There was an interesting article in LinkedIn this weekend by Andrew Seaman titled How to make resume robots happy.

It was a short and engaging read in which Seaman provided a couple of useful tips on how to “wordsmith” your resume, including formatting. The reason that resume wording and format are so important is because the applicant tracking systems that process a “flood of resumes” have a unique way of reading information. Regardless of your qualifications, if your resume content is not within the system search parameters – including keyword matching, rejection of your submission is likely.

At this point, you may think that today’s article will focus on getting your resume “system ready” or “friendly” to increase your odds for selection. While writing an effective resume is a good topic, in truth, worrying about how a system will read your resume as a priority is like putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

The real question that needs asking (and answering) is not how to get your resume accepted and through a system, but whether there is an actual cultural and personality match with a prospective employer in the first place.

Be Careful About What You Wish

Getting a job and finding the right position with the right company are two vastly different things.

For both job seekers and companies respectively looking to hire a “qualified” candidate getting the job and filling the position can become an all-encompassing focus – especially when there is a pressing need.

Add into the equation, the promise of automation and how AI can streamline the process to identify the best candidates, and there is a speed-of-light energy that while maximising throughput comes at a cost.

The cost to which I am referring is a hiring failure.

The Numbers Do Not Add Up

When it comes to hiring success or failure, consider the following:

  • 46 per cent of all new hires fail within 18 months (Source: Leadership IQ.)
  • 40-60 per cent of management new hires fail within 18 months (Source: Harvard Business Review.)
  • Nearly 50 per cent of executive new hires fail within 18 months (Source: The Corporate Leadership Council)

A fifty-fifty chance of success is not a “great” statistic as it is the equivalent of flipping a coin. What is even more disconcerting is that the failure percentage increases as you move up the corporate hierarchy.

Think about it; new management hires do not work out up to 60 per cent of the time. For executive positions, the prospects of success are not much better. In these latter instances, we are talking about hires who are, in most cases, helping to drive the direction of the organisation.

Putting aside for the moment the hard costs associated with a wrong hiring decision, failure in these critical positions will reverberate even more throughout the organisation because they can create a vacuum at the top. As a result, there will be an increase in uncertainty among the general workforce.

Regarding those hard costs, and from a company standpoint, a January 2020 HR Exchange Network article reports that “bad hires can cost $240,000 in expenses” when broken down into costs relating to “hiring, pay, and retention.”

The same article also indicates that 74 per cent of companies who made a “poor hire” lost an average of $14,900 per poor hire.”

Of course, if you are the new hire that didn’t work out, there is a downside as well. For example, how do you “explain” the 12 to 18-month tenure on your resume. You could leave it out, but then you will have to explain the time gap in your work history?

The Cart Before the Horse

The above brings us back to the original point of this article. Given the rate of unsuccessful hires, is too much emphasis put on resume sifting through automation at the expense of engagement on a personal level.

With the procurement world moving from a transactional mindset to a more relational focus, a similar shift may also be in order for the recruiting industry.