Overabundance of resumes creates resu-mess

An overabundance of resumes is prompting employers to change the way they review applications and interview candidates. For individuals in search of a new job or career, it is as easy as Copy, Paste, and Submit.

No longer do managers receive a dozen or two resumes mailed or faxed from a single ad in the Sunday classifieds. They are greeted daily with hundreds, even thousands, of emails clogging inboxes from Internet job postings. Cancer Treatment Centers of America Inc. received 19,000 applicants for 100 jobs at a new hospital near Phoenix.  The Palm Beach County School District (FL) received more than 1,000 applications for fewer than 100 driver positions.  A recent posting for a Family Dollar Store New York City store manager drew 700 applications in two days.

But more resumes isn’t necessarily better. Few managers, human resource professionals and assistants have the time to screen the applications, call the candidates, do the voice mail dance, complete phone interviews, schedule face-to-face interviews, check references, complete background checks and so on.

It is fair to say that reviewing and processing these resumes is like having eight lanes of traffic exiting onto a two-lane side-street. This translates into a resu-mess bottlenock at the hiring tollgate.

Management is at a crossroads. Business just wasn’t as complex as it is today. But many organizations still insist on using the techniques of yester-year to solve today’s problems. Candidates hire professional resume writers. They search the Internet for information about your company. They download dozens and dozens of answers to the most common interview questions.

Yet managers are still doing interviews on the fly, relying on gut instinct and an exaggerated resume to make the final hiring decisions. What can an organization do to attract more candidates and simplify the complex process of recruiting and hiring?

Simplify the application process.

To first attract and then actually hire the best talent, making the entire application process as convenient as possible is critical. Prospective employees should be able to fill out an application online 24/7. Immediately upon submitting their resumes, these candidates should be asked to complete an automated online interview.  This screening interview includes job specific filter questions (from as basic as “Are you available to work weekends including Saturdays and Sundays?” or “Have you completed a two-year or four year degree?” to “Describe why you feel you are an effective leader and provide an example”).  You can also pre-qualify by asking skill and competency based questions (“Indicate your proficiency using Microsoft Excel”), allowing candidates to self-qualify or disqualify themselves.  For the hiring manager, this means fewer phone calls to unqualified, unmotivated and uninterested candidates and faster access to the qualified candidates.

A well-designed applicant processing system is like the EZ-Pass of human resources. It can help organizations filter and process résumés quickly and provide a central repository for potential candidates. When the system aligns with business processes, it’s possible to identify talent more quickly and reduce hiring time. The net result is that you can snatch talented individuals before your competitors do.


Ira S Wolfe


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