5 Steps for Reviewing Resumes with Success

applicant tracking systemWith the average corporate job opening attracting more than 200 resumes, it goes without saying that one open position can lead to many hours of reviewing resumes, comparing candidates, and making a hiring decision.

Maybe you are using Google+ for recruiting. Or maybe you have decided that a more well rounded social recruiting strategy is best. It doesn’t matter what approach you take to finding top talent, nothing will change the fact that resumes will begin to roll in shortly after the open position is announced.

Once the flood of resumes begins, you never know when (or if) it will stop. The only way to put an end to the process is to hire the best person for the job and close the position. Before you can do this, however, you are faced with the process of reviewing resumes.

Do These Things to Find the Best Talent

Job seekers are interested in companies that offer a fair salary, growth opportunities, and a solid work-life balance. If you offer these things, you are in position to land the best talent. This all starts with sifting through resumes, crossing off applicants who fall short of the requirements and paying special attention to those who have the most potential.

It doesn’t matter if you are a business owner, manager, or HR professional, you have your own unique take on the best way to review a resume. If you want to improve in this area, be sure to focus on these five points during the review process:

1. Read the Job Description Before you Begin

This is extremely important for two reasons:

• It will refresh your mind, ensuring that you know exactly what position you are hiring for.
• Provides an opportunity to learn more about the requirements of the position.

Tip: you may be the person reviewing the resumes, but you weren’t the person who created the job opening. In this case, a review of the job description is even more important.

As you complete this step, make note of what you consider “critical hiring factors.” For example, you may be most interested in finding candidates who have the desired educational background or a particular type of experience.

Keep the job description handy as you review each resume, as you never know when you will need to reference this for more information.

2. Create the Perfect Candidate on Paper

You never want to take a “wild shot in the dark” when hiring a new employee. Doing so could lead you down the wrong path. Doing so could mean hiring and training an employee who is not the right fit.

The best way to protect against a mistake is to create the perfect candidate on paper. Here are the details to focus on:

• Experience, with the most attention on the applicant’s last position.
• Education.
• Extracurricular activities, such as volunteer work.
• Additional skills, with an eye on those that are related to the opening.

For example, your perfect candidate may look something like this:

• 10+ years of industry experience, including the last three in a similar role.
• Master’s degree in business administration or a similar degree field.
• Volunteer for at least one organization.
• Experience with PowerPoint.

As you review candidates with this profile in mind, it is easier to clear the clutter and focus on those who deserve a more detailed review.

3. Make Three Groups

If you review resumes with no clear idea as to what you are doing, it could lead to a situation where you waste a lot of time but make no real progress. Do you want to take that risk?

To fight against this, group resumes into the following categories:

• Definite consideration.
• Maybe.
• No.

Those in the “definite consideration” group have the most to offer. Their resume suits your candidate profile and you know you want to learn more about the person.

The “maybe” group is a bit more complex. These candidates meet your requirements in some areas, but fall short in others. There are people in this group who could be considered, but not until you dig deeper.

Finally, the “no” group consists of resumes that fall well short of what you are looking for.

There is no way of saying how many resumes will be in each group. You won’t know until the final review is complete. Even though this is unknown, you will be in better position because you are only left with candidates who appear to be a solid fit.

4. Call in Another Set of Eyes

Once you complete step three, you are getting closer to making a hiring decision. You now need to answer these questions:

• Which resumes are worth reviewing again?
• Which candidates should you contact for an interview?
• Which candidates should you keep on “standby” in the event that others don’t work out?

To answer these questions, it often best to bring in another set of eyes. If there is anybody else in your company willing to help with the hiring process, ask them at this point if they can provide assistance.

There are many benefits of this:

• They may see something you missed.
• They will have a unique point of view on each resume.
• They can provide you with honest and open feedback.

It is easy to get stuck in a rut when reviewing resumes. If there is at least one other person to assist with the review, it becomes much easier to remain on track and ensure that you don’t miss out on something important.

5. Be Patient

Even if you are in a hurry to make a hiring decision, you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself.

Think about it this way: it is better to take more time to find the right employee than to rush the process and hire the wrong person. Doing this is only going to cost you more time and money in the long run.

If you are concerned with the hiring timeline, do the following:

• Set a deadline for accepting resumes.
• Strive to review each resume by a certain date.
• Set a clear date as to when you want to start the interview process.

As long as you are realistic with your timeline, you will never feel pressured to make decisions without first thinking them through.

A Free Applicant Tracking System Can Help!

It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to collect and review resumes. This holds true regardless of your company size, industry, or position you are hiring for. With the five steps above in mind, you will find it simple to review resumes with success. If you find that you cannot just do it alone, Recruiteze can help.

Recruiteze is a FREE applicant tracking system that allows your staff recruit smarter, instead of working harder. Resumes are analyzed, formatted, and added to your hiring database immediately. Customers love the easy online access to resumes so changes can be made quickly from anywhere in the world. You’ll also enjoy your free custom job board. You can post job listings, and take applications with a high level of professionalism. Recruiteze takes the redundant administrative work out of recruiting with our free applicant tracking system. Click here for your free basic membership.