As a hiring manager, you know too well that being able to evaluate and review resumes is a priceless skill. Not only does the process take time, but key elements can be missed along the way if you’re not careful. Missing these elements can have potentially worrisome effects throughout your hiring efforts, as well as across your team and company.
You’re busy, and your time is valuable. You also know that you need to pick the right person for your vacancy. Balancing these needs throughout the evaluation process can be challenging.
Quickly identifying top talent requires practice, but with the right tools and knowledge, you’ll be on the right track to picking the best candidate for the job, all before lunch.
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1. Create a filtering process
You’ve likely encountered this situation before: you post a job ad and begin receiving resumes, but many of them don’t match the skills or experience you’re looking for.
When you evaluate and review resumes, you should first focus on cutting down the number of resumes you have. A good way to do this is by creating a process that narrows down the candidates to the absolute essentials.
Your job likely has bare-minimum requirements for skills, education, and levels of experience. Use these as a guideline to help you filter the stack of resumes down to those you want to take a closer look at.
2. Recognize that (sometimes) it’s okay to wait
Evaluating and reviewing resumes may mean saying “no” to every candidate you review until the right one applies. Sometimes, the perfect candidate sometimes doesn’t come along right away.
Many job seekers don’t apply to a job right away. They need to think about whether the job is right for them. They may also need to prepare their resume and credentials first, as well as prepare mentally, before hitting that submit button.
You should not pressure yourself into feeling like you have to hire someone from the first batch. There will (hopefully) be more!
If the need for this position is absolutely critical, take special care when quickly deciding on a candidate. Avoid making hasty hiring decisions. Better still, ensure that you have someone you can talk to for second opinions.
3. Look for concrete measurements of performance and growth
A top candidate can describe how they excelled at their previous jobs by providing concrete examples. This can be through production percentages, accolades, promotions, or other workplace achievements.
Language that uses vague measurements, on the other hand, isn’t so helpful. Someone might say they’re “familiar” with a particular machine or process. However, how much does “familiar” actually cover? Your understanding of what “familiar” means might be different from someone else’s.
More often than not, this is a red flag that usually reveals itself during the interview process. In practice, though, it’s better to catch these things before it gets to that point.
4. Evaluate consistently but fairly
You may already use some sort of checklist to go through resumes to determine which to keep and which to throw out. However, do you stick with the checklist rigidly? Or do you make judgment calls throughout the process that differs from it?
Certainly, sticking with a strict set of rules when reviewing resumes helps tremendously with consistency. Unfortunately, sometimes that also does a disservice to your candidates.
You may find that your best employees don’t always have the experience or skills that line up exactly with what you’re looking for. The opposite is also true. An employee might have been everything you wanted on paper, but in practice, they didn’t match your expectations.
A candidate may fall short of your checklist, but they may also highly impress you in other areas. In this instance, they may be worth giving a chance to impress you further.
Most importantly, remember to apply your reasoned judgment fairly across all candidates. Would you interview someone with a non-traditional work history, if they impressed you in some way? If yes, ensure that you are also offering the same opportunity to others with the same or similar work history.
Evaluating and reviewing resumes can be a difficult and tedious task. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the objective. Paying attention to the right things is what it takes to find a great new employee.