Step 2: Construction Company Screens ResuméStep 2: Construction Company Screens Resumé

Recruiters and hiring managers often receive a large number of applications for a job advertisement. This means they have less time available to study each cover letter and resumé. Most of us hold subtle biases, which can get in the way of hiring a diverse workforce. A common bias is to judge the resumé based on how well it follows a norm – either the accepted Canadian format or one’s own personal preferences. While no one can be free of bias, we can become more aware of the biases we hold and manage them more effectively. To quickly check if your resumé screening processes are inclusive, compare yourself to this checklist.

When accepting resumés, ensure you leave enough time after the closing date for any resumés mailed from rural or remote areas to arrive. People in these areas may not have access to the Internet to submit resumés online, or enough bandwidth to upload a resumé file. Fax lines are still often used in rural remote communities to transport information. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a great candidate because of mail delays or a slow Internet connection. If resumé submission through a website is required, candidates who do not have easy access to the Internet are a disadvantage. Make sure you provide all the local ISET holders with any job postings or recruitment information, such as “How to write a resumé,” in hard copy, by mail or fax.

Considerations when Screening Indigenous Candidate’s Resumes

Resumés of Indigenous candidates may look different from those of non-Indigenous candidates. The order in which the data is presented may be different. Seemingly unimportant information might be placed up front. Achievements are not highlighted. Often these minor differences can lead to a resumé being screened out early. Consider the tips below to avoid screening out talent because of an unconventional resumé.

  • Candidates’ resumés may demonstrate that they have held many short-term positions in a short period of time. This may not reflect a lack of career path, loyalty or commitment; it may reflect difficulties in finding long-term positions after leaving a reserve or remote community. Consider the benefits.
  • A candidate may not hold a valid driver’s licence. In many remote communities, a driver’s license is not a rite of passage as it is in many urban centres. Indigenous people may use vehicles that do not require a driver’s licence, or they may have lived most of their lives hundreds of kilometres from a driver’s license bureau. Review the job requirements to see if a license is an essential requirement.
  • Don’t assume a candidate has included everything in his or her resumé. Indigenous candidates often have a wealth of experience-based knowledge that is not directly listed in a resumé. Particularly in cases of referrals and recommendations, it is important to take time to listen to candidates in order to assess all their abilities. If you have identified a gap that would exclude a candidate, consider contacting the candidate to ask if he or she has any additional experience. How to present your skills to the construction industry (pdf)
  • Indigenous candidates may not be familiar with the recruitment process yet. On your website, explain in detail your organization’s recruiting process and include a sample resumé.
  • Be adaptable regarding qualifications. Is a college diploma an absolute requirement for the position, or can equivalent experience be regarded as an alternative? Consider if there is an opportunity for you to accept some alternative combinations of experience and capabilities in lieu of formal certification, particularly in non-technical areas of work. Does your firm have any apprenticeship programs, on-the-job training, and other routes that you can use to help candidates upskill to help fill much-needed positions?

Tool: Checklist for Inclusive Resume Screening

Ask yourself the following questions to help you detect personal biases that could influence candidate assessment either positively or negatively. Reflect on areas where you feel you might be biased and consider how this bias could have an impact on your decisions. Take the time to create a reconciliation strategy for how to account for the detected biases.

  • Does the candidate’s resumé follow my expectations? How does this impact my rating? Am I conscious of my biases when the resumé does not follow my expectations?
  • Are the candidate’s credentials easy or difficult to evaluate? How does this impact my rating?
  • Does the candidate have experience that is familiar to me? How does this impact my rating?
  • Is there something on the candidate’s resumé that may create a positive bias? How does this impact my rating?
  • Is there an accompanying letter to inform me that the candidate I am screening is Indigenous?
  • Does the candidate highlight achievements? How does this impact my rating?
  • Does the candidate have a different first language than I do? Does this put him or her at a disadvantage in presenting skills and qualifications in a resumé?
  • How much do my positive/negative personal biases influence the selection process?
  • Am I focusing on the candidate’s “fit” or “personal suitability”?