Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Hiring Manager really want in a resume

An insight into what hiring managers looks for in a resume and what are the mistakes candidates generally make. 

How important is a cover letter when applying for an IT job? 
It’s important to provide a brief cover letter, which outlines an individual’s interest and candidature for the role being applied for. A cover letter should be specific to the position, give an overview of one’s strengths and suitability for the role. A good cover letter helps in attracting recruiter’s attention. 

How much time do you spend reading a resume? 
This depends on the recruiter and the position being considered. For senior and niche positions one does spend considerable time going through the resumes for shortlisting. 

What according to you are the loopholes a candidate should avoid while creating a resume?
One must highlight the suitability for the position being applied. Recruiters always focus on finding the right fit for the job; profiles which match the role position have the best chance for being interviewed. Few don'ts in a resume: 
  • Avoid lengthy resume, best resumes are of 1-2 pages. Don’t make it verbose, keep it brief and relevant.
  • Avoid repeated reference of past achievements, should focus on recent experience and achievements.
  • Avoid fancy fonts and bold letters, spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Don’t include personal information on age, height, weight, date of birth, marital status, gender, health, religion, state or political affiliations in the resume.
  • More that 7-8 years of employment history is avoidable and redundant for the recruiter.
  • Salary information should be avoided, provide only if asked for.
  • Reference should be provided only when asked for.
  • Avoid usage of personal pronouns (I, my, me).
  • Avoid generic information; provide specific and quantifiable values wherever possible.
  • Don’t put hobbies and non-relevant information as it’s often seen as space filler.
  • Don’t provide incomplete information on anything being mentioned in the resume.
  • Don’t overemphasize your academic background or one particular experience. Don’t start with academic background, unless you have started your professional career in the last 1-2 years.
  • Don’t just provide the start date of your previous job, provide complete tenure detail. Any incomplete information must be avoided. 
What are the key must haves in an IT professional’s resume? 
  • Provide details of your job title, current and recent positions in detail.
  • Details of projects worked on, skill set and job responsibilities performed.
  • Highlight the technology and domain experience.
  • Provide summary table which provides number of years of experience in a particular technology.
  • Highlight achievements and core areas of expertise from future career interest perspective.
  • Descriptive summary of how particular skill set like Java or Oracle was applied for a particular project.
  • Organise tech skills into appropriate areas such as operating systems, networks and programming tools.
  • Depending on the job title, one must highlight specific areas relevant for the position.
  • Avoid too much of technical language, explain it appropriately with right balance of technical terms to ensure that even a non-technical persona can understand the profile.
  • Highlight competency development initiatives like certification, programs undertaken or participation in technical forums, white paper submission
  • Must provide summary of key achievements of each role, improvement in productivity, scheduled adherence, TAT etc are few examples.
How do you assess a candidate’s credentials?

Assessment for fresher’s who are hired through campus hiring is usually through a written aptitude test followed by an interview. These objective type tests are designed to assess the quantitative aptitude, logical reasoning and problem solving ability. Applications are pre-screened based on academic background and marks secured from high school onwards. Short-listed candidates are usually invited for an interview as part of the selection process. One has to meet the required proficiency levels for both the assessments to be selected for the role. 

For lateral entry, profiles are short listed which is followed by a panel interview to assess the technical and behavioral competencies of the candidate and fitment for the position applied for. Usually there are two-three rounds of interviews by technical team, HR and senior managers to assess the candidature for the position. Technical interviews focus on assessing the candidate's depth of knowledge and expertise level in a particular technology, skill set or domain. These are panel interviews which involves technical experts to assess the technical expertise and role fitment of the candidate. This is followed by human resources interview to discuss personal preferences and compensation, benefits related aspects before the final offer is made. Some organizations also administer psychometric tests to test the role fitment for the role.


Emily Carter said...

Great tips for resume writing! It's always helpful for a candidate to access tips from an HR perspective.

For more resume writing tips and tricks, we've compiled a Candidate Resource Center on our website. You can find it here:

Thanks for the ideas!

Anita Singh said...

Mr Chouhan, you are Spot ON. Couldn't disagree with even a single word of the excerpt. Hope this message spreads far and wide and thereby makes hiring process more efficient and quick

maddy said...

Wow..very useful information..Thanks for sharing this with me!

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EB Love said...

Job Well Done - This is excellent,and absolutely the truth!!

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neel said...

Very useful information regarding what all information to be avoided in a resume. A recruiter will have to filter lots of resumes on daily basis. A resume must be designed in such a way that it must reduce the effort and time of the recruiter. Making it simple and attractive with key points not only fastens filtering process but also puts a positive impact on the recruiters. Job seekers must also edit the resume making it more appealing for the job they have applied for.