Resumes Lie!

Many would argue that the pendulum has swung back towards a more normal labor market, affording employers a greater chance of finding the appropriate people they need to fill the vast array of unfilled positions available right now in retail. But going through this process currently with a client of mine has unearthed some interesting observations.

Firstly, there are plenty of applicants ready to apply for jobs that appear aspirational to them – regardless of their inexperience or lack of capability to actually fulfill the role. It seems to me that many people apply to a headline without having read any of the detail of the job profile.

Secondly, thanks to ‘career guidance education’, electronic recruitment formats like Seek and glib media articles, all applications seem to say the same thing in the same way. Bland and safe – but they tick all the boxes.

And thirdly, resumes lie. Personal marketing (“I see myself as a brand!”) has become an art-form that sees the literary equivalent of chest-beating used to overpower with superlatives of self-assessed value. In the exercise I am working on right now this often concerns people whose experience consists of flitting between 6-month posts in a career spanning less than three years, applying for a senior management position.

Is it only people like the one played by Dudley Moore in the movie ‘Crazy People’ who use truth in advertising as a differentiator?

Because I can tell you from personal experience that very few resume claims can be described as anything but big fat porkies!

What a great deal of the ‘career guidance noise’ fails to explain to potential candidates today is that the most important part of any interview process revolves around personal experience and personal values and how they align with the business and it’s culture. Competencies can be taught. But values and true experience are embedded deeply within someone’s DNA.

Big claims from shallow resumes betray the real value set of a candidate and how the person will conduct them-self in your employ. Not to mention telegraph that they are in a hurry to get to the next level in their ladder climb – rather than to do the job you want to pay them to do.

Learn to read between the lines. Look at the headline claim versus the tenure and the position they actually held. Think about the employer and how complex their retail business is. Demand referees and check them before a face-to-face interview. Go back to any applicant who might be interesting on the surface but who has failed to supply what you have asked for in the position description and the job ad.

If they won’t do the work to apply for the job, they won’t do the work to fulfill the job. You don’t need warm bodies to fill holes in an organization chart. You need productive people who are aligned to your values and who can share a prosperous future with your organization for as long as that works for both sides.

Resumes lie. Interrogate them or face the consequences.