Candidate screening is one of the hardest parts of the hiring process. No matter what the position is or how large or small the company, hiring managers and human resource officers can attest to how the process is challenging. Here are a few tips from professionals on how to make the hiring process less arduous so that you can find the right talent for the position. 

Screening Résumés 

So you are sitting in front of a pile of printed résumés or a computer with digital copies of résumés. If you have a large number of résumés, consider this a good thing in our current strong economy and low unemployment numbers. 

Unfortunately, reviewing résumés or curriculum vitae (CVs) can be tricky. According to a study released by TheLadders, an online job-matching service, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual résumé. That means that you have mere seconds to find something of value on the résumés that cross your desk. 

Some of the top résumé falsehoods that you want to be aware of include: embellished experience, bogus college degrees, hiding employment gaps, and language proficiency. Here is a great article on reviewing résumés and how to avoid these pitfalls. 

For businesses that are hoping to weed out candidates that are not a good fit, you may want to try an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This technology helps employers sift through large groups of job applicants, and to organize and contact those applicants. The main goal of ATS is to act as a tool designed to simplify the life of the hiring manager or recruiter. Just like a search engine, after a recruiter’s search, some applicant tracking systems rank applicants by keywords (skills, job positions) and filters (e.g., location and education). Be aware that applicants are getting savvy to these new technologies and are placing keywords into their résumés to essentially “beat the bots.” 

If you are screening résumés without the assistance of technology, we suggest a checklist for the limited time you have to pour over résumés. The checklist should include analyzing:

  • Past work experience
  • Education
  • Specific skills or certifications needed for the job
  • Contact information

Skills Test 

Many recruiters are finding that after filtering down the résumés to a few select candidates that an initial interview or skills test can help bring into focus who would fit the job well. For example, if the job requires writing, ask for a sample written during a visit. If the job requires technical skills, give a short test of completing a few tasks in a set amount of time. If the job requires communication skills, set up a scenario where that can be tested. 

Skills tests can help separate those who currently have well-honed skills for the job in question and those who may have exaggerated on the résumé portion of the application process. 

Are you an employer that needs help fine-tuning your recruitment process and application process. Consider attending one of our workshops or speaking with one of our specialists. Call or visit MassHire. We offer employment and training services for job seekers and employers.