HR’s Guide to Resume Screening

Successful resume screening saves HR teams valuable time and resources. With a clear understanding of what makes a good or bad fit, you increase your chances of bringing in high caliber candidates.

While it’s exciting to receive a vast pool of applications, it can also be daunting. These seven tips will help you efficiently and effectively screen resumes to make sure you hire the right person for the role.

1. Eliminate Time Wasters

Many candidates will apply despite not meeting the essential criteria. While you can’t blame them for trying, their optimism isn’t always conducive to your candidate search. Your criteria could be anything from requiring a college degree, to several years of experience in a job role.

Before even posting the job description, outline the core competencies essential to success in the role and use these to evaluate a candidate’s qualifications. This will help you weed out any resumes that don’t align with what you’re looking for.

2. Check the Format

If you come across spelling errors, grammar mistakes, or bad formatting, it’s a good indicator that the candidate does not pay close attention to detail. Everyone makes mistakes, but a resume is the candidate’s first impression, and they should be sure to put their best foot forward.

Is the resume is too cluttered or badly structured? The format will likely reflect their organizational skills (or lack thereof). You shouldn’t have to go searching for the information you need; top applicants will tailor their skills and experience to the job they’re applying for.

3. Reject Template Resumes

The best candidates will tailor their resume to the specific role. Even with the right experience, you want to see that they’re serious about the job, and a generic template suggests they’re likely sending out the same resume to a wide net of recruiters.

An easy way to spot if the candidate has tailored their resume is by checking their personal statement. This concise statement  should explain a bit about who they are and why they would be a good fit.

Compare this and the rest of the resume with the requirements on your job description. If it doesn't fit the specification, then move along.

4. Scan For Job-Hopping

Although times have changed and people don’t tend to stay in the same role for as long as they used to, it can be a red flag if a candidate has changed their role every 6-12 months. The hiring process is costly; and you want to make sure you’re investing in long-term talent.

There are some exceptions, however, such as recent graduates or career changers. Use your discretion to decide whether or not to follow up with the candidate to learn more about their employment history.

5. Trace Career Development

Along with understanding employee loyalty, you want to know how candidates will grow within your company. Be cautious with candidates who highlight successes that don’t translate to your market, and try to learn more about how their career progression could help in this role.

Scan for achievements and notable growth in their previous role. Have they made an active effort to learn more about the field, and if so, how might this translate to your company?

6. Look for Proof of Accomplishments

It’s all too common for candidates to list every achievement without any real evidence to back it up. For example, they might claim to have successfully led a team. Conveniently, this omits any indication of what made their managerial approach successful.

Look for successes which can be quantified rather than sweeping statements. This way, you’ll have relevant information to base your judgement on, as well as a more accurate way of comparing potential candidates.

7. Check For Cultural Fit

If you’re hiring for a role that will work closely within a team; try and understand how they work with others. Look for words such as communication, leadership, and teamwork.

While this may not be the first thing you do when screening a resume, it’s important to gauge whether a candidate will be happy at your company. You can also scan their resume for any hobbies or interests which could mesh well with the team.

There are many telltale signs to look for when screening a resume.  It may seem like a difficult task, but before you know it, you’ll be able to easily identify the signs of a top candidate. Follow these tips to save time on your search for resumes and quickly bring in your next hire!

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