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Don’t Let Pared-Down Résumés Derail Your Selection Process

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Issue: Overqualified candidates are becoming more adept at trimming their résumés.

Risk: Your hiring decisions may be skewed thanks to their hidden history.

Action: Draw on references and your questioning skills to probe for missing details.

So-called "massaging" of résumés is one way that job-seekers compete, especially as more overqualified workers jump around the job market in search of a better fit.

For them, it can make the difference between surviving a hiring manager's first cut or not. For you, this growing nip-and-tuck practice of leaving off chunks of employment history can make it harder to ferret out the true measure of what candidates might bring to a job.

So, how can you probe for details that you suspect may be missing from a "tailored" résumé?

Besides the obvious (looking for inconsistencies or gaps in career progression on the résumé), here are some other clues to note and strategies to employ:

1. Ask skill-specific questions. The questions should be on a level that only someone with more experience could answer.

2. Focus reference questions on skill sets. Solicit information from references that draws out specific comments on skill levels associated with progressive responsibilities.

For instance, fully describe the job being sought. Then, ask references how much experience with XYZ the candidate had at the previous/current job. Or ask references to comment on the skill level required in XYZ. One way or the other, you'll obtain some kind of response and can use that information to better judge the candidate's true work level achieved.

3. Encourage an upfront, direct and honest dialogue with candidates about your needs and their situations. Ask them outright if their résumés are a complete representation of their job experiences.

Encourage some conversation about any other life and/or work experience that might apply to the position you're filling.

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