So, you have a key role to fill. You’ve advertised the role and now you have a list of applicants to review. Great! Except – where to start? So many resumes and so little time. Here are some key steps to bear in mind for your next screening marathon.

What is Resume Screening?

Resume screening is the process of reading through a candidate’s application (usually a cover letter and a resume) and assessing their match against the key requirements of the role.

It’s really important before you start to be very clear about what qualifications and experience you are looking for along with any other additional requirements. Make a quick and easy check list that contains your “must haves”, along with “nice to have” skills. This way, you can skim through the resume, looking for these key points.

The ultimate goal here is to decide whether to move a candidate to the next stage of the process (usually an interview) or mark them as unsuccessful.

5 Key Steps

1) Skim through

Skim through the application. There is no need to read every word/sentence, especially when you are time poor! What you are looking for are key words that might match your role requirements. These are usually qualifications or experience that the candidate must have in order to do the job.

2) Develop yes/no/maybe lists

Move any candidates that meet your key requirements into a ‘yes’ list. Likewise, those candidates that fail to meet one or more important requirements can immediately be moved to a ‘no’. Your ‘maybe’ list will contain candidates who don’t quite meet all of your requirements however there might be something you wish to explore further in order to determine whether they are a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

3) Red flags

Look out for any ‘red flags’. These might be things like, but not limited to; large gaps in employment, a resume with no dates or vague descriptions of responsibilities. It’s really important not to disregard a candidate because of these, especially when they might meet some of your other requirements. In some cases, you might want to move them to your ‘maybe’ list until you find out more information.

4) Review lists

Depending on how big your ‘yes’ list is, you may need to narrow this down further. The key here is to compare the candidates against one another and select only the ones that more closely meet your key requirements. Remove any that are not quite there.

5) Quality over quantity

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t find the right match straight away. And don’t settle for those who don’t meet all your requirements! If you reach this point, go back and revisit your original advertisement for the role. Make any changes or look into some other options to reach the right candidates.

Sifting through resumes can be done quite quickly if you can get into the swing of following these key steps. If you look for the most important information first, and don’t settle for anything less, you’ll be on your way to hiring the best fit for your company.

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