” to see if you can quickly find a qualified candidate. The same goes with work experience. Search for keywords like “Manager” or “Management” to get a good feel for the candidate’s experience.

Look for Formatting and Typos

Once you’ve sorted your pile of High Potential candidates, you can look more in depth at the honed down pile. Are there any glaring grammatical errors or typos? If written communication is going to be a big part of the job, grammatical errors could be a problem.

Check the Data

As you continue your deep dive into the resume’s content, take a look at what the numbers are telling you. Maybe their resume says the candidate was top salesperson at their company last year. How many salespeople are in their company? Dig into their experience a little bit more to get a better idea of what the data means within the context of the bigger picture.

Look at the Cover Letter

Lastly, when you feel like you have a pretty solid resume in your hands, take a look at the cover letter. Does the cover letter just regurgitate information that you’ve already read? Or are they giving you something new? Do they focus on specifics that you had posted in the job description? Candidates who are really interested will have taken the time to spell out why they’re the perfect fit for the job.

If you have a hard-to-fill position or are looking for help with the hiring process, we’d be happy to help you find the perfect candidate.  Contact us to learn more about our staffing services.