The Dangers of Relying on a Resume

How to avoid that pitfall in the recruitment process.

Let's face it: making sure you retain employees is getting harder and harder for businesses. Younger generations of employees are not afraid to change jobs when their current mandate no longer suits their needs.

"If the trend continues, Workopolis says that an average Canadian will work for 15 employers in his life."

This statistic raises questions about the ability to retain employees and ensure the continuity of their workforce in their company. An employee who stays in the same company is a return on investment of time and resources directly correlating to the training of the employee. So how can we make sure that the employee we hire will stay in your organization to make that investment profitable?

It turns out that it all starts at the hiring process. When evaluating a candidate, it is necessary to go beyond the analysis of the different experiences mentioned on their resume; It is necessary to analyze the personality and development potential of the candidate who hides behind that document.

Here's an interview the marketing team had with Annie Foucreault, Ph.D. , Measurement and Evaluation advisor, to discuss in-depth the elements that make up a full assessment of an employee's potential.

Marketing: In your opinion, how important are work experiences in a hiring process?

Annie Foucreault, Ph.D.: Work experience informs us about the candidate's know-how (hard-type skills). which can be directly applied in a workplace. In other words, they inform us about the "demonstrable" competencies of the candidate which will be reflected, among other things, by their technical knowledge in relation to a position (e.g., project management methods; use of software, etc.). However, work experience does not necessarily enlighten us about the candidate's interpersonal skills (soft-type skills). For example, from reading a resume only, one cannot determine how well a candidate will demonstrate leadership and will be able to mobilize the members of his or her team.

MKTG: Why do you think recruiters consider the lack of experience of a candidate a drawback?

AF: Recruiters associate the lack of experience with some shortcomings in mastering knowledge of techniques or tools that can lead one to be successful in the workplace. This can generate a certain sense of insecurity among recruiters.

MKTG: On the other hand, is relying solely on a candidate's work experience a leading error on the part of the recruiters?

AF: A resume does not provide any measurable data as to the level of performance of a candidate in previous experiences. This poses an issue for recruiters because that document does not allow them to evaluate several key characteristics of a candidate that are strongly associated with performance once in position. These features include: stress management, the chemistry likely to be created with the team in which he or she will work, or their ability to learn.

MKTG: In this case, how can we effectively assess the skills of a candidate's know-how?

AF: There are four tests that can be performed to assess a candidate's know-how:

  1. A cognitive test: This allows to evaluate the learning capacity as well as the ability to quickly develop key competencies and adapt to the work environment.
  2. A personality assessment: this is highly recommended to ensure a good fit between the candidate and the company.
  3. Aptitude tests: These assessments are used to verify whether the candidate's knowledge and skills match those of the position to be filled; For example, for call centers, this allows you to evaluate the multi-tasking ability of an agent (answering the phone, responding to emails while being interrupted repeatedly).
  4. An in-basket evaluation: This test evaluates the key competencies of a manager, such as the management of priorities using common scenarios.

MKTG: Personality inventories also allow to determine the values of a candidate. Is it important to ensure a harmony between the candidate's values and those of the company?

AF: Indeed, it is important. The studies show that in order to predict job performance, it is important to be interested in the suitability (fit) of the candidate with 4 important elements: the position for which they apply, the organization, the work team and the supervisor. Value inventories are one of the psychometric tools that enable us to verify this compatibility between a candidate and the four components related to the work environment. It is also interesting to note the differences between values and skills, as this provides an opportunity for learning and improvement.

MKTG: Do psychometric tools allow for a better assessment of a candidate's potential compared to the work experience presented on a resume?

AF: In my opinion, a mixture of both is necessary to properly choose a candidate. The resume tells us about the candidate's technical knowledge, i.e. hard skills, while the psychometric tools inform us about the possessed soft skills.

Annie then proceeded to display diagrams demonstrating the essential elements relevant to the evaluation of a candidate: their know-how, their motivation, their past work experiences, and their workplace environment for their role.

The tools to choose the right candidate are available, and this brings competitive advantages for today's businesses. A company needs to adapt in a multitude of ways, including the employee market and their needs, which are constantly evolving. Hiring a candidate whose profile and values correspond with those of your company's is seizing the chance to create working conditions that encourage your employees to stay with you longer.

¹ Workopolis: How Many jobs do Canadians hold in a lifetime?