In today’s job market, a single position might garner hundreds of applications. Where should a hiring manager start when it comes to winnowing down the resume pile? Experience tells us that the best way to prevent a deluge of applications starts before the opening is even announced. Then, a disciplined approach is needed after all the applications have trickled in. Here are some key steps to take when it comes to posting job openings and moving quickly through the resume review process.
Know the Job
Hiring managers can do a lot to preselect qualified candidates by simply taking the time to really fine-tune the in-house description of the job that’s open. There has to be a clear list of the responsibilities and requirements of the job, as well as traits the best candidates will have. In addition, the job listing should include a description of the company’s mission and philosophy so applications can get an idea if they would be a good fit. Finally, if additional tools such as work samples, a portfolio or writing clips would be helpful, those should part of the job listing.
Make Requirements Clear
When it comes to writing the position posting, the qualifications that are required can help cut down on the number of applications received and the resume review part of the process. The manager should be very clear with skills or experience are required versus just preferred. It’s all right for the posting to indicate that resumes that don’t show the require skills will not be considered. Don’t be afraid to include other details that will help applicants self-select, such as work setting, expected hours per week or pay limits.
Hone Down Further
The resume review work will go faster if hiring managers can also add key specifications that further qualify candidates. For example, if a candidate has managed teams, how many years did he or she do that? Or, what kind of certifications do job seekers have? More specifics can winnow down the field considerably. It can be helpful in some cases to include a few instances of industry jargon so staff members who are reviewing resumes can tell if candidates understand the terms needed on the job.
Now that the applications are coming in, it’s time for a resume review period. Managers can make a quick perusal to see if job seekers have the required experience. They can also check for spelling and grammar errors, missing elements such as no work samples, or poorly written cover letters. All of these shortcomings will quickly relegate these resumes into the ïnoï pile. However, intriguing cover letters should earn a resume a spot in the ïmaybeï pile, if even just for a second look. Don’t worry too much about long gaps in the employment history section; that’s not as much of a red flag as it used to be for employers. At this point in the process, it’s important to be disciplined about the minimum job requirements. If a candidate doesn’t have the experience, the resume goes in the ïnoï pile without hesitation.
Sort it Out
Managers performing a speedy resume review can have ïyes,ï ïnoï and a ïmaybeï piles for all the applications. Ideally, the ïnoï pile would be two-thirds of the resumes, and the other two stacks would hold one-third. The maybes will warrant a second look before being added to one of the other two piles. Sometimes it is helpful to have another person look at the yesses when it’s time to choose people to interview. Or, you can get more stringent on how well candidates meet each requirement. For example, if the job listing called for five years of experience as a team leader, you can look for people who exceed that minimum. Hiring new employees can be a long, tough process. Human resource departments can make the process easier for everyone involved by taking the time to fine-tune job descriptions, craft extremely specific job postings and prequalify candidates using a disciplined approach. Then, hiring managers will have fewer resumes to go through in order to find great candidates. They, too, must be disciplined when it comes to eliminating applicants. Finding great prospects is much simpler when the job skills and requirements are used as hard-and-fast tools to winnow the list. In addition to learning how to write concise job descriptions and how to simplify your resume review process, you can learn to make solid hiring decisions and improve your companies using the many resources at Mighty Recruiter as a guide.