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Reviewing Résumés

19 January, 2016 - 15:28

Once we have developed our criteria for a specific job, we can begin the review process. Everyone prefers to perform this differently. For example, all the hiring decision makers may review all résumés, list the people they would like to meet in person, and then compare the lists. Another method might be to rate each candidate and interview only those above a certain score. This is discussed in "Selection Methods". Obviously, much of the process will depend on the organization’s size and the type of job. None of this process can be done fairly without first setting criteria for the job.

When looking at résumés to determine whom to interview, a manager should be concerned with the concepts of disparate impact and disparate treatment. This is discussed in "Recruitment". Disparate impact is unintended discrimination against a protected group as a whole through the use of a particular requirement. Disparate impact may be present in the interviewing process, as well as other employment-related processes such as pay raises and promotions. For example, a requirement of being able to lift 110 pounds might be considered as having disparate impact on women, unless the job requires this ability. Every criteria developed should be closely considered to see if it might have disparate impact on a protected group of individuals. For example, the requirement of a certain credit score might have a negative impact on immigrants, who may not have a well-developed credit rating. However, if being able to manage money is an important requirement of the job, this requirement might not be discriminatory.

Disparate treatment in hiring might include not interviewing a candidate because of one’s perception about the candidate’s age, race, or gender.

The last consideration is the hiring of internal versus external candidates. An internal candidate is someone who already works within the organization, while an external candidate is someone who works outside the organization. A bidding process may occur to notify internal candidates of open positions. This is discussed  "Recruitment". Generally speaking, it is best to go through a formal interview process with all candidates, even if they work within the organization. This way, an HR professional can be assured that disparate treatment does not occur because of favoritism. For example, a senior executive of your organization just left, and you believe the manager in that department is qualified to take over the position. Suppose, though, that the manager has been lobbying you for the job for some time and has even taken you out to lunch to talk about the job. While this person has maintained high visibility and lobbied for the promotion, there may be equally qualified internal candidates who did not use the same lobbying techniques. Automatically offering the position to this internal candidate might undermine others who are equally qualified. So while hiring internally can be a motivator, making assumptions about a particular person may not be a motivator to others. This is why it is best, even if you hire internally, to post a formal job announcement listing the job description and job qualifications, so everyone in the organization can have an equal opportunity to apply for the job.

Once you have completed the criteria for the particular job and narrowed down the field, you can begin the interview process. We discuss this in  "Interviewing".

Table 5.1 Possible Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring an Internal versus an External Candidate



Internal Candidates

Rewards contributions of current staff

Can produce “inbreeding,” which may reduce diversity and difference perspectives


Can be cost effective, as opposed to using a traditional recruitment strategy

May cause political infighting between people to obtain the promotions


Can improve morale

Can create bad feelings if an internal candidate applies for a job and doesn’t get it


Knowing the past performance of the candidate can assist in knowing if they meet the criteria


External Candidates

Brings new talent into the company

Implementation of recruitment strategy can be expensive


Can help an organization obtain diversity goals

Can cause morale problems for internal candidates


New ideas and insight brought into the company

Can take longer for training and orientation


How Would You Handle This?

Poor Interviewer
As the assistant to the HR manager, one of your jobs is to help managers get ready to interview candidates. When you offer help to Johnathan, he says he has interviewed hundreds of people and doesn’t need your help in planning the interview process. When you sit in the interview with him, he asks inappropriate questions that you don’t feel really assess the abilities of a candidate. How would you handle this?

How Would You Handle This?

The author discusses the How Would You Handle This situation in this chapter

Key Takeaways

  • The first step in selection is to begin reviewing résumés. Even before you do this, though, it is important to develop criteria that each candidate will be measured against. This can come from the job description as well as the job qualifications.
  • Other tools, such as cognitive ability tests, credit checks, and personality tests, can be used to determine qualifications. When developing your criteria for interviewing, determine the level the applicant needs to meet to meet the minimum criteria, for example, a minimum score on a personality test.
  • We should be concerned with validity and reliability of measurement tools. Validity refers to how valid the test is, that is, how well a test measures a candidate’s abilities to do a job. Reliability refers to which selection techniques yield similar data or results over time. It is important to choose the right measurement tool used to determine whether the candidate meets the criteria.
  • Setting criteria before the interview process starts ensures that disparate impactor disparate treatment does not occur in the interview process.
  • When hiring, there is the option of internal and external candidates. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Internal candidates may be able to “hit the ground running,” but external candidates may come in with new perspectives. Even if an internal candidate seems to be the best hire, it is best to still perform the process of posting the job and interviewing, since other less vocal employees might be qualified internal candidates as well. In other words, don’t assume one person is the obvious choice for the promotion.


  1. Develop criteria for the position of a retail salesperson working in teams.
  2. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an internal and external candidate. Give an example of when you don’t think an external candidate should be considered for a position.
  3. How can development of criteria or minimum standards help in a case of disparate treatment accusations?