Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Best Resume Screening Tactics

If you’ve had to hire a new employee in the recent past, then you know how many resumes can flood your inbox. With the job market in the weak state it’s in, there are still going to be hundreds of candidates vying for just one position. So when you post an open position and receive hundreds of resumes from hundreds of different candidates, what’s the best way to pick through them? Well, I’m not going to lie to you- no matter what you are going to have to invest a good chunk of your time towards sifting through your applications. However, there are things you can do to streamline the process and make it go much faster.

What are a few of those things? Take a look:

Know Exactly What You Want
Prior to even looking at the plethora of emails you have, you need to know what skills and qualities you absolutely require for this position. Of course, there will be skills that you prefer or desire, but there are certainly going to be skills that you simply cannot live without when it comes to this position. What are they? Make a list for yourself so that when you are down to just a handful of resumes you can easily weed out a couple more. If they don’t have quality A or skill B, then they won’t make it in this position.

One of my past bosses swore by this resume sifting tactic. As his assistant, he had me go through the hundreds of resumes and grade them as A resumes, B resumes or C resumes- A being the most qualified and talented candidates. I felt a bit like a grade school teacher rating these resumes with grades, but in the end it was a great way to weed out the not-so qualified candidates. Then he could go back and take a look at all of the resumes that were placed in the A pile and find the ones he liked best.

Make sure, however, that when you do hire a candidate they do not accidentally stumble upon this grading system. This actually happened with this boss and the employee was not too thrilled. “I saw a folder on the computer that said “resumes” and I was graded with an “A?” What does this mean?” This was a very awkward situation, so be sure to avoid it and delete the folder/file once you are done. Or save it on a non-public computer!

Screen the “A” Group
Some may say that phone interviews are the best way to screen the handful of qualified candidates you have. They must have time to kill then because phone screens certainly are not the best or fastest way to screen your candidates. What is though is utilizing one way video interviews. With this you can grab your group of qualified candidates and ask them a set of questions. Typically you ask them all the same questions so you can compare and contrast their answers. The candidates then take some time (you set how long they have to answer these questions) and answer them in video format. That way, you get their answers to your questions but also get a sneak peak at their personality and communication skills. What better way to weed out the candidates that you know won’t work?

Plus, you can conduct 10 of these one way interviews in the same time it takes to conduct one phone interview. It takes about 30 minutes on average to conduct one phone interview. You do the math. In my calculations that’s a whole lot of saved time on your part.

The next step is conducting interviews with those candidates that made it passed your screening process. If you streamlined the process and did a good job of candidate screening, then you should only have a handful of candidates left to interview. You can save even more time here by conducting the first round of interviews as online video interviews. That way, neither you nor the candidate has to leave their office or home respectively but you can both get a feel for each other. With an online video interview, you can meet with a candidate via Spark Hire and ask all of the first-round questions you would ask in a traditional, in-person interview. If it doesn’t seem to be a good fit, they didn’t have to waste time in travel or money in gas, and you were able to conduct the interview quickly without ever having to leave your office.

If you did like what they had to offer in the online video interview, then you can have them come to the office for an in-person interview. Hopefully at this point, if you did a good job of screening, you only have 2 or 3 candidates to call into the office for in-person interviews.

Screening resumes and candidates this way can save you a lot of time and money. So start being savvy with your candidate screening and start saving!

What do you do to streamline the resume screening process? Share with us in the comments or tweet me @nicole_spark!

SOURCE: Mentors Online
Courtesy of eHow

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter