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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers!

Today’s Question: What qualities immediately move a candidate’s resume into your short list?

The answers below are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.


jilea1. A Focus on Action and Results

The one trait that makes me want to move a candidate to the short list is when they list the action and results of an assignment or project instead of just listing the task.

Jilea Hemmings, Best Tyme

ajmal2. Leadership in a Volunteer Organization

Someone who volunteers their time and effort for free feels the desire to improve the world as an inner calling. I know this person will always try to make something better without me having to ask them to do so. Also, someone who volunteers has a big heart and is not just about the money, which tells me they are capable of being passionate about their job with little incentive.

Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

turath3. A Good Personality

It is nice to see a bit of who they are between the lines. Experience is nice, but personality really is what makes me want to meet the person. The rest can be trained for our particular industry.

Turath D’Hont, San Diego Moving Co.

Ron4. Quick Progression Through the Ranks

More important than college education or experience is the progression a prospect has achieved with past employers. When someone has ascended quickly through the ranks within an organization, this indicates the prospect has the aptitude and attitude not only to grow personally, but also to help the company grow. If these prospects are searching for new jobs, they likely aren’t feeling challenged enough in their current positions.

Ron Lieback, ContentMender

jessica5. Trustworthiness

I always bring on board the best, most trustworthy talent. Employees are the engine for making your business run. We usually ask a series of questions that allow us to find out if, when pushed, the candidate would make the best choices. We ask questions such as, “What would you do if you caught a coworker stealing?” or “Under what circumstances have you found it justifiable to break a professional confidence?”

Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

jurgen6. Commitment to Previous Roles

Nothing looks worse than a candidate who spends 6-18 months at each previous employer. Either they can’t keep a job, or they can’t commit to a long-term vision. Most likely, they won’t be able to do these things at your company, either.

Jürgen Himmelmann, The Global Work and Travel Co.

matthew7. Giving Back While Using Their Day Job Skills

Volunteer experience that aligns with work experience is a great sign for me. So many people volunteer, but seeing a candidate who has found a way to give back in a manner that aligns with the skills they’ve developed in their day job speaks volumes.

Matthew Manos, verynice


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