QUESTION: I am working on contingency placements for contracts, direct hires. Is it common that the recruiter edits, spell checks, formats the resumes? Or do companies just send the resumes the way they get them from the candidates? – Thomas, Los Angeles, CA

ANSWER: That is a preference. I never formatted emails for candidates. I am not their admin. If I reviewed the resume and it looked like crap, I would tell the candidate that I cannot present this because it has typos, and then you hand it back to them.  

A technique I learned from Greg Doersching that I thought was brilliant is when he presents a candidate, the way he takes a search is very methodical. I recommend all of you become very methodical and use a form to ask the same questions on every search. I used a search form to the last day I owned my firm. I never took a search assignment on a yellow legal pad.  

Back to the point.  

He would find out that there are the three criteria the client must have, here were the “nice to have’s,” whatever the requirements were. Then, he would take 10 to 15 minutes to type up a summary. Just to say, below find Jane Doe, who is a current VP of Finance, managing a team of a minimum of 15. His financial team was 27. You just have all the accomplishments, in summary, a couple of paragraphs, lots of bullet points. Take that summary, combine it with the resume, and create a PDF, so they are not two forms. Doing it this way will ensure that the client always has your contact information with the candidate’s contact information.  

I would not edit resumes, but I would add that introduction. Only once or twice did I get called out by the client about the candidate’s resume. If they asked if I looked at the resume, I would simply acknowledge that that is the candidate’s resume.  

I would then explain that I did not want to wait because this person was so outstanding. And then ask my client, If you are not going to interview them because they dropped a semicolon or used the wrong context in a word, and used different colors of bullet points, I mean, is speed more important to you or this level of detail?  

Maybe they are a neurosurgeon or a design engineer, and those things would, but I lived in a world with sales wherein sales we forget every third letter in the alphabet.  

If I alter the resume, I am altering the candidate’s presentation of themselves. I choose not to do that. I will be honest and coach the candidate, but I am not editing their resume.

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An excellent question. Thank you.

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