How to Screen Resumes Quickly and Effectively

Here you will find important tips from top hiring managers on incorporating a screening strategy into your recruiting process.

Here you will find important tips from top hiring managers on incorporating a screening strategy into your recruiting process.

You’ve received over 100 resumes in the past 2 days, but which resumes represent top talent?

  • What are the keywords and phrases that you should notice? 
  • Do you have a proven process for resume screening? 
  • How do you know which resumes to screen first?
  • How do the top human resource managers and local staffing companies get through the stacks of resumes quickly and effectively?

Everyday, numerous resumes come across your desk. How do you prioritize the processing of these resumes? Maybe you contact some of them right away, but on what do you base your actions? 

How much emphasis should be placed on the following?  Longevity - Experience - Grammar - Skills - Resume design and appearance

How is it that you and your human resources staff screen and interview candidates but still can’t find the right fit?

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the hiring process, contact Brannon Professionals at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the hiring process, contact Brannon Professionals at 662-349-9194 or 901-759-9622.

When screening resumes, you must do a little homework before you get started. It will save you a great deal of your valuable time throughout the process. Determine what is most important to make this new hire successful in the job. Think of what the job requires - - Is it strong verbal and written communication skills? Is it longevity? Is it education and a degree? Is it specific computer knowledge and experience? As you consider these things, be sure to prioritize them. This will, in turn, set the ground work for prioritizing the resumes.

 

Grammar

As a hiring manager, you might ask yourself, “Is this poorly written resume a reflection of this candidate’s best effort?” 

As a hiring manager, you might ask yourself, “Is this poorly written resume a reflection of this candidate’s best effort?” 

Grammar is often overlooked when screening resumes, but watching for errors in this area is vital to an effective resume screening process. A resume is a first impression and possibly one of the most important documents a person will prepare. When you consider that a poorly prepared resume could lead to being disqualified for a well-paying job, it is nearly inexcusable that an applicant would let this happen. 

If the job for which you are screening does not require strong written communication skills and meticulous attention to detail, you might keep reading, but most likely this resume should initially go into the “NO” stack.

Suggestion: Keep three stacks when reviewing resumes: yes - no - maybe. The "maybes" often get a second review (if the "yes" resumes don't work out), but not always.

Longevity

Longevity is also important. Look at dates, and unless the candidate is entry-level, you should see some ability to stick with a job! Competition for good jobs is real, and you typically will not have time to call every person who sends their resume to you.

Our clients (business owners, department heads, and Human Resources managers) are very determined to hire top performers, and they do not want to spend their valuable time with those who have moved from job to job without a seriously compelling reason and perhaps not even then.  

If longevity is not reflected somewhere on the resume or something else on the resume does not spark your interest, the resume should probably go into the “NO” stack.

If longevity is not reflected somewhere on the resume or something else on the resume does not spark your interest, the resume should probably go into the “NO” stack.

Experience

Yes, experience matters, but you should consider experience from the correct perspective.

Yes, experience matters, but you should consider experience from the correct perspective.

Experience! Is it everything? No, but whatever type of good experience a person can bring to the job is very important. 

Often, you may find that the perfect receptionist is the applicant who has been a stay-at-home mom for the last 17 years, but whose resume does not include the word “receptionist”.

A great marketing or administrative candidate might have nothing but retail sales experience, but their resume may include a long list of computer skills gained through college experience and/or personal use.

An incredible accounting candidate with a degree might be passed over all because they lack specific accounting software experience or because they have been out of the workforce for several years. This can be a tragic mistake for a hiring professional. 

Educational experiences, as well as qualities and skills developed outside of the workplace, can also qualify as transferable professional qualifications. When you find yourself wondering if a candidate's life/work experiences or education might suffice in the position for which you are hiring, a simple resume screening phone call is in order.    

Behavioral Tendencies & Communication Style

In our high tech world, making calls is not always the "preferred" method of communication for either the recruiter or the candidate, but there is still much insight to be gained by means of a simple phone conversation.

In our high tech world, making calls is not always the "preferred" method of communication for either the recruiter or the candidate, but there is still much insight to be gained by means of a simple phone conversation.

Making good hiring decisions is difficult, but developing a strategy is a very smart way to effectively screen large numbers of resumes.  Balancing a person’s skills, experience, and education while incorporating their behavioral pattern is imperative. 

Develop a short phone screen questionnaire that will prompt dialogue. This gives the applicant a chance to express themselves while demonstrating their communication style. You might even want to consider delegating the phone screenings to a trusted and insightful assistant.

Finally, look for well-written, straight-forward objectives and/or impressive summaries when screening resumes. Give extra consideration to applicants who include references (names and numbers and/or letters of reference) with their resume, especially if they are professional/work references.

 

Developing a system for resume screening will merit a much lighter load and save you valuable time. So, keep up the good work and Happy Resume Screening!

Developing a system for resume screening will merit a much lighter load and save you valuable time. So, keep up the good work and Happy Resume Screening!