Keywords Aren't Key When Determining The Best Job Candidates

April 20, 2016 Chad Truby

Most hiring professionals spend lots of time scanning resumes for key words that match up with the job description, words like ‘leadership’, or ‘results-driven’ or ‘self-motivated’. Keyword scanning is the reason most HR professional spend 6 seconds on average looking at a resume before deciding whether a candidate is a fit. Keywords are used by applicant tracking systems to knock candidates out of the running and, worse, candidates are gaming the system by overloading their resumes with keywords just to get past gatekeepers.

Here's a radical idea. What if resumes were not the first thing hiring teams reviewed when filling open positions, but the last? What if companies used resumes to validate elements of a candidate’s story rather than making it the whole story?

There are two major issues with using a resume review as the primary way to determine next steps for candidates. First, who’s getting overlooked? A fantastic resume could be the product of a great candidate, a great writer, or a great resume writing service. It’s easy to miss a candidate who might be a perfect fit but who neglected to include the right keywords. Second, how important is your time? Managers have a lot more on their plates than hiring, like driving revenue and coaching their teams. A resume will never be able to tell managers where to spend their valuable time in the hiring process.

Every job applicant has a story to tell, and it's the story behind the resume that counts. If you ask the right questions at the right time, you can help candidates build their story to really get a picture of whether they have the skills, motivation, and character to make a difference. Why is leadership important during organizational change? What innovative strategies have you implemented that made a difference? What does ‘teamwork’ mean to you?

Resumes and keywords give you a partial view of candidates but they don't really speak to who they are and what they can do for your business. The key to finding the best candidates is to get past a reliance on keywords and to give them a platform so they can demonstrate what makes them special. Get your candidates engaged at the start and ask them the questions that matter – you'll never rely on resume reviews again!

Give us 5 minutes to show you how Hoops will show you candidates in a whole new way. Call us at (877) 262-7358 to find out more.


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