Drilling Down On A Resume:
One thing we have found over 25+ years of assessing resumes, is that you better drill down on work related dates that are generalized, to describe the period of employment.
For example, and individual may present periods of work on a resume as 1999 – 2004 for the first position; 2004 – 2009 for the second position and 2009 – 2013 for the third position.
On first blush, the reader assumes that the individual worked steadily from 1999 to 2013 and changed jobs twice without any break in employment. Or, was there a break in employment and what was the reason for the interruption. Better still, how do you determine if there was a break or interruption in work.
One technique that we use is to review a resume quickly at the outset and get confirmation that the dates and position description are correct. We do this with all of the stated work periods.
The next question to the candidate once they confirm dates and position is: ”Why did you leave this position?” This question is asked for each work period or position.
The candidate has now committed to position title and reason for leaving. A general unstructured discussion follows with respect to the various positions and then we come back to dates again.
We ask for each position: “What month did you start and what month did you end?” People generally answer honestly and now you have some info to compare and more often than not you may find that there is a period of unemployment between one or more positions. With this in hand you can then compare the answer provided for why they left the position and in some cases, the answer does not make sense.
A common answer to why you left is “…to go to the next job”
If there is in fact a break between jobs, a period of unemployment you can now ask: “ why? what did you do between jobs? Why did you not stay at your existing position until you found another job?”
The answers to these types of questions provide interesting insight into the candidate and assist you in making the decision to continue to pursue them or not.