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Candidates with Strong Resumes often Fail in Interview

TORONTO — For many hiring managers, evaluating a job applicant may feel like going on a blind date: the applicant looks good on paper but disappoints in person. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of senior executives interviewed said it is common for candidates with promising resumes not to live up to expectations during the interview.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 100 senior executives in Canada.

Executives were asked, “How common is it for a job applicant who has a promising resume to not live up to your expectations when you interview him or her?” Their responses:          

                  Very common                                                         16%

                  Somewhat common                                              49%

                  Not very common                                                   27%

                  Not at all common                                                     8%


“A resume offers only a partial snapshot of the job applicant,” said Kathryn Bolt, district president for Robert Half International’s Canadian operations. “However, in-person interaction is essential to ensure the candidate demonstrates the technical and soft skills required to make a valuable contribution to the organization.”

Robert Half offers the following tips to help hiring managers make the best hires:

  • Fish where the fish are. Create finely tuned job ads that describe the ideal candidate and post them in targeted places, such as industry publications and professional association websites, to attract strong candidates.
  • Network. Seek recommendations from colleagues, staff and other professional contacts. Also network online and with members of industry organizations to ensure you cast a wide net.
  • Stay front and centre. You know best what you want in an employee. Help prevent delays and potential hiring mistakes by remaining closely involved in the process from beginning to end.
  • Narrow the field by phone. Following up on promising resumes with a 10-minute telephone interview can help ensure you invite only the best candidates to in-person interviews. This can be a time saver because you’ll get an early reading on a person’s interpersonal skills and potential fit with your team.
  • Audition candidates. Bringing in workers initially on a temporary or project basis can give you the opportunity to observe firsthand their skills, performance and fit for a full-time position.
  • Get help. Specialized recruiters can help you pinpoint your staffing needs. And through their networks, they have access to people you might not be able to locate on your own, including professionals who may not be actively looking for a job but are open to making a change for the right opportunity.
  • Don’t delay. Don’t procrastinate when you identify strong applicants. By moving too slowly, you risk losing your first choice — and extending the hiring process.