Recruiting - Quality Resumes Like a Champ

Hone Your Recruiting Skills by Qualifying Resumes Like a Champ

If you’ve ever done any employee recruiting then you know that when you are bombarded by resumes (an arguably better problem to have than the alternative), you can sometimes feel like you are spinning your wheels trying to unearth the star applicants from the average candidates. It can just take a lot of time to go through all those resumes, can’t it? But, there are some simple application pre-qualification techniques you can use to start sourcing quality applicants more quickly. Plus, its hard to argue with these potential benefits of implementing a sound resume screening process:

  • Shorten your time-to-hire
  • Improve the quality of newly hired employees
  • Promote your organization’s employment brand by staying organized throughout the selection process and proactively letting applicants know that you’d consider them for other positions in the future
  • Realize a better ROI for your time and your hiring managers’ time…which ultimately results in fewer costs attributable to turnover
  • And…amass a pool of passive applicants ready to consume your career-related content


Familiarize Yourself With Job Descriptions

While this is good practice in general, its especially critical if you aren’t the one who wrote them, yet you are the person tasked with finding the perfect employee match! Armed with a working knowledge of the demands and nuances of the position, put together a list of 4-7 job-specific screening questions that you may prompt individuals to answer during the application process.

Then, take advantage of filtering tools within your applicant tracking system to quickly narrow your applicant results to only those individuals who score appropriately based on their answers to these screening questions. If you need help thinking of questions, interview hiring managers that are close to this position and look at the job description to clarify items that are candidate must-have’s versus just nice-to-have qualities.

Prioritize the Resumes and Applications You’ve Received

Once you’ve automatically narrowed your field of applicants using question filters, its time to rank resumes (in order to guide your decision on which applicants to contact first) based on their content’s percentage match to your position description and preferred experience, education, etc. Here are some ideas on factors that may contribute to your own personal prioritization formula…just make sure that the ones you use are job relevant:

  • Does the applicant have the “preferred” items (you already know he/she is in the clear for the required qualifications, but now look for the “icing on the cake” ones)?
  • Did he/she work in similar industries previously?
  • Is this person a referral from a current employee?
  • How soon is this candidate available to begin employment?
  • Did he/she include any quantitative information about his/her past performance as it relates to this position?

Rinse & Repeat for Phone Interviews

As you continue to more efficiently whittle down your list of qualified applicants and then conduct phone screens, take the same approach as mentioned above to determine which candidates should be passed on to the in-house interview stage. It should be even easier to better qualify applicants at this stage as you will have the benefit of speaking with them and gathering more information than was available on just the resume.


Now here’s the step where things can sometimes go awry and a recruiter who was otherwise destined to receive recruiting props has a failure to launch. Communication can not only dramatically improve the perception of your company’s employment/recruitment brand, but it also prepares you to dramatically shorten your time to hire for other positions in the future.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Promptly correspond with applicants still under consideration for a specific job about moving to next steps and what to expect from the selection process. Take this time to make sure that they are still interested in continuing down this path.
  2. Now here’s the important part…ALSO promptly be in touch with those candidates who didn’t make it for this position; however, their experience is such that they are intriguing for consideration for potential future positions. Status these people as “good future potentials in [name specific] department,” and communicate this detail to them to keep them engaged. This easy and fast extra step will reduce the amount of time you must take to source new applicants for a position within their department of interest in the future. And/or, if you have other positions open already that may be a good fit, copy them to consideration for that position and then let them know.

Analyze Trends

As you start working smarter (not harder) to pre-screen and qualify resumes, look for trends in your recruiting analytics to better understand from where the best applicants for different positions come…i.e. employee referrals, social media sites, specific job boards, etc. Use this info to more carefully pinpoint which job referral sources to use again in the future. That is, don’t drop a job posting bomb by pushing your job listing all over the place just because you can…choose the sources that consistently deliver quality applicants carefully to maximize your return on time (and sometimes money) spent.

By heeding these tips, you can become a more effective recruiter and likely reduce your stress level, as well. After all, it’s certainly easier to reach out to a pool of already engaged candidates in comparison to finding applicants for a new position from scratch. What are your ideas on better qualifying applicant resumes?

For more information about ExactHire’s tech solutions for the recruiting process, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

Image credit: Stand Out by Jamie Campbell (contact)

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