Typos on a Resume: Should You Hire Them Anyway?

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The job of HR is never straightforward. An otherwise qualified applicant causes themselves unknown grief by misspelling one or two items on the resume, either by mistake or through ignorance. What does a responsible healthcare recruiter or HR professional do, especially in the highly competitive world of healthcare?

76% of companies in a survey said that one typo would immediately disqualify a candidate from even the lowest level position in the organization. However, there are many reasons that this could be a bad hiring practice. No matter how closely a person goes over a resume, it is human nature to make mistakes, even in the editing process. Even computers make mistakes, and in a profession that may require typing out words that a word processing program may not readily recognize, computer editing may even cause typos.

Your healthcare organization could miss out on a great employee because of a typo if the resume is not considered as a whole. It may be in the best interest of the talent acquisition/recruitment teams and the entire HR department to determine how much the position requires the employee to engage in paperwork that could cause the same typos on the job. If the job has very little bureaucratic administration involved, then perhaps a typo should not matter as much.

Half of the recruitment professionals in this study said that they found a lie in at least one applicant’s resume. Is a typo as important as a lie? Certainly not; however, some HR professionals still hire applicants who lie, as they consider certain types of lies “aspirational.” Contrary to common sense, this seems to be more acceptable the higher in the hierarchy that you go, as many executive headhunters expect a few lies, while temp agency pros are quite Draconian about finding them.

Although most HR professionals would advise others to look over a resume in full, considering typos in perspective, their actions do not reflect this philosophy. Perhaps this is the right course of action in the healthcare industry. In healthcare, there are very few positions that do not require administrative tasks; “paperwork” is a part of nearly every health-oriented job.

In healthcare, this paperwork represents something more fragile and important than paperwork in other industries — the life of a human being. Typos on a patient’s paperwork can mean a difference in care plans and ultimately clinical outcomes.  New HIPAA standards have required many healthcare organizations and health systems of all sizes to move to electronic medical records. The software packages that are licensed to serve in organizations run under HIPAA standards are more in tuned with the lingo of the profession, meaning that there will be fewer errors that come from the program itself should an automatic correction be imposed.

However, it is still up to the person inputting the information to make sure that the work is correct. Although HIPAA standards were partly implemented to try to shield the healthcare industry from human error, individuals who do not properly check their work may cause the same problems that a misplaced or misspelled word might have caused five years ago. tumblr_nnt5hyi77f1qm6yoeo2_500

The healthcare industry is a special case when it comes to hiring practices. Healthcare is a profession that requires a high degree of precision. HR professionals must assess for this personality trait and behavioral competencies such as compassion, willingness to learn, and service excellence.

It would be a mistake for a healthcare recruiter or HR professional to knowingly place anyone in a position where they could possibly harm a patient because of their lack of attention to detail. Although a typo may not be reason enough to completely trash a resume, perhaps it should be considered more heavily when assessing healthcare candidates.


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About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.