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How to Judge Job Candidates Fairly

Don’t judge a book by a cover.

What does that mean? It means that many candidates today, regardless of their skill or experience level, still do not know how to write a good bio/resume.

Does that mean they are not good candidates? Not at all, says Lynne Keenan a recruiter with over 15 years of project management, sales, marketing and recruiting experience who is currently a Senior Recruiter with Marcomm, a contract marketing, interactive and creative jobs staffing firm.

“It just means we need to take a little more time to do our due diligence to find what we are looking for,” says Keenan.

According to Keenan that means recruiters need to look beyond the basics and read between the lines when reviewing resumes, bios, LinkedIn pages and Twitter posts. Get to know them. Learn about them: What makes them tick?

Do they continue to further their education? If so, in what capacity? Do they volunteer? Do they do things outside of work (extra-curricular activities)? Who are their greatest influencers? And of course, do they seem to have the skills that you are looking for enough to pick up the phone and make a phone call? If still a maybe? Then give them a call and learn more, says Keenan.

Tim Cotroneo, an Account Manager for MDS Staffing, an employment search firm specializing in the placement of engineering, architectural and office personal, remembers the conversation vividly. He once asked a chef what he looked for when making a new hire. His reply had very little to do with culinary skills.

“The Chef said he’d be spending a lot of time with this new teammate and he ultimately wanted someone with whom he’d enjoy working,” says Cotroneo. “He went on to say that personality, character and the ability to get along with others were his main hiring criteria. These personality traits determined whether a candidate was a good fit or bad fit.”

As much as all new hires would like an even playing field during the interview process, it’s human nature for business owners, HR professionals, and recruiters to have a personal set of preconceived notions whenever they review a resume or conduct an interview. Whether the person doing the hiring has been at their job for 20 years or 20 days, they bring a unique set of standards, or criteria, to which they naturally judge candidates.

“We all are judged in every aspect of our lives,” says Cotroneo. “What is going through the mind of the business owner, HR professional, or recruiter is based on what they have been exposed to, good and bad, leading up to assessing a candidate for a new job opportunity.”

Keenan points out another important aspect of the recruiting process, saying hiring managers that use recruiters that do not pick up that phone are missing out on amazing candidates. Good recruiters submit candidates for a reason and they do their best to screen “out” candidates more than you realize, says Keenan. Which means they have probably done the above and then some.

“They’ve reviewed their resumes,” says Keenan. “They’ve stalked their LinkedIn page. They’ve picked up the phone and interviewed them once, if not twice and they have met them in person. All before they were ever introduced to you.”

They have also discussed your opportunity with them and why they think they should or should not be a candidate.

“Recruiters go the extra mile to screen out,” says Keenan. “Hiring managers should go the extra yard to screen them in.”

Don’t judge a candidate just based on a piece of paper. Realize this person is in front of you because they chose to be. And if you are fortunate to have a good recruiter engaged with you? Look for why you should like them versus why you shouldn’t.

“It makes the experience so much more fun and you will know you have not judged anyone at all,” says Keenan. “You have done your due diligence to make this the best possible hire you could.”

By Matt Krumrie

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