The Importance of Reviewing a Resume
By: Sahil Razdan, Articling Student at Heydarian Law
When one is applying for a job, and serious about getting that job, a resume is probably the most
crucial document to perfect. One look at a well written resume can provide a potential employer
with a full picture of the job seeker’s background including his or her work experience,
knowledge base, goals, aspirations, and even personality – or at least you would hope.
From the job seeker’s perspective, the writing, reviewing, and perfecting of a resume can
become the be-all/end- all of the job seeking process, and can sometimes make or break the
chances of actually getting the job. This can lead to candidates overstating or misstating their
experiences, accomplishments, and even sometimes their goals.
From the employer’s perspective, the process of reviewing hundreds of resumes can become
overwhelming. Depending on the number of applications an employer gets for any given
position, it can become an extremely tedious task to read and review the numerous resumes, and
have to navigate through the overwritten sagas that some resumes can be. This can lead to the
employer skimming the resumes, assuming that what is written is correct, and interviewing
candidates with a preconceived notion that the experiences, accomplishments, and goals stated
are all actually true.
The problem with the process as described above is that it can turn into a lose-lose situation for
the employer; where the candidate that is eventually hired is not necessarily qualified for the job,
but also cannot be fired, at least not easily. The candidate is hired based on the “qualifications”
on his/her resume that made the candidate seem competent, when in reality, the candidate is not.
Not only will the new hire be underqualified, he/she will likely produce results that are not up to
the standards expected, become overwhelmed with the work and disinterested, and potentially
become a liability instead of the asset he or she was hired to be.
Removing this employee can be extremely difficult if there is no cause for termination, and can
become an HR nightmare. Even if there is cause to terminate the employee, it can be difficult
and expensive to prove cause if the terminated employee decides to sue.
If terminated employees decide to take legal action against the employer, upon the advice of their
lawyers, they generally go through a two-step process to try and recover as much money as they
1) Demand (through their lawyers) severance pay; and
2) If severance pay is denied, bring a claim against the former employer for wrongful
Leaving aside the result of either of these two scenarios for the moment, just having to go
through the process of dealing with a disgruntled ex-employee is a time consuming, tedious, and,
for lack of a better word, annoying, process. That, coupled with having to likely involve lawyers
to handle the matter, the process can become very expensive.
This leaves many employers with the decision of whether to settle for a mutually agreed upon
amount, or to play hard-ball and refuse settlement in order to go all the way to Trial. This, again,
is usually a lose-lose situation for the employer. The former situation is obviously a straight cost
to the company and can be several thousands of dollars depending on many factors specifically
relating to the terminated employee and his/her tenure at the company. The latter is an ongoing
expense to the company as the litigation process can span several months, and in some extremely
contentious situations, can span years. The litigation process includes many steps prior to trial
such as the service of pleadings, requesting of productions, administering discoveries, and in
some jurisdictions such as Toronto, attending mandatory mediations. All of those, of course, are
expenses independent of the expense of preparing for and actually attending the Trial itself.
Again, this option can cost an employer several thousands of dollars depending on the specifics
of the case, and can result in still having to pay out a sum to the terminated employee depending
on the result of the Trial. Further, there is the possibility that the Trial Judge rules that the
withholding of settlement by the employer was unreasonable in the circumstances, and the
employer could be liable for increased damages, above and beyond what was contended in Trial,
and could be hit with further sanctions.
What employers are generally left with, once faced with a terminated employee that wants to
sue, is a decision of lesser evils. Will it cost more to settle or go to trial? However, companies
will also have to juggle whether or not their company will be affected by any negative
press/precedent that comes from having a full-blown trial.
Alternatively, the best case scenario is that the terminated employee is not disgruntled and there
is no pursuit of compensation. This leaves the employer devoid of an appropriate candidate for
the position, and they will need to spend more money and resources to not only start the hiring
process all over again, but to then train and retain that person.
The solution, although very simple, tends to often get overlooked. Read the resume. Granted, this
will not guarantee that an employer will never face the type of situation described above, but it
can significantly reduce the chances of it occurring.
Once an employer has taken the time to clearly review the candidate’s resume, the employer will
have a better chance at understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement of the
candidate. The employer will also have a better chance of understanding the areas that need to be
clarified during the interview.
The interview process is extremely important. The employer should use prying questions to see
how truthful the statements made in the resume are. The interviewer, assuming he/she is well
versed in the job that is being filled, should ask questions regarding the actual job and how it
may relate to the candidate’s resume and experiences. This way the interviewer will get a sense
of how good or bad of a fit the candidate will be and if he/she will be able to competently and
successfully complete the job at hand.
Overall, just spending a bit of extra time reviewing, understanding, and analyzing a resume can
be the difference between hiring an employee that will be an asset to the company and hiring an
employee that will end up being a liability. An extra few minutes with a resume can make all the
difference in avoiding a potential several thousand dollar settlement or litigation battle.