Resumes are screened to determine the candidacy of applicants.
Various criteria come into play while screening resumes. For example, work experience, education, etc.
Recruiters need to find out whether an applicant’s qualifications match the job requirements before they call them in for an interview.
Resume screening makes sure that the shortlisted applicants have the basic qualifications and experience to be a good employee.
If you are a business owner and need tips on how to screen resumes, read on.
1. Follow the three steps of screening
When you’re a business owner recruiting for your own company, it tends to get personal.
Let’s say you’re new to the hiring world and screening resumes for the first time.
You notice someone sent in a professional resume template which is strikingly different from the rest in the pile.
You stopped and looked.
What do you do?
Is that enough?
You’re hooked, fine, but what is it that you should be looking out for?
How do you know what to look for and how to segregate the best candidate from the worst?
This is where redefining the needs of your job requirements come in.
Identify the preferred and minimum qualifications you want in a candidate for the given job and define them.
Keep them in mind while evaluating resumes.
Take the candidate’s past job performances into account.
Accept that in the grand scheme of hiring, you hold the ultimate power.
So it is important for you to thoroughly evaluate a candidate’s Education, Work experience, Personality traits, Skills and knowledge, and Competencies.
Step 1: Screening based on minimum qualifications
Mention the minimum qualifications you require from your candidates in the job description.
This is the bar that you set for your candidates and anyone who does not meet the cut will be discarded at this step of the screening process.
The minimum qualification could range from a bachelor’s degree to just having a permit to work in the country.
It depends on what job you are hiring for or what you are willing to let go.
Now that you have eliminated candidates who are not suitable for the job, let’s further screen the candidates who meet the minimum qualification criteria.
Step 2: Screening based on preferred qualifications
Now that you have your pool of candidates that meet the basic qualification test, we will now move on the next step i.e. screening based on preferred qualification.
In this step, you have to identify the non-negotiable aspect of a candidate’s qualifications.
You need to streamline the desired qualities that you would like in a model employee.
These are not strictly mandatory but would make a candidate’s case stronger.
For example, some business owners exclusively hire candidates with previous work experience, while others are more flexible and okay with hiring a fresher as long as they have an aptitude to learn and quick to pick up new skills.
Your preferred qualification could also have a lot to do with a professional’s educational degree.
Are you looking for someone a master’s in an industry-specific field?
Or is the nature of the job such that a normal professional with a bachelor’s degree would do?
Point is, you need to decide what qualifications your preferred candidate should have.
After you do this, shortlist those candidates that meet both the minimum and preferred qualifications before moving onto the third step of the resume screening process.
Step 3: Shortlisting candidates based on the minimum and preferred qualifications
This step will shortlist the candidates that will move on for the interview round. Keep your recruiting needs in mind while selecting candidates for the shortlist.
If you are doing bulk hiring, you can shortlist almost all the candidates that meet the minimum qualifications.
However, for low volume recruitment, candidates who meet both the minimum and preferred qualifications should be interviewed.
The number of candidates that should be shortlisted is based on your recruitment conversion rates.
Based on recruiting data from Jobvite, the average recruitment conversion rates are:
- Application to Interview conversion rate: 12%
- Interview to offer conversion rate: 17%
- Offers accepted conversion rate: 89% (steady over the years)
This data shows us that if you interview 12 candidates from a pool of 100.
Only 2 of them will probably receive an offer, and out of them, only one candidate will accept the offer.
2. Be aware of the common challenges of the resume screening process
The most common challenges of the screening process are volume and predicting the quality of hire.
The biggest challenge, however, remains the sheer volume of applications a job opening is bound to receive.
It significantly increases the company’s time-to-hire.
According to these statistics published by Glassdoor, every corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes on an average.
Of these candidates, 4 to 6 are invited for an interview, and only one gets the job.
This means a recruiter has to screen 250 resumes to find one hire.
Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can solve this volume problem.
It organizes your screening process by automating it through keyword matches or knockout questions.
3. Use tech to automate your resume screening process
Gone are the days of manually labouring over resumes to find that one perfect hire.
New technology being called AI for recruitment will solve all your recruitment woes.
This software will integrate with an ATS and completely automate your resume screening process.
AI will not only select candidates based on specified job qualifications but also find better candidates for you by learning your past hiring decisions.
It will inspect your existing resume database and learn about the candidates who became successful employees and those who didn’t, based on their job performance and tenure.
Next, it will apply this knowledge to screen resumes.
It can even analyze their public social media profiles to enrich their applications.
But while tech is great and would probably take the trouble off your hands, you might want to put it off if you’re a small business who is new to the industry as the number of applicants will also be limited.
Whether your business is small scale or large scale has a lot to do with how you take on the recruitment process.
Using bots is great but the age-old method of sampling resumes on job portals has not died down yet. In other words, use tech but only if it is viable for you.
4. Put shortlisted candidates to an online test
As most applicants have figured out that using keywords and some other tricks will get them easily shortlisted, a simple online skill test before interviewing prospective candidates can help you weed out under-qualified candidates.
You can simply share a link through email and ask shortlisted candidates to complete the test within a limited timeframe.
The results will thin the herd, leaving you with enough time to prioritize your top slab of candidates for the job.
For example, if you want to hire a data scientist to join your tech team, give him a task that aligns with the requirements of the job he will have to do after hiring.
The same goes for the content team.
Do you want someone who can string two sentences together with perfection?
Or do you want a writer with a mind of their own?
Someone who will need minimal supervision?
Think along these lines while drafting the online test.
Once the results are out, you will have a clear answer that tells you who is ideal for the given job.
You will be surprised to learn that sometimes people who shine on-paper fail to deliver the same results when put to test.
On the other hand, you will find that people with negligible work experience might turn out to be a better fit for your hiring requirements.
5. Consult your hiring partners to make a final decision post-interview
In the large pool of running a business, recruitment proves to be a challenging and all-important task.
The people you hire today will become the face of your company’s future tomorrow.
Whether they have a good work ethic, learning aptitude, and the will to shoulder your burdens when the occasion calls for it goes a long way in defining you and your business.
How well your company will do depends on the collective efforts of the people you hire.
So the most important tip to making an informed hiring decision is through a rigorous interview session.
To avoid biased hiring, make sure that you have at least three people on the recruitment team.
Take turns interviewing the candidate and when all is done and dusted, sit them down and discuss your pick of the top candidates.
Collectively discussing and understanding why one likes a particular candidate over the other will help you collect your thoughts and choose the best candidate for your business.
Analyze your hiring needs before you set out to look for model employees for your company.
Determine what you need from a new hire and arm yourself with the knowledge presented in this article to find the perfect candidate.
- Set a minimum qualification and preferred qualifications on which to screen and shortlist candidates.
- Familiarize yourself with the common screening challenges and find solutions to overcome them.
- Use intelligent screening software that automates the resume screening process for you.
- Give online tests to candidates before selecting them for the interview round.
- Do a wholesome interview round and discuss the pros and cons of hiring each candidate with your hiring partners.