What Resumes Don’t Tell You

Chad Q Brown
Dec 12, 2019 · 4 min read

The hiring process can be profoundly tricky. We all understand the difficult and disciplined process of sifting through dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants and then, from that narrowed pool, bringing the applicants in for interviews. More than likely, these applicants have a pretty impressive resume they’re bringing in with them: a document to showcase their high school and/or collegiate achievements, work histories, duties, responsibilities, etc. If we assume that on paper, most of these candidates are of equal prowess, it usually comes down to an interview (15-minutes, 30-minutes, an hour, this can vary) to separate that one candidate you’re taking on to the job and it’s all sunshine from there. Right?

But what if I told you that in a national 2016 study from CareerBuilder.com of about 2,400 hiring managers and human resource professionals in the private sector, 75% of these companies and organizations reported that they hired the wrong person for the position. Furthermore, the report states that, on average, a bad hire costs the company $17,000.

Resumes have long been used in the hiring process, and many hiring managers and recruiters find success in just what’s on the paper. I’m not here to tell you that you don’t need to look at a candidate’s resume, but I am here to ask you this: In addition to the resume, what else do I need to be looking at?

You might already have a response ready: The interview of course.

Though not specifically stated in the study, I’d wager to say that these 2,400 folks involved in hiring probably used interviews in tandem with resumes (give or take a few, sure), but here’s what most people don’t take into account:

In the interview, most candidates are displaying a personality and behavior that they are adapting to fit their environment.

What does that mean? Well in using DISC, the personality assessment Profile specializes in, our behavior falls under two categories: Natural and Adaptive. The former, Natural, is the behavioral style we are at our core. It’s who we are when no one’s watching, and what we tend to lean on as our most foundational mode of behavior. It’s the behavior we naturally migrate to. The latter, Adaptive, is the behavioral style we display when we’re in different environments. These environments can be anything from when we’re at work, hanging out with our friends, at the doctor’s office, or, as you can probably guess, when we’re in an interview. It shows how we can change, how we can turn on or turn off a behavior based on the environment we’re in. Some people have the same behavioral style for both their Natural and their Adaptive styles — what you see is what you get — but a lot of us tend to have some kind of shift between the two.

This shift can certainly be a factor when it comes to the workplace. Most often, the personality we’re seeing in a candidate during their interview is their Adaptive personality. This isn’t to say that they’re lying or pretending to be someone they’re not, but think of it akin to something like the change in tone a lot of us have when we’re on the phone with customer service or someone at the grocery store. It’s still us, but a little altered. The same can be said about the candidate adapting to the interview environment. It’s this shift that can throw many employers off in hiring when they see one kind of behavior in the interview and then a completely different behavior in the first month of the candidate’s work tenure. These latent behavioral tendencies are something resumes certainly can’t tell us, and after doing all the work of sifting through candidates, it certainly isn’t worth it to try and guess in the interview if the candidate is showing us an adaptive behavior.

As aforementioned, a hiring mistake can be extremely costly, in both time and money for an organization. Instead of trying to correct a mistake with valuable resources after it’s already been made, taking the small step to invest in a reliable battery of personality assessments can make all the difference in saving your organization thousands of dollars and hours of time. Taking the time and foresight to look into these personality assessments also pushes your organization to think about what kind of person you want in the company; who might be the right fit? And as we’ve mentioned in our article about fit (click here if you haven’t read that one yet), having these kinds of conversations can do nothing but improve the culture and direction of your organization.

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