Grace For First Impressions

“Nope, that one has a spelling error.”

“That one just doesn’t look great.”

“Really? Two spelling/grammar errors?”

Scanning resumes is difficult. 

Scanning through several hundred in an afternoon can be a headache, especially when you’re already behind on other projects. Our brains seek shortcuts. How can I quickly cut out 90% of these resumes and be left with only a few? 


They missed a comma, nix this one! They were inconsistent on using periods on their bullet list, g’bye!

I lacked grace when I would read resumes. It was easy to justify that attitude. 

  1. I don’t have time,
  2. I have other “more important” priorities, and 
  3. I needed an easy way to sort through them.

Classy. Gracious. Considerate.

Now, that the tables are turned and I am the one trying to get an interview, it feels a bit different. There’s the proverb: Pride comes before the fall. Meaning, your arrogance is gonna trip you up — you’ll fall flat on your face. Peeps will likely laugh at you, too.

It gets better. After reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading my resume several times, printing it to read with red pen in hand, and reformulating it far too many times, I thought to read it one more time. What did I find? A spelling error in the first sentence. The. First. Sentence. 

Pride comes before the fall. There were other edits, too, albeit not true errors.

I apologized to my wife. “If recruiters are like me, the places I’ve already applied will nix my resume right off the bat!” It was a sobering realization. An epiphany which wiser people have already had — these people are further along on their journey of grace. As I reflected, I knew I am a solid candidate, great with people, have thorough organizational skills…but I slipped. I had at least one spelling error in my resume. 

Hey, if you would still hire yourself even with a couple errors on a resume, what about all those candidates you never interviewed because of just one error?

We learn through failures and oftentimes we have no recourse but to learn from errors we commit ourselves. Spelling mistakes could be a sign to avoid a candidate…Or it may be a case to extend grace and take the risk that they’re really great, but just like everyone else, they’re also human. Certainly we must wisely steward the recruiting roles we hold and ensure our product (and people) are high quality — there’s no doubt about that! — but maybe, just maybe a perfectly polished resume is not the best indicator of the talent you need? Perhaps getting to know the person is the way? Maybe it’s best to learn to swallow our pride, realize behind these resumes are real human beings, and that there are better ways of reviewing resumes than the easy way out. 

Perhaps there’s grace. Or perhaps there’s a shortcut to save you time.

Which do you choose?

Published by Jeff Beaumont

I love helping companies scale and grow their organizations to delight customers and employees, enabling healthy teams, fast growth, and fewer headaches. Scaling quickly is wrought with potholes and plot twists. When you’re running a company, losing customers, and employees are on their way out, and don’t have your systems running smoothly, then you’ll be at your wits' end. I've been there and hate it.

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