We ask for Word resumes

@ThomasShaw wrote:
Recruiter wants CV in Word format http://bit.ly/3pgcN5 Submitting resume, then thrown out… http://bit.ly/134TtL 11:20 AM Nov 18th from TweetDeck

The above tweet by Thomas Shaw was the impetus for this post.

Often candidates want to present their information in different formats for various reasons, perhaps to highlight their skills with a product like Flash, or so that consultants can’t corrupt the original content (pdf) or sometimes for no reason at all (docx)

While we can work with varying formats, the tried and true Word (.doc) format is the one we really prefer, and here’s why.

The majority of candidate resumes received are in response to advertisements on Seek and other job boards. When you apply for an ETX Seek ad you start interacting with the ETX database straightaway, our software will try and match you with any previous registration by using your phone number, your email address as well as your name – mostly that works and duplicate versions of your details are avoided.

Uploading your cover letter and resume in the application screen, firstly tries to figure out if you are already registered with ETX, then merges the cover letter onto the resume (we can do that with Word but not with something we can’t edit). The whole content of the document is then scanned for “buzz” words that help to identify different skills and experiences (not something we can do with image formats). That’s far from the end though, once uploaded the resume is indexed to support full text searching by our consultants, similar to the larger Internet search engines.

Consultants and clients, to whom your details are legitimately available, are able to review your resume online, to improve the speed of live delivery your details may be presented in plain text – again this is something we can do with Word but not with graphic formats.

Within ETX there is only one version of your details, if you ever want to see what we present to a client you can log in and access your complete details. Upload a revised version of your resume anytime at all – give it a try. The only thing you wont see are the consultant’s summarising comments provided to the client in relation to the candidates shortlisted which would compromise the confidentiality of other candidates.

If you recruit, ETX software is available as a service.

5 thoughts on “We ask for Word resumes”

  1. The ignorance that believes this is an acceptable policy is disheartening, though it seems to be common practice with Australian recruiters, presumably due to the “buzz word” recruiter search database software they’ve been sold.

    1. Let me know which International Standard (ISO) Word is. It’s not. It’s a corruptible format. I know recruiters like Word, but the rest of the world does not necessarily use Microsoft Word. http://goldmark.org/netrants/no-word/attach.html

    PDF, for example, is an open standard format (ISO 32000-1). It is searchable ( http://www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/devnet/acrobat/pdfs/SearchAPIReference.pdf ) and easily generated from many word processing systems with free, open tools, on all platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac, ..).

    I do agree on flash formats as not appropriate.

    2. It’s precisely the automated keyword search and lack of personalised human service that is so common and irritating with recruitment agents these days. As a candidate one often never hears back from agents other than perhaps an automated email. As an employer you get shuffled with a selection of lightly researched resumes that one still has to filter through.

    I am an employer (senior manager). I am recruiting right now (IT), with interviews yesterday. I frequently receive cold calls from agents selling their services, of which ETX has been one in the past I’m reasonably sure (if you’re in Melbourne, Australia). I only use a handful of agents that I trust to offer a fair and quality personalized, non-automated, service to the candidate as well as to me. In the past I’ve been known to specifically request standards based formats for applicants and those that send me Word format are immediately sent to /dev/null.

    It’s entirely your choice to use the same software, policies, procedures as the general mob of recruitment agents. If you’d like to stand above your competitors, ditch the silly Word format requirement and buzz word search rubbish and start reading submissions and making a human judgement with your experience – as you’re contracted to do. I do appreciate the volume of submissions off Seek is high. That’s where meta data forms, or the requirement to call before sending a resume comes in, or create an innovative process where candidates must invest something more than hitting a Seek submit button. But don’t just search through resumes by Word keyword; I can do that without a recruitment agent with 1 line:

    cat resume.doc | antiword | grep -i desiredkeyword

    In a couple of lines I could do multiple key words and completely replace your value add, since I’d cull it to 4-5 resumes from hundreds and read the first 2 lines of the resultant cover letters. I know this works because I’ve recruited this way myself before, with success.

    You are unlikely to post this comment. But taken constructively it provides an opportunity, and insight into a technical employer. I do deal with agents who I’ve found offer a quality human service, such as returning candidate calls even if they are not appropriate for the position. I don’t deal with suppliers that lock themselves into outdated proprietary tools that don’t conform to any technology standard.

    1. What “David” Says on “November 27th, 2010 on 2:48 pm” is interesting, but is almost as bad.
      Having a “Word-only” format policy is nowhere near as bad as having an “antiword” format policy, especially given that it is one of the most used (if non-ISO) formats used in the World.
      As “grep” is mainly used on Linux/Unix systems, David is probably a Linux/Unix user, which may explain the anti-Word stance.

      Why should someone be failed as an applicant for using one of the most common and global document formats?

      This is one situation where “standardised” is good in an application for a position.

      Far worse is the situation once where I was told that the organisation could not handle a ZIP file format (admittedly a while ago, but ZIP was still common at the time).

      Having said that, yes PDF format can be searchable & could be used, but PDF format alone does not make the CV inviolable and not subject to change by the Receiver.
      There is plenty of software around for this purpose.

      1. It is good to receive feedback and a little sad to see that people misinterpret our request for Word format CVs as being an ultimatum. We ask for Word CVs because for us they are the simplest to work with and they work nicely with our automated application process, however someone who needs to submit another format can attach it to an email and submit their application that way.

        One objective that we have now achieved is the ability to handle the default Microsoft docx format automatically, but unfortunately we still need to process pdf submissions via email.

  2. Thanks for your input David.

    Our experience is different, we have clients that specifically ask for MS Word formats and since, as you point out, Word is popular with recruiters it seems simple to go with the flow. A lot of our work is with candidates who aren’t overly comfortable with PCs.

    It would be nice to accept pdfs, and it is something I’ve been thinking about lately, however downloading files to a local reader for review seems cumbersome, doubtless there are ways to render as html. If we see an increase in candidates wanting to work with pdf information, perhaps printing their LinkedIn profiles or something like that, we could well move in that direction.

    On the question of “buzz-word” database systems, there’s no disagreement. Candidate selection using buzz words is something we haven’t used for many years, free text search on resumes by people with an understanding of what they are looking for is the best way we have found so far to interrogate our database. Buzz words are useful though to filter information for candidate mailing lists.

  3. I would like to reiterate David’s comments from a applicant’s perspective.

    I have seen several times the following done to ‘doc’ formatted CVs:

    – Contact information removed
    – Formatting altered (often to the point of significantly reducing readability)
    – Agent making content changes without informing the applicant

    Furthermore, simply viewing such a format is wildly inconsistent and page layout is frequently altered when printed or displayed with a slightly different software version.

    In regards to your technical comments:

    “Uploading your cover letter and resume in the application screen, firstly tries to figure out if you are already registered with ETX, then merges the cover letter onto the resume (we can do that with Word but not with something we can’t edit).”
    Completely incorrect, it is trivial to create a document (such as PDF) which contains some pages from a cover letter, followed by other pages from a second document. The format of the source documents is irrelevant as long as you can print them.

    “The whole content of the document is then scanned for “buzz” words that help to identify different skills and experiences (not something we can do with image formats).”
    While your comment on image formats is correct, you do realise that PDF is no more an image format than .doc is? My text in PDF /could/ be all in one image, but it could also be so in a PDF document. Typically (as per doc format) all text will be just as searchable.

    “That’s far from the end though, once uploaded the resume is indexed to support full text searching by our consultants, similar to the larger Internet search engines.”
    Once again, this argument does not hold up.

    “Consultants and clients, to whom your details are legitimately available, are able to review your resume online, to improve the speed of live delivery your details may be presented in plain text – again this is something we can do with Word but not with graphic formats.”
    In my experience, PDF rendering over HTML is far Superior to doc, primarily for the formating issues mentioned previously. Obviously if you wanted to strip formatting and display text only this is also simple.

    Many other firms do everything you listed quite happily with PDF format.

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