Screening Resumes: How Do You Know You Are Getting the Talent You Ask For?

The Application Checks That Build Trust

Screening resumes is a process that many employers hesitate to do, or simply don’t have time to do. It’s also a function that we take very seriously at SimulStat. When we hire, we must be certain that candidates have the technical skills and experience you expect from our biostatisticians, statistical programmers, epidemiologists, and clinical programmers.

You might expect that very few candidates would ever lie on a resume. After all, they will surely get found out. You’d be wrong. According to research, between 30% (Ladders) and 78% (Checkster) of candidates admit to at least ‘bending the truth’ on their resumes and job applications.

We never take the risk with any candidate. Here’s a brief look into the steps we may take to screen resumes and ensure our people are exactly who they claim to be on their application.

De-Risking the Resume

Our first step is to de-risk resumes. We do this by tapping into our network for referrals. We find out a lot about potential candidates before we receive a resume.

It’s not often that we need to return to the candidate’s referrer and question what they have told us. When we do, we generally learn that it’s a simple mix-up. There is nothing malicious said or done.

Bringing the Candidate’s Background Into The Foreground

We always conduct our background checks, irrespective of whether the candidate has been referred to us. These checks cover education, work experience, and references:

Checking work experience/references

Often, the candidates will supply a phone number to call a reference. We never rely on this. We will look up the previous employer’s number and call them on this number. We’ll ask for the contact’s name, and then ask the questions we must.

Of course, we know that all a manager or HR department is obliged to confirm is that the candidate did work for the employer, their position held, how long they worked for the employer, and the reason the employee left. There is nothing more a previous employer is legally obliged to tell you – though previous colleagues may be more descriptive (we take these at face value).

Checking education and qualifications

It is possible to check on a candidate’s education by contacting colleges and high schools directly. Again, we would expect confirmation of qualification and the date awarded, but little else.

If the candidate has blocked the sharing of their educational records under FERPA, the education establishment can say nothing (not even to confirm the candidate’s enrolment). In this case, we can ask the candidate to contact the college and remove the block.

A phone/virtual interview

We may carry out a phone/virtual interview to learn more about the candidate and conduct a basic assessment of the skills they say they have on their resume. This is not an in-depth interview, but it does aim to confirm that the candidate is being truthful about every skill they have included on their resume.

Learn about their experience

We also interview candidates about their work experience. We want to confirm that they have the experience they say. We do this by giving them the opportunity to speak to us about the experiences they have described on their resume. If they aren’t confident when explaining previous roles, it may be that they have embellished the truth on their resume.

Trusting people will bring you problems. Never trust a candidate. Don’t let someone deceive you because they get you involved in an interesting conversation – this could all be staged to prevent you from asking questions. Wasting time with candidates who are essentially trying to defraud you is also a problem. Be ready to end the interview early.

Screening Resumes Means You Can Trust Our People

It may sound like we don’t trust candidates. You’d be right. We’re in the business of statistics, and the statistics tell us that you must do all your checks before making a new hire.

At least in part, it is our diligence through the hiring process that has helped us build the immaculate reputation we have with our existing clients. We trust our people completely because we know we can. And this means you can, too.

To learn how you can benefit from our resume screening, contact SimulStat today.