The process of reviewing a resume should start before a single applicant hits the Send button. It should begin with a well-written job description that can be used as a standard for any resume that is submitted.
An efficient job description clearly outlines specific, essential qualifications and experience. It shouldn’t be a wish list to identify the perfect candidate or a vague paragraph written to rope in as many applicants as possible.
A good job posting helps ensure you don’t end up with someone who is less capable than the individual you wanted. It also helps you read resumes more rapidly. The information and preparation allow you to reduce many resumes to a selected few with greater precision.
It should also be noted that a cover letter is a very useful tool for screening candidates. Cover letters can reveal more about a person than just their basic technical skills and attention to detail.
Reviewing the resumes
Reserve time over the course of a few days to review resumes. Part of resume screening is contrasting one set of qualifications to other resumes you have received later in the process.
Basic resume screening tactics never go out of style, including the hunt for spelling and grammar mistakes. Your initial skim of a resume should produce an overall impression of a candidate’s attention to detail. Applicants who make careless errors do not warrant further attention. An initial skim should also identify typical red flags, which includes big employment gaps, signs the candidate has stagnated in their career, job hopping and a number of career changes.
A second scan can give an overall impression of the candidate. You’ll want to see the applicant meets your essential skills, experience and easy-to-find qualifications, like a college degree or necessary certification. If basic qualifications are not met, reject the resume or put it in your “maybe” pile or electronic folder.
With the accepted resumes, find what each applicant says they want in their next job to determine whether they have customized their resume to your job description. Check for a summary statement of qualifications and experience. If the applicant has customized their summary for you, it enables you to rapidly locate the information you need. These resumes can go into a “further review” pile.
In a final pass, review the most recent employers and the applicant’s stated experience, achievements and contributions. At this stage, you must have discovered considerable cross-over between the applicant’s resume and your needs. Set aside the best resumes for the next part of the process.
Becoming an eagle-eyed pro
As with anything, the more you review resumes, the better you’ll get at it. With practice, you’ll be able to effectively scan a resume in 30 seconds or less. You’ll also be able to spot red flags that are specific to your industry, making your process faster and more efficient.
At Action Group Staffing, we take the hard work of screening resumes out of the hands of our clients, so they can put more focus on their core, revenue-generating operations. If your company is currently looking to outsource part or all of its talent acquisition process, please contact us today.