As you hire more employees for your small business, your business will pick up speed toward growth and success. A dedicated, loyal employee is worth their weight in gold, so it’s definitely worth the effort to spend a bit more time evaluating resumes during the hiring process to find the best talent in your industry.
Here are five thumbs-up items to look for in a resume that should move it to the top of your pile.
1. Facts Over Fluff
When an applicant lacks experience, it’s all too easy to fill their resume with vague references. What you want is cold, hard facts. If you’re hiring a sales manager and a resume says that a candidate increased sales at his last job, you want to know by how much.
A resume that says he boosted sales by 150% year-over-year, or that he increased profit margins by 10%, is one you should take seriously.
Why it Matters: A candidate who quantifies his experience understands what matters to employers like you. One who uses fluffy words like “team player” or who doesn’t offer numbers to back up experience may not be able to deliver what you need.
2. The Experience Matches Your Job Description
It’s amazing how many people will apply for a position that aren’t entirely qualified for it. You’re likely not interested in helping someone learn new skills on the job if they’re not already experienced in what you require, so toss those resumes aside and focus on those that are an exact fit (or as close as you can get) to what you want.
Why it Matters: It’s important not to get hung up on previous job titles and to instead focus on experience because job titles tell you relatively little about how good a fit a candidate is for your position. Someone may have held a more junior or senior position to what you’re hiring for, but if the experience matches, it’s worth considering them for the role.
3. The Candidate Stays at Jobs Long-Term
Millennials, among other candidates, are known for hopping from job to job. Hardly appealing to an employer. You don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t seem to be able to commit to a role for longer than a few months or a year. What “long-term” looks like to you will depend on the job and your industry, but typically you want candidates who have worked past jobs over a year or two.
Why it Matters: It costs money to onboard, train, and maintain an employee. If you have to begin the process all over again in a few months, your company has to eat that cost. It’s in your best interest to find new hires that are more likely to stay with your company for years (is forever too much to ask?). Consider trying new recruiting strategies and seeking advice from others in your industry. You may find that others have been in your position before and are able to help.
4. The Resume is Flawless (or Close to It)
You may not be a member of the grammar police, but you know that a resume riddled with misspellings and errors should be tossed in the trash immediately. On the other hand, one that was clearly reviewed and edited shows initiative, and could be one worth considering for the role.
Why it Matters: The attention a candidate puts on their resume can be indicative of the attention they will put on their work for you. Sure, that may be a stretch, but how hard is it to run Spell Check?
5. Your Instructions Were Followed to a T
While it may not be your intent to make applicants jump through hoops to be considered for the position you’re hiring for, you probably do have some requirements in the application process. You might ask for a cover letter outlining experience, salary requirements, or that a resume be submitted as a PDF. Give a gold star to those who actually read your instructions
Why it Matters: Again, you need to dig deeper into what the behavior at this stage indicates as to what type of employee this person would be. If they don’t adhere to what you’ve asked, they may be impetuous and not good at following instructions. That’s not a good fit for your company.
Beyond the obvious, a candidate’s resume should leave you feeling good about the potential of working with this person. Trust your gut. If a resume feels like it’s loaded with lies, pass over it. You may be working with this person for a very long time, so the decision you make on who to hire should be one you carefully consider.
Author: Kristian Rivera is a digital marketing specialist at Fit Small Business, a rapidly growing website for small businesses. When not helping other small business owners, Kristian manages a startup where he utilizes his experience in product management, digital marketing, analytics and business development.