As the economy turns around (yes, that’s the noise you’re hearing), companies who are hiring are experiencing something they’ve never had to contend with before:
HUGE numbers of applicants for open positions.
One reason for the large numbers of applicants is simply the sheer number of people looking for work right now. But another reason is that job-seekers have been encouraged by job counselors to apply for positions that may be tangential to their main body of experience.
So, if you’re hiring, you’ll get a lot of resumes, but it will be more challenging to sort through them to find those who are truly qualified for the job.
Here are 5 things you can do to increase the efficiency of your resume reviews:
1. Create a tight job description before you market the job. List the core responsibilities and the required criteria. Include in your posting or ad the criteria that are MANDATORY versus the ones that are preferred. Be as specific as possible about every aspect of the posting. This will help you clarify what you’re truly looking for. If you’re fine with someone who doesn’t have your specific requirements, state that, but be prepared for a significant number of resumes to come in.
2. Be careful where you post. In fact, you may circulate the job posting throughout your own company and encourage employees to recruit talent from their professional and social circles rather than casting a wider net through Monster.com or similar sites. If you do use online tools, pick those that will match your desired applicants most closely, as opposed to general job sites.
3. Organize your resume review process in advance. Many companies have a haphazard way of reviewing resumes. You’ll need to be organized if you want to be efficient. Set aside time every day to review them, as opposed to reviewing them as they come in. Use a checklist from item 1 above to make sure that you’re comparing each applicant to your core criteria. Create three folders — YES, NO, and MAYBE. That will help you prioritize what to do next.
4. Screen before you interview. Your first contact with an applicant should not be to set up an interview in person. Those can be a tremendous waste of time. Go through resumes carefully to identify problems or concerns (gaps, jumping from job to job, leaving critical information out, or including too much information) and use e-mail and quick phone screenings as a way of ruling in (and out) candidates.
5. Extend your search. Companies looking to hire often make the mistake of assuming the best candidate is in the first pool of applicants. Psychologically, they want to get the search over with and fill the position. This can lead to “groupthink” and momentum toward hiring as soon as possible, instead of hiring the right person. If you don’t have a great match right away, keep searching. The wait may be well worth it.
If you have other techniques you’ve used to make the search process more efficient, post them as a comment!