Survey: Resume Review, Asking Good Questions Top Hiring Challenges

Apr 20, 2005

MENLO PARK, CA -- Finding the perfect candidate for each job opening is every manager’s goal, but doing so is no easy task.  When asked to name the most difficult aspect of the hiring process, more than one-third (34 percent) of executives surveyed cited reviewing resumes; another 27 percent said asking the right interview questions is their greatest challenge.

The survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service that provides marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes 250 responses -- 125 from advertising executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest advertising agencies and 125 from senior marketing executives with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.   

Those surveyed were asked, “Which aspect of the hiring process do you find the most difficult?”  Their responses:

Reviewing resumes   34%
Asking the right interview questions   27%
Negotiating salaries   12%
Creating job descriptions   9%
Finding qualified candidates   6%
Developing compensation packages   2%
Don't know/other     10%

“Managers often receive little guidance on how to make good hires, particularly within smaller firms that may lack human resources personnel,” said Tracey Fuller, executive director of The Creative Group.  “While identifying the most promising candidates may seem straightforward, it’s easy to make mistakes along the way.  Unfortunately, these missteps can be very costly if the wrong person is hired.”

Added Fuller, “Having a well-thought-out procedure in place for each task -- including sorting through resumes and conducting job interviews -- saves managers time and increases their effectiveness.  Many executives receive hundreds of resumes in response to classified ads, for example, and may feel overwhelmed.  An established evaluation system can make the task more manageable.”

Fuller offered the following tips for developing a strategic hiring process:

  • Use the right criteria.  Create a set of requirements that can be used to evaluate applicants.  It should outline the technical aptitudes, educational requirements and soft skills needed for success in each position. 
  • Make the system uniform Each resume should be reviewed against the same standards.  Likewise, provide each candidate interviewed equal time and ask similar types of questions.
  • Begin at the end when reviewing resumes Candidates tend to place the least flattering information toward the bottom of their application materials, so starting there may be useful.  
  • Develop questions in advance.  Create a core list of interview questions to be asked of all applicants for a given position.  
  • Don’t skip steps When you’re short-staffed, it can be tempting to rush through the hiring process.  If workloads are unmanageable, consider bringing in freelance or project professionals until you have identified a final candidate.

The Creative Group has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada, and offers online job search services at

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