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Study: Recruiters Get the Wrong Idea from Resumes

  • Recruiters Getting the Wrong Idea from ResumesThe Find: Sorting through resumes is time consuming and, unfortunately, rarely gives a recruiter an accurate picture of an applicant's personality, according to recent research.
  • The Source: Research in The Journal of Business and Psychology discussed on the HR Tests blog.
The Takeaway: Sifting through that giant stack of resumes on your desk can occasionally be fun, especially when applicants volunteer personal tidbits like their status as country line dancing champs (true story), but it is also time consuming and rarely helpful when it comes to gauging an applicant's personality, says recent research.

After getting in some complaints about "rampant self-inflation problems," HR Tests cites another reason to be wary of resumes: a study that asked 244 recruiters about their evaluations of candidates' personalities based on their resumes and then compared their conclusions both to each other and to the applicants' actual personality as measured by a standard psychological evaluation. How well did the recruiters do at making inferences about personality from resumes? In short, terribly.

First, the recruiters didn't agree with each other about what conclusions could be drawn from a resume, and second whatever they did infer about a candidate was often found to be objectively wrong. Perhaps worst of all, recruiters' (often erroneous) conclusions about candidates' personalities were found to predict their hiring preferences. All in all, resumes came out looking deeply flawed.

The Question: Resumes: useful or useless? And what's the strangest thing you've ever seen a candidate include on their resume?

(Image of shirt resume by SOCIALisBETTER, CC 2.0)

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