There's Something About Screening Resumes

Posted by Blair Fleming On Apr 14, 2014 10:49:00 AM


There's Something About Screening ResumesSeeking out advice on resume optimization, what not to do and how to get discovered by employers, is all well and good, but one must consider what happens after a resume is submitted to a job.  While most applicants understand that the competition for each job is fierce, the majority don't necessarily know how their resume is being screened and reviewed by the Recruiter/Hiring Manager.

Today, applying for a job on the internet is easier than ever, resulting in a huge influx of applications which, for those reviewing candidate qualifications, can be overwhelming.  It is no wonder that not every applicant is contacted for every job to which they apply.  In fact, on average, only about 20% of job applicants get called for an interview, which means that even fewer get hired.  To put this percentage into perspective: Starbucks Corp. attracted 7.6 million job applicants last year for about 65,000 corporate and retail job openings and P&G Inc. received nearly a million applications for only 2,000 jobs openingsDeloitte LLP only hires about 3.5% of their applicants each year.

Technology has made the tedious process of going through stacks of resumes far less time consuming and cumbersome. It is estimated that 50% of companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS's) such as Taleo, Brassring and Avature to preliminarily screen resumes.  However, despite all of the time and energy saving tools out there the best way to look at a candidate’s qualifications is to, well…"look at their resume" even if only for a few seconds.  This is the only sure way of delivering the best candidates to the job.

While most Hiring Managers/Recruiters don't expect all applicants to be qualified for their posted positions (many large companies screen out at least half of all resumes) the hope is that there will be at least some qualified candidates to consider for an open role.

As most experienced Hiring Managers/Recruiters will tell you, the trick to identifying a great match requires that you look beyond the resume and assess the entirety of what each prospective hire presents. Qualifications are undoubtedly important but so are personality traits and cultural fit.

The most successful recruiters utilize a number of proven steps to ensure the best matching of candidates to jobs. 

Meet with each candidate

For some companies, meeting candidates is not typical practice and in some instances not practical. But there is no debating the advantages to being able to directly assess candidates and determine if they would be a good fit.  I strongly encourage you to choose a third party staffing agency to assist in this process, if you cannot do it in-house.    Selecting the right staffing firm to represent your organization will give candidates a more personalized first contact, but will also allow for a better targeted screening process.

A staffing firm which truly operates as an “extension” of your organization will only send you the best candidates for your needs, saving you time and money in preserving valuable resources which can be allocated elsewhere.

Check at least one reference prior to an interview!

If this process sounds like something you would like to implement within your organization but the internal resources don’t exist, a good option might be to engage a staffing firm to help you through the necessary steps.  Let them screen out the candidates who might be a problem for you down the line.  Again this is not typical practice, but it should be.  Checking at least one reliable reference (before a formal first interview) allows you to gain a better feel for a candidate’s abilities and what previous managers think of them professionally.  It also reduces the possibility of a candidate being taken out of consideration late in the selection process and avoids wasting valuable time and energy. 

Quick verification of professional history via web

In many cases, Linked-in provides an opportunity to verify experience and skills by cross referencing profiles with candidates’ resumes. This is not a substitute for meeting them in person, but it will give you a better insight into where they are in their career. Additionally, doing this kind of research in advance of an interview can assist in developing talking points around candidates’ declared interests, instead of just jumping in to the hard questions.

These are all key stages that should be completed early on in the hiring process. Screen in candidates that are the best fit for your jobs, and screen out candidates who are simply not right for the job/organization in question.  Before you invest in the recruitment process, do as much research as is permitted by law, before a candidate even comes in for a first round interview. Or even better, hire a third party staffing firm to do it for you.

Consult an expert in Boston today!

TAGS: Recruitment Trends, Management & Leadership

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