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Hiring Case Study: Resumes are a waste here’s what’s better

As crass as the above image is it hits the nail right on the head. At the end of the day as business owners we must take responsibility for everything that happens within our business. I personally was sick and tired of hiring the wrong people for mine. What I’m about to show you has saved me thousands of dollars in outsourcing to the wrong outsourcers or hiring the wrong employees as well as countless hours of frustration, resentment and basically everything that makes me procrastinate and hate what I do.

Have you ever hired someone to build you a landing page or a website? And instead of making your life easier it just made it harder? and instead of saving you time and money it made things more expensive and consumed more of your valuable time? This used to happen to me all the time. Keep reading on as I show you the EXACT processes and systems I developed for screening and hiring employees till it reached the point of minimum effort and maximum gain (Typically called the Pareto principle but you get the idea).

The most commonly used methods to screen applicants when recruiting and hiring are also the most useless yet somehow most companies persist in this idiotic behavior.

You don’t need to be like them, you can improve your hiring results and decrease your time spent extremely easily through some simple changes to your process.

Today we’ll explore one of them – the alternative to resumes.

I should mention in advance this particular technique is designed for low and medium skilled positions.  Although it can in theory be applied to high skill and executive positions the application there serves a different purpose.

We’ve used this method successfully to screen:

  • Labourers
  • Sales people
  • Engineers (electrical, mechanical, geotechnical, etc.)
  • Trades people (welders, machinists, mechanics, etc.)
  • Technical people (computer programmers, technicians, etc.)
  • Many others

 

You can grab our whole step by step process with examples by downloading our recruiting process templates

 

Background – The Screening Problem

bad hire

I owned a recruiting company for 7 years we screened tens of thousands of applicants, often we’d get literally hundreds applying for a single job.  There’d also be times where we wanted to go back into our database to find someone who fit what we were looking for…how do you do that when you’ve got literally tens of thousands to weed through?

This was an exhausting process to say the least.

Let me do some quick math for you.

If you sit down and review resumes thoroughly say they are on average 2 pages and you read 1 page per minute that’s 2 minutes per resume to read it over.  Frankly, some are longer and you probably won’t be giving much attention to detail but consider what this does to your hiring costs.

2 minutes per resume multiplied by say 200 resumes is 400 minutes of time…just screening resumes.  That’s over 6 hours!  And that’s without accounting for distractions, etc.

If your time or the time of the person screening is worth $50/hr (it’s almost certainly more by the time you consider operational overhead, etc.) that’s over $300 you’ve spent and for what?  You’re not going to remember most of those, at best you’ve got a very long short list.

What’s the alternative?

Most people develop biases that allow them to screen resumes faster.  I’d train our staff to screen a resume in about 20 seconds each looking for very specific things based on the position.

What’s the problem?

The biases are almost always at least partially wrong, things like “do they have a university degree” becomes a way to screen because you’ve got to do something to narrow the candidate list even if a degree has absolutely nothing to do with whether they’ll make a good hire.

The other solution involves technology.

Software can parse the resumes and make them searchable, decreasing how much time you spend opening files and reading through information.

The problem?  The resume itself is the problem!  It doesn’t matter if you can parse it, it rarely includes the information necessary to properly screen the person for the next step.  Search works based on keywords and a great applicant might through no fault of their own not use the keyword you’re searching for.

Why?  Because they don’t know what you’re looking for.  The candidate has created a form resume designed to be submitted to dozens of possible jobs so it’s generally generic and often includes irrelevant information while missing key points that matter to you.

What often ends up happening is whoever is screening the resumes doesn’t look through all the applicants but just settles for one near the top meaning they could be missing someone way better but because they don’t have the time to go through them all they’ll never know.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone and it felt bad to know that the squeaky wheel would get the grease or someone really good was missing out because they weren’t as aggressive in following up.

 

Resumes are Irrelevant

resume fear

There are some voodoo consultants who claim to have magical powers to determine candidate fit from resumes.  It’s rubbish.  Complete and utter nonsense.  Here’s why:

  1. Often resumes aren’t even written by the person applying for a job they might have used a template or gone to a third party resume writing service so what you think you’re gleaning from that resume might have little to do with them.

 

  1. Often the best candidates have poor resumes because they aren’t used to having to write resumes because they are busy doing great work, they are throwing one together quickly to apply when they are otherwise busy. By contrast some of the worst candidates are professional job seekers who might have great resumes.

 

  1. A good resume is designed to sell you not give you objective information about whether the candidate is a good hire so it’s at worst lies and at best highly filtered data, neither of which tells you accurately whether the person is a good candidate or not.

We tried all kinds of fancy voodoo, language profiling, NLP writing analysis, learning for different personality patterns in the writing, etc.  We consistently got the same result…frustration as what the resume said or how it was written failed to correspond to on the job performance.

Think a spelling mistake or grammatical error means the person is a poor candidate?  First, in the real world a spelling or grammatical error is rarely high impact, second, anyone can make a mistake and it doesn’t prove anything as much as you’d like to think it does or should.

These are the kinds of biases people form reading resumes.

Bottom line isn’t to bash on resumes it’s to point out that they are a waste of time…quit wasting your time.  You’re literally throwing money down the drain unnecessarily.

 

The Disqualification Process

The goal of the resume or what we’ll call the application process isn’t to select someone to hire it’s to decide who not to move to the next step in the process.

Ideally, this step helps you build an easy to reference database and gather some market data.

The way to do this is to determine your “disqualifiers”, which are objective in nature and then screen out anyone who doesn’t meet them as quickly as possible.

Please note, these disqualifiers should be data driven, meaning there’s no interpretation involved.  A huge part of the problem with resumes is they are so open to interpretation that you can out think yourself.  You want to eliminate thought from the process and make it robotic.

What does this accomplish?

It means you can outsource this step for $2/hr. saving thousands.  It means it can be done extremely quickly saving thousands.  And it means you can make better quality decisions, which will likewise save you thousands.

 

If you’d like you can download our disqualification templates here.

 

The Resume Alternative

We generally refer to the resume alternative as a disqualification email simply because we deliver it by email but it could just as easily be an application form you have applicants fill out on your website or in person when applying (less practical today).

What you’re aiming to do here is to reduce your cost per hire and decreasing the time to hire while simultaneously increasing your quality of hire.

Bottom line your objective here is to improve your hiring ROI.  Remember everyone you hire should be making you money not costing you money and the less they cost you including the cost to hire and manage them the better off you are.  Literally, hiring can be a huge competitive advantage.

When we started doing this it felt so much better.  It’s more efficient, it’s clearer, and more organized for the future.

Process wise what you’ll do is have everyone who applies fill out this form you’ll create for them.  Literally you’ll never read an email they send or look at a resume those are both a waste of time.  On your website or in your ads you’ll encourage them to fill out the appropriate form and if they send you a resume you’ll reply with this instead.

It’s highly efficient and actually will allow you to give better service to the candidates, which they appreciate.

Literally, for the initial point of contact you can use an auto-responder or templated email.

Download a sample in our copy and paste recruiting template pack here.

 

Disqualification Form

Really it’s very simple.  You’re going to ask them for every objective piece of information you’re looking for rather than relying on them to guess what you need to know.

You’re going to remove emotion from the screening process by standardizing how you gather the information.

The key here is to ask for OBJECTIVE information.

In other words, you’ll never ask something like “are you a hard worker?” or “are you a team player?”

You’ll ask about whether they have particular certifications and ask them to provide a copy or a certification #.

You’ll ask logistical questions like what schedule they are available to work.

You’ll ask about experience only in an objective manner like “please name 3 projects of such and such type that you’ve worked on” or “please list the heavy equipment you’ve operated”.

The idea here isn’t to provide perfect screening on the quality of how well they’ve done it only to establish with relative accuracy that they have done it so it’s worth your time to screen further.

These questions should be tailored to the individual position you’re hiring for and not be generic though of course you’ll have some overlap between positions.  What this should also do is match

What you’ll end up with is a form you can fill out that corresponds to the position profile you created so you can see at a glance the quality of match.  It all works perfectly together.

To get a copy of the position profile, disqualification form template, etc. download our copy & paste recruiting template swipe file here.

  • Joni

    I love this article but none of the links work