We are into interviewing season, but much of our intelligence is gathered before we ask the first question.

Although we interview qualified candidates for our PR firm year-round, our email inboxes get especially full this time of year as another class of public relations students approach graduation time.

Just looking at the documents a candidate initially sends us completes much of our intelligence work on prospective teammates. When a résumé comes in by email, our fingers linger above the delete button, ready to press it should we find any of these items in the included documents:

  • Bad document name: If the résumé document itself is named “PR version,” then we know you aren’t focused on our industry, but instead are casting a wide net.
  • Signs of mass email distribution: If the email or letter is addressed to “Hiring Manager” or “HR Department” or “To Whom it May Concern,” then we know the candidate never researched our company before pressing “send.” So we press delete.
  • Verbosity: if a student in college can’t condense his or her brief history into one page, then we know they won’t meet our firm’s mission to develop “Clear Messages in a Cluttered World.”
  • Self-centeredness: If their introductory narrative is all about what a job at our firm can do for the applicant and his or her career, then we figure another firm can accommodate their needs.
  • No work history: you don’t have to have internships with other PR firms, but having no work history at all is a sign we’ll have to train you on a lot of basics. We once had to advise a young employee of the value of showering before coming to work!

So that’s just a list of what we can discern from looking at the résumés. You can imagine what we find when we type a candidate’s name into Google! We’ll save that for another posting.…read the full article here.