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How to Evaluate Resumes the Right Way

When looking at an organization’s level of success, we often forget about the people behind the organization that drive revenue, profits, client relationships, growth and culture. We know an organization can be negatively impacted by hiring the wrong person. A bad hire impacts the organization’s productivity and has financial costs, but it also affects overall employee morale.

Recruiting is an essential business strategy. But finding the right “who” for a position isn’t a walk in the park. Below are five strategies to help you better evaluate your resumes to find the right fit.

Clarity on skills, experience & education requirements

Even if you post an effective job description, you will likely need to review resumes from unqualified applicants. Before screening any resumes, create a checklist of minimum mandatory qualifications. Hold all candidates’ resumes to this checklist—if a bachelor’s degree is mandatory, any candidate moving forward should have a bachelor’s degree.

Understand unconscious bias

We all have unconscious biases. It’s crucial to understand your biases before screening resumes and look for ways to reduce these biases throughout the evaluation process.

There are software programs that can blind out specific information to ensure you review resumes by skills, experience and education only. If these tools aren’t in the budget, create a scorecard to rate each candidate on a numerical number to take feelings out of the hiring process. I’ve included a sample scorecard below.

Read the resume

A resume can tell you a lot about a person. Are they detailed oriented? Or is their resume filled with careless typos? Do they use phrases such as “familiar with” or “part of” to camouflage a lack of experience? Do they leverage buzzwords designed to catch your attention? Did they include examples of how they added value to different organizations, including percentages, dollars and other quantitative statistics? Do they take full credit on a project, or are they collaborative—i.e., were their accomplishments done “single-handedly” or as part of “the whole team?”

As you review resumes, remember not to get too hung up on a person’s title. Job titles can mean different things to different companies. For example, a manager title doesn’t always mean that person had direct reports—they may have managed large projects.

While job titles can be helpful, take the time to review the detailed bullet points to really understand that person’s role and impact on the organization.

Look for red flags

The following red flags don’t necessarily mean you must dismiss the candidate, but as an employer, you may want to be prepared to ask more questions during the interview process.

Missing education dates

If there is no degree completion date listed on the resume, you have a right to ask the candidate if they completed their degree or not. Education is not a protected class, and many roles these days require a degree.

The candidate may not have finished their degree, or they may leave the dates off for fear of being ruled out for age or other reasons.

Unexplained gaps in employment

Candidates may take off time between jobs for numerous reasons such as being a primary caregiver, a family emergency, military service or travel. This shouldn’t be used against a candidate if they can provide context.

This is only a red flag if they’re unwilling or unable to explain gaps in employment. Be prepared to ask open-ended questions to learn more.

Short stints at companies

We have all seen the “job hopper.” For some candidates, job hopping can be looked at as ambitious. But we want to hire someone who is looking to grow with our organization and shows commitment. As with the other red flags mentioned here, it’s important not to make assumptions about why a candidate left the job. Instead, ask them to expand on their reasons for changing jobs quickly during the interview to understand their time at each organization.

Be fair but open-minded

While a checklist can help narrow your resume pool to those who meet the minimum essential job qualifications, remember to stay open-minded. Not all candidates follow a traditional career path, and not all skills and strengths appear on a resume.

A resume is only a snapshot of a person and their career, but it can help you prepare interview questions. The bottom line is that if a candidate catches your interest, it may be worth exploring.

You can tell a lot from a person’s resume, but it’s only part of the picture. Paying attention to the details of a resume upfront can help you evaluate candidates to ensure you get the right person for the job. But remember, nothing takes the place of getting to know a candidate to see if they are the right fit for your organization from a culture and values perspective.


Do you need help with your firm’s hiring and talent strategy?

Boomer Talent Consulting can help you get clarity on your firm’s most critical talent objectives and create a go-forward strategy suited to your firm’s unique needs. Schedule a discovery call today to begin implementing an organizational structure that is positioned and accelerating into the future.


As a Project Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Jacqueline plans, executes and manages the people, resources and scope of many of our firm’s projects, programs and events. Her primary focus is on managing projects for IT Consulting, Strategic Planning and Talent Consulting. In addition, Jacqueline works closely with leadership to oversee the company’s human resources by managing hiring, onboarding, training and development and overseeing our Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS). She also supports our Allyship for Diversity commitment at BCI, which seeks to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion within Boomer Consulting and the accounting profession. Jacqueline also works on the strategy and development of our eLearning initiatives.


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