Creating a Positive Hiring Experience and What Recruiters are Looking for on Resumes

Transparency and efficiency are essential when interviewing candidates for mission-critical roles, says executive search firm Charles Aris in a new report. Those factors can make sure that even prospects who don’t get the job come away with good things to say about your company.

April 5, 2023 – When your organization is working to fill a mission-critical role, the hiring process is your chance to leave a lasting impression on both your winning candidates and your runners-up. Creating a positive candidate experience during the interview process will ensure that your interviewees gain a multifaceted understanding of your organization should they land the role, and it gives those who weren’t a fit for your current opening incentive to apply for future roles, recommend a friend, or up your company’s reputation, according to a recent report from Charles Aris.

In career conversations with executives across its areas of expertise, Charles Aris says it consistently heard that two key factors contribute to a positive candidate experience: transparency and efficiency.

Keep Your Candidates In-the-Know

The most valuable individuals in the job market are either interviewing for multiple positions or they’re already in a role. In both scenarios, your job as a hiring authority is to convince them that your opportunity presents a better career path, according to the Charles Aris report. The firm notes that one of the best ways to achieve this is to practice transparency from day one.

“Every candidate wants to know the details about your hiring process so they can plan and manage their own expectations accordingly,” the report said. “Being clear on the hiring timeline, explaining how they’re being evaluated and having availability to answer ad hoc questions along the way tells a candidate that your organization is prepared and sees enough value in them to dedicate resources to the process, even before they receive an offer letter.”

Plan the Hiring Process Accordingly

Time management is a critical component in the hiring process. The Charles Aris report explains that when interviews are efficient and candidates know when to expect follow ups, they see that you are being respectful of their time and that you’re invested in their candidacy. “Scheduling time for feedback, both for the candidate and for your organization, is also important for candidate experience. Postponing a candidates’ opportunity to hear about their performance or evaluate your organization can leave both parties feeling disconnected,” the search firm said. “If your hiring plan is clear from start to finish and your candidates receive a copy of the timeline, your process will function efficiently. Delays are inevitable, but keeping an open line of communication between yourself and the candidate and being candid about why these delays occur is the best way to stay on top of schedules.”

The Takeaway

Candidate experience can make or break an organization. At Charles Aris, they have placed people into organizations years after initially connecting because they left with a lasting impression of the hiring process. “If you’re interested in maintaining a good reputation on the talent market, start by engaging with candidates transparently and efficiently,” the search firm said. “Even candidates who don’t land the role will carry that experience with them to colleagues, clients, and friends – and you never know if they’ll be a fit later down the road.”

5 Things Recruiters Are Looking For

Creating a positive hiring process is imperative but what exactly are search consultants looking for in candidates’ resumes? A professional resume is designed to encapsulate your career in an easily digestible format, but recruiters tend to focus on a few key details when screening candidates.

In fact, there are five major components that Charles Aris looks for to determine whether your résumé is ready for their client: education, organization, growth trajectory, quantifiable data, and grammar. In its report, the firm provided a glimpse at why these are so important:

Related: How to Remove Unconscious Bias from the Recruiting Process 

Education: The first thing Charles Aris’ recruiters tend to look at on a professional résumé is education. A candidate’s undergraduate or advanced degree is often important in matching them with the educational requirements of the role Charles Aris is working to fill. Additionally, the firm will ask questions about a candidate’s education to prime our career discussions and better understand them as a person. For example, if a candidate told Charles Aris they were in debate club during college, they would ask whether they held a leadership position. This information is often a great show of character and allows the firm to connect with candidates on a more personal level.

Resumes Are Less Vital Today, But Don’t Neglect Them
Resumes matter, but not as much as just five years ago, according to a new survey by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry. What’s more, the study said, resumes are the least important of the key factors that go into a job search. Yet it could be a big mistake to neglect that particular document. “Candidates who rise above the rest in this very competitive job environment, are those who understand that landing a job takes a balanced approach,” said Peter Keseric, a management consultant, financial services and real estate, for Futurestep, Korn Ferry’s professional level and RPO recruiting business. “Resumes are not going away. They’re still an important part of the overall job search process. However, nothing gets a candidate ahead like networking. And networking today is a contact sport.”

Organization: Laying out your resume in a way that’s logical and easy to read is critical, according to the Charles Aris report. “It ensures your most important career information is front and center for the recruiter,” the firm said. “Having a stellar layout also shows that you understand how to properly communicate with others in a professional manner. Using resume writing and design services is okay, but if overly designed graphics and information instantly give away the involvement of a third party, some recruiters will see that as a red flag.”

Growth trajectory: When clients hire Charles Aris to match top talent with mission-critical roles, they want candidates who are interested in growing within their organization. “If your resume shows that you’ve had a steady career progression, that’s a good indication you’re interested in pursuing long-term growth opportunities with our clients,” the study said. “Your organizational layout also plays a major role in this. Even if you have been on a steep growth trajectory throughout your career, it must be displayed clearly through your resume’s layout.”

Quantifiable data: Numbers are worth a thousand words on a resume. More often than not, the Charles Aris team will skip past a career objective statement and gravitate towards any numbers or quantifiable data being highlighted in a candidates’ résumé. “If you’re able to include nonproprietary information such as the number of business transactions you’ve coordinated in the corporate development industry, the number of new employees you’ve onboarded as a chief human resources officer, or the revenue growth you’ve been involved in creating, we want to see that you’ve had a measurable impact in prior roles,” the search firm said.

Grammar: It’s not uncommon for recruiters to eliminate candidates entirely due to resume errors or misspellings. “This is why it’s crucial that you proofread your resume and, if possible, have a friend or colleague review the document for any inaccuracies,” the Charles Aris report said. “People make mistakes, but the nature of the executive recruiting industry demands the best of the best. A resume with even a minor typo will struggle to compete against one free of errors.”

Established nearly 50 years ago, Charles Aris is a search industry pioneer focused on senior-level assignments within the strategy and business development, private equity, consumer/ retail, finance and accounting, sales and marketing, education, executive leadership, engineering and operations, chemicals, and agribusiness sectors.

Related: Reasons Candidates Don’t Get Calls or Great Offers

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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