New Economy, New Resume Rules


The New Year is here and for the past few months we’ve continued to have little bursts of news that indicate the worst is most likely behind us as an economy. While nearly every expert agrees that this recovery will happen in fits and starts and over a longer period of time, many companies are beginning to make plans for future growth once again.

Now that the focus isn’t exclusively on cost cutting anymore, HR teams in every industry are focusing on hiring once again, either for turnover or for some small growth. To make the most of hiring in this economy you’ll need to teach your recruitment staff to screen resumes based on a whole new series of rules.

When it comes to new resume rules, the situation is pretty simple. There are a lot of people in the marketplace who have taken lower-pay, lower responsibility or imperfectly matched jobs to get themselves and their families through this economic meltdown. That means you can no longer simply glance at someone’s duties, title or pay grade in order to qualify or disqualify them from your open position. To make matters more difficult, unemployment is still extremely high (as it’s a lagging indicator even during recovery times). This means you’re likely to get more applications than ever before for any opening you’ve got. Combine those factors and you have to come up with a screening strategy to help your recruitment team get through the process efficiently while guaranteeing you don’t accidently pass over the most qualified candidate. Here are some tips to help you get through the process.

Train Your Team To Think With Contemporary Logic

Just sitting down your recruitment staff to discuss how the last 18 months have changed the resumes of some quality applicants will go a long way to preventing them from accidentally passing up a great potential employee. Remember, if someone’s been out of work for a while, taken a positional downgrade or even a part-time job, it may not be a reflection of their value but of the stability of the company that previously employed them. When an applicant seems to have a great five year history, but a bumpy recent past, quickly Google the company they were at before their downgrade. If there were layoffs, it might explain the scenario. Your recruiters should be skilled in telling the difference between a poor applicant and a great one who’s been through an unfortunate experience.

Require Clarifying Steps In Your Application Process

One great way to make sure an applicant’s personal situation is clear is to ask them for more information when they submit a resume. A simple statement in each of your job descriptions that makes it clear that your company understands the last 18 months have been unusual and gives the applicant the opportunity to submit a cover letter explaining any gaps, demotions or salary reductions might help your recruitment team spot diamonds in the rough. Of course, you’ll have to confirm the applicant’s explanation should you move towards hiring them, but it will make your screening process a lot faster.

Use Technology To Reduce Your Workload

Most applicant tracking software and nearly all major job boards offer screener interactions that you can ask each applicant to go through. By asking each applicant to answer several questions through digital interface and then ranking their answers, you can help your recruitment team gain clarity without adding work.

By employing the steps above, you can take your recruitment strategy to the next level and ensure that the next 12 months help move your company, and your talent, forward. Recruitment today can be a little bit scary and even overwhelming without a strategy. However, with a few simple changes you’ll be thrilled with how many great candidates are out there that can help you top-grade your organization.