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Recruiters' Tips for Screening the Résumés Of Older Applicants

Learn how to read between the lines and ask the right questions

Résumé 2

Work Experience

(Company name) 10/02/2012 to 1/02/2013 — Trip Enveloper Processor: Process fuel envelopes that are scanned into the computer. These are sent in by the drivers who are employees of (company name).

(Company name) 1995 to 2006 — Claims re-estimator: Reviewed incoming claims and adjusted approved payment accounts in accordance with contractual agreements.


Don't rush applicants to the reject pile. There are two concerns with this résumé: There's a six-year gap between the two jobs, which could be a problem, and only two employers are listed. In spite of these flags, experts caution that you should not be hasty to judge. Additional tips for screening job candidates with résumés like this include:

Read between the lines. Some recruiters may dismiss this résumé because of the job gap, says Barbara Meury, who owns a Snelling staffing agency franchise in Jacksonville, Fla. "Don't necessarily be afraid of gaps," she says. "It can be a red flag but it may not be." Some mature workers retire from a full career, take several years off to pursue other interests such as travel, and then decide to return to work. Others take care of an elderly parent or ill spouse. This 68-year-old applicant took time off from work to care for her sick husband.

Dig deep. To keep their résumé an acceptable length, many candidates only mention the last five or 10 years of their 30-year careers. So ask about prior work or school experiences. In this case, the recruiter learned through follow-up questions that the candidate completed some computer and medical terminology courses.

Consider experiences beyond 9-to-5 o'clock. Many mature individuals develop a variety of skills by volunteering. By asking candidates to elaborate about such experiences, you can capture relevant skills that may be valuable to your business. Meury notes that this candidate didn't mention on her résumé that she volunteered for her local volunteer and fire rescue department and participated in fundraising activities. These valuable experiences were gleaned through the interview.

Résumé 3

Work Experience

(Company name) Director of Human Resources 1999 to Present

  • Responsible for managing the organization's human capital. Consultant to senior management on matters of business strategy impacting human resources. Direct report to CEO; member of seven-person management committee.
  • Improved organizational efficiency through departmental redesign to better reflect business requirements and manage out under-performers
  • Integrated employees of two acquisitions
  • Led the teams responsible for integration of human resource programs and policies
  • Enhanced employee effectiveness by introducing employee development programs that included skills management training
  • Improved level of executive talent through hands-on management of all recruitment activities

Next page: Analysis of résumé 3. »

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