Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Report from the (Resume) Slush Pile

I'm in the process of hiring a sales and marketing manager at my day job. Going through the resumes that have hit my inbox reminds me of the tales I've heard about the kid lit slush pile.

I've received 65 resumes in three days--a sign of the times, for sure. Printed them out and brought them home tonight to review.

My tally:
  • 12 Yes
  • 33 Maybe
  • 20 No
I'll start calling the yeses tomorrow. Those that got a no will hit the circular file, and I'll hang on to the maybes in case none of the yeses work out.

What influenced my decision to accept or reject?

Many of those I rejected simply didn't fit the bill for this job. They were way underqualified, or way overqualified, or required a salary beyond the range we posted in our employment ad. They "weren't right for our list," as it were.

Many of those I rejected didn't follow my submission guidelines. In the ad, I asked for a cover letter, a resume and salary requirements. Frankly, I expected a lot of folks to skip the salary requirements, but it's surprising how many of them failed to include a simple cover letter. (Unless you count one woman's email note: "Enjoy!" Enjoy? That's the entire body of your email and you think I'm going to want to open your resume?) Bottom line: If you don't care enough to follow directions and put a little effort into your application, why should I want to hire you? And ... hello? This is a marketing job. If you can't market yourself, how are you going to market my organization?

Some of those I rejected had careless typos in their cover letters or resumes, or their grammar was terrible, or their writing was so over-the-top (sparkle and savvy ... really? You have both sparkle and savvy?) that I just couldn't see working with them. This job doesn't require a lot of writing, but you do need to be able to communicate intelligently.

I wish those who weren't right for the job had targeted their submissions better. It would have saved me some time tonight. But honestly, I'm glad those who were too lazy to follow directions and those who had typos or poor grammar skills showed their warts right up front. With 65 resumes, I was looking for reasons to throw them into the rejection pile, and those people gave me plenty.

Now, let's hope one of those 12 yeses turns out to be "the one." And let's hope the interviewing, hiring and training process doesn't take anywhere near as long as it takes to review, acquire and publish a manuscript!


Hamilton and Lauren said...

That's exactly what I thought when I was looking for a job. It is very much like the querying process. You don't know if you're going to submit your resume at the exact right time and place. You have to follow their guidelines perfectly, and you have to make sure not to make any mistakes in your resume. And even if you do all of those things, you might just not be "right for their list." So true.

LindaBudz said...

Hi, Lauren! It can be hard from the hiring manager's side ... something about that person's resume might click with you, but unlike an editor who might be willing to take a chance and work with a writer, I can't have someone who is careless or flighty dealing with our clients. And it is REALLY surprising how little care some people take. What are they thinking?

BTW, here's another weird one that arrived in my email today: A guy whose objective is "To start my own business...." Um. Great. But why are you applying at mine?

Why would someone have that on a resume they're sending out? Sigh.

Mary Witzl said...

Ooh, I sympathize!

At my old office in Tokyo, I used to have to vet the letters we got from job applicants for editing and proofreading positions. We advertised for a Japanese-speaking person with impeccable English writing skills and grammar. We got applications from people who claimed they'd graduated from Ivy League universities, but in their cover letters they could not get subject-verb agreement right or spell...

LindaBudz said...

Mary, sadly, I think these days it might be possible to graduate from an Ivy League school and not be able to spell.