Ok, I am going to need some feedback from readers on this one. So please leave a comment, you can do so anonymously. Conventional wisdom says that most résumés are read prior to someone being interviewed. But a CEO interview I read made me ask when do you read a résumé?
Martin Richenhagen, the CEO of AGCO, was interviewed by Henry Unger for Unger’s % Questions for the Boss column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Unger had asked Richenhagen about dealing with employees. Part of his response to the question was “With respect to hiring, I never read the résumé before I talk to somebody. I want to see people before I have any opinions. It makes me more curious. I read the résumé after the interview. Then maybe I’d have a second round.” An interesting approach, however, I am not sure I would recommend it except in some limited circumstances. If I were on an airplane and in the course of a conversation I found the person sitting next to me might be a possibility for some job for which I was interviewing I would proceed with an unofficial interview. If at the end of that time I thought they might be a good match for my organization I would then ask them to send me a résumé. A job fair is another situation where you would proceed with a conversation prior to seeing a résumé
In other situations, however, I cannot imagine most executives or HR professionals proceeding to an interview without having done some preliminary screening, which typically involves having seen the person’s résumé. In Mr. Richenhagen’s case it is “nice to be the boss” (to paraphrase Mel Brooks’ “It’s nice to be the king.”) He as undoubtedly had recruiters screen the candidates presented to him and he knows they have many of the qualifications needed to fill the job. From that point it is easy to interview without having seen a résumé.
But getting back to my request for some feedback from readers, can you think of other situations where you would proceed without having seen a résumé?