Survey: Candidates With Strong Resumes Often Fail to Meet Expectations in Interview

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. More than seven out of 10 (72%) 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 150 senior executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

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:
11% Very common
61% Somewhat common
23% Not very common
1% Not at all common
4% Don’t know

“A resume tells a hiring manager only a limited story about the job applicant,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “In making crucial hiring decisions, nothing replaces in-person interaction to ensure the candidate has the requisite technical qualifications and the soft skills that will likely make him or her a good fit with 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 center. 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.