Sunday, December 13, 2009

Resume path part 2

In my last post, I discussed how a job posting showed up on an advertisement/job board etc. and that by the time it reached a job board, it had been worked into a set of criteria. What happens next is why we spend so much time on resumes.

The result of posting an opportunity is that the recruiter will be bombarded with resumes. It has become common for me to be told that as many as 1,000 resumes can be submitted to a single posting. So when I say that a recruiter can be bombarded, that is really close to what they experience. And honestly, no one can review 1,000 resumes and no company wants them to.

For smaller companies that do things manually, the person will start at the top of the pile and go through resume’s until they find some pre-determined number of resumes that might be good fits, then files the rest and deals with the selected ones. Maybe it’s 50, maybe as much as 100, it’s just very hard to imagine the number getting much bigger than that. So lots of resumes aren’t even reviewed. Frequently not even logged in.

Larger organizations use some kind of software that allows them to do “key word” searches. A key word that is popular currently in IT is “Scrum”. It’s a development project management methodology. So the recruiter has all of the resumes entered into a database then scans them for “Scrum”. If your resume doesn’t use that word, then it is eliminated. If the number of resume’s left after this is too large, then the recruiter will add some other word, perhaps it will be C#. Still too many? Check to see if Scrum appears two or more times, check if C# appears more than two times, then three, etc.

There is almost no chance a human will look at more than 50 resumes for an opening. Even then, the first human scan will probably take less than 10 seconds, probably closer to 3. The recruiter will now have 20 to 25 resumes that are read in any kind of depth at all. Their job is to deliver between 3 and 10 resumes to a hiring influence. Worst case scenario, has 10 screening interviews extracted from 1000 resumes submitted. That is a 1% chance of a screening interview, let alone an interview for a job.

The result of this maze, from the applicant’s point of view is that resume needs to be built specifically for the opportunity. What are the key words? What is the emphasis? What is the required experience? Assuming you have them, then they have to be on the resume the way the job description describes them.

I am painting a couple of worst case scenarios here, that’s true and there certainly are exceptions. There are companies that commit to reviewing every resume, and there are recruiters that commit to that as well. Unfortunately, it is way too common for the scenario's I'm describing to be real, so even if your resume isn’t going through half of these hoops, and even if the number of resumes submitted is only 100, the resume itself must be prepared.

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