......a recurring challenge that determines the level of success any commercial company is capable of attaining.
Stating the obvious? Undoubtedly. Does stating the obvious mean that every company that recruits new people does the absolutely best possible job of ensuring that the people it hires are the best possible it can attract for any specific position? Somehow I very much doubt that is the case. I read this article earlier this morning:
which didn't surprise me but did remind me how careful any company, especially smaller ones, needs to be in constantly refining their methods of attracting and selecting new people and how every company, irrespective of size, seldom finds the best ways of carrying out this "obvious" key function. So, if it stating the obvious, why do large companies need to try and do this job via software and smaller companies do it via very senior personnel (who are seldom good choices to select people) for the most part?
Exetel, being by no measure a 'large' company does continuously recruit and over the past year and especially over the coming twelve months will possibly recruit more people than we currently employ if our plans to double our personnel come to fruition. So recruiting really good people on an ongoing basis is very high on our methodology agenda. We would never use something as crude as software (although we are 'major fans' of automating everything possible) to do any part of the job. Nor would we use any senior person (actually any person) who does not have the time to do the recruiting in the time frame and detail that is required. We use much simpler methods that, over a very long time now, have proven to be more successful than any other methods.
We do the obvious. We establish a personal and business experience profile for each position we are looking to hire for and, using a human being, we match those criteria against the resumes we receive. My personal experience over several decades is that a 100% match of the resume to the established criteria will produce a 100% successful candidate. Anything else might not. It takes something less than 60 seconds to read a resume looking for the criteria matches. Sometimes no required percentage of matches can be found - so an hour or so has been 'wasted' in 'resume reading'. Not exactly an onerous burden. If you get lucky and find 100% matches for the number of positions you wish to hire then you only need to continue to on the process to find 'back ups' for those 'candidates' who although they have applied for the position you are advertising will find something that suits them better. Simple, quick and 100% effective.
Despite what may be claimed by other people when addressing this overwhelmingly important issue the resume tells a 'recruiter' everything they need to know about any applicant. Sure, some applicants don't know how to write a sensible resume and will not be considered even though if they had written a better summary of their back ground and experience they would have been - but that is not something a 'recruiter' can fix. How many candidates who match the hiring criteria will not 'work out'? Virtually none and those that don't will not work out for reasons that are beyond any hiring processes ability to determine. So there is no need to read that many resumes - if you are looking for x number of people then 1.5x will provide you with a choice of new hires and allow for those who will decide not to accept the job having had the interview.
My experience in hiring developers is almost the opposite -- the resume is perhaps necessary, but certainly not sufficient.
We see many candidates who have graduated from good universities and have a successful track record on their resume, yet have a very shallow understanding of software development and the technologies they have claimed to have used for several years.
Actually sitting them down and watching them write some code for an hour or two seems to be the most effective way to weed out people who are not good enough developers. (Of course we've never actually tried hiring people who look good on paper but fail the coding test and seeing how they perform).
Tom, I agree that there is no 'magic formula' for coding/programming positions but for sales, engineering and administration I, after many years of putting this into practice, believe that there are pretty easy definitions that will allow a resume to be used as an, almost, 100% success process.