You Can’t Judge Someone’s Personality From A Resume

Resumes are often your first impression to a job recruiter, and first impressions are often wrong. Here’s the trouble, though: job recruiters think that they’re awesome at judging personalities based on resumes. They aren’t.

Researchers publishing in the Journal of Business and Psychology have found that it’s extremely difficult to judge a personality based on a resume. In one phase of the study, researchers gave a bunch of MBA students personality tests, and then they gave the student’s resumes to professional job recruiters who then gave estimates of the students personalities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these estimates didn’t really reflect the students actual personality tests.

In another experiment, 266 participants were recruited online and asked to play job recruiters. In this experiment, the resumes were broken down into component parts. The job recruiters ended up constructing assumptions about the candidates conscientiousness based on the design of the resume, assumptions about extraversion and agreeableness based on volunteer activities, and assumptions about openness to experience based on computer skills.

This is basically good news and bad news, depending on whether you’re an applicant or a recruiter, and whether you’re a cynic or an optimist. If you’re an applicant, make sure your resume looks spiffy, load up on volunteer experience, and acquire a bunch of computer skills. The recruiter will think you’re conscientious, extraverted, agreeable, and open to experience. If you’re a job recruiter, maybe just put the resume through the most basic of filters and wait for a face-to-face meeting before drawing any conclusions.



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