Are job seekers really who they say they are? It is the responsibility of the hiring manager-turned-investigator during the recruiting process to answer this question, but where can you turn for help?
Personal and professional recommendations complete the picture that resumes start — and recommendations can sometimes even be enough in the absence of resumes. For example, some people will lean entirely on a recommendation depending on the source. If a highly trusted person said, “Hire this person and don’t think twice about it,” you might just do it out of fear of losing an “A” player.
For the following reasons, recruiters should take recommendations into account — even more so than resumes — to determine the truth behind a potential hire’s credentials:
1. Trusted vs. biased sources
Though job seekers often do not tarnish their resumes with blatant lies, many inconsistencies have been discovered on these self-written testimonials. Remember the Yahoo! CEO resume scandal?
When taking into consideration the materials presented to you by the job seeker, it is important to identify the source and their motives. In a sense, a resume is a biased document by the candidate manipulated to meet the job responsibilities of the open position. Clearly, job seekers will strategically place themselves in the best light to be a convincing force for the company.
On the other hand, recommendations are written or rated by trusted sources with reputations of their own to uphold. Along with providing a referral comes responsibility. The recommender has to be confident enough in the candidate’s ability to succeed or else they will lose their credibility along the way.
Given two resumes with equal work experience and a similar educational background, the one with a solid referral from a trusted source should have the upper hand, every time.
2. Actions speak louder than words
A potential hire can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk? If a person is a great articulator and communicator, they will be able to sell themselves in an interview over and over again. However, you need to know if they can really communicate consistently and in different situations and that can only be determined by a testimonial from a trusted source. Talking and doing are two different things. With the power of recommendations, the written skills and accomplishments on a resume are brought to life.
For example, the potential hire may have been the team leader for launching a successful product based on their resume, but what kind of experience was it for those surrounding the leader? Was the potential hire easy to work with and diligent with all other responsibilities? With recommendations, these questions can be answered by a trusted source confirming their actions. Recommendations are the proof in the pudding when it comes validating the candidate’s written qualifications.
3. Time saver
So much time is wasted during the recruiting process reviewing resumes and checking references — time that you will not get back if the job candidate does not work out for one reason or another. By recognizing the value of recommendations in the recruiting process, distinguishing between top candidates and the average Joe or Jane becomes simplified.
Consider the resume as your initial filter of candidates. Within 6 seconds of examining a resume, you have already started to determine if the candidate is the right fit for your company. Using specific keywords you’re able to filter through the candidates, focusing on the key characteristics in their resume. However, do you still have enough information to determine the “A ” players? By adding personal and professional recommendations revealing the personality, determination, and intelligence of your next potential hire, you can speed up the process and be certain if an in-person interview is the next appropriate step.
Resumes and recommendations are not mutually exclusive, but relying on one more so than the other can give undue justification of the candidate’s qualifications. The resume is the sketched outline and recommendations create the full, colorful portrait.
Do you consider recommendations when landing top candidates? How do you strive to paint the full picture of a potential hire?