The most time-consuming part of hiring candidates for open positions is not the interview process. It is not contacting references. It is screening hundreds of resumes to find the best candidates.
You may be surprised to hear the numbers on screening. The amount of time it takes to screen resumes for one single hire is up to 23 hours. And that is for just one hire. Imagine if you have multiple positions in your company that need to be filled. Part of the reason so much time is required to screen resumes is that the majority (between 75% to 88%) of candidates who submit their resumes for an open position are unqualified. That means talent acquisition leaders waste a lot of time on resumes that won’t make it past the initial screening.
However, there is no way to avoid resume screening. It is a necessary part of hiring and a key part of the process so that additional time isn’t wasted actually interviewing people who have no chance of getting hired. By learning how to screen resumes efficiently, you can minimize the amount of time you spend on this process to focus your attention more on the interview process with qualified candidates.
This guide will take you through a step-by-step process of how to screen resumes and also discuss possible challenges you may run into along the way.
One way to aid with some of those challenges is by using a talent intelligence software. Of all the options for this type of software, our top pick is Loxo.
We will dive deeper into talent intelligence software and other alternatives to Loxo that may be better suited for different scenarios.
Step-By-Step Guide to Screening Resumes
Step 1: Choose resumes with minimum credentials
“Minimum credentials” are the mandatory qualifications and bare minimum for the applicant to do the job. Some of the most common minimum qualifications include:
- Number of years of experience
- Specific degree or certification
- Proficiency in a particular software
- Industry knowledge
- Ability to perform tasks associated with the job
This is an essential first step in the resume screening process because if a candidate does not meet the minimum requirements, there is no point in moving them forward. If they cannot meet the basics of the job, they will likely not have any chance of meeting the desired skills and qualifications.
Any candidate who meets the minimum credentials of the job you are looking to fill will move onto step number two of the screening resume process.
A great tool to help in this step and the other steps in resume screening is artificial intelligence software (ATS) built explicitly for screening talent.
A standard ATS will focus on specific keywords in a resume to help provide talent acquisition leaders with a list of candidates that fit the minimum requirements. Though this is used by many companies, there is one major issue: It allows strong candidates to slip through the cracks simply because they did not use specific keywords.
That’s why using artificial intelligence software is the preferred way to go, as with Loxo. Loxo asks for more information about the position beyond just keywords. This allows the system to have plenty of different concepts to help it screen through resumes and find top talent.
Loxo offers free and paid versions with different features. But the resume parsing feature is included in the free plan, so there is no need to pay unless you plan for more than one person to use it and you need the premium features.
Contact Loxo for the pricing of the Premium option.
Step 2: Choose resumes with desired skills
After ensuring the initial stack of resumes all meets the minimum requirements, you’ll move onto the desired skills that are not mandatory but would make someone a stronger candidate. Some of the most common desired skills include:
- Higher education degree or better certification
- Prior work-related experience
- Knowledge of specific systems
These are typically more qualitative than the minimum credentials and can help the employee better complete the work and add more value to the company.
Loxo can help with this step in the same way it did for step one—by not limiting screening to keywords. The system can sort through the resumes of potential candidates and see what desired skills would make them a strong option for the job. Rather than talent acquisition leaders spending several hours a day to come up with a handful of viable candidates, Loxo will narrow it down for them.
Step 3: Choose resumes that have been customized for the job
It is reasonably easy to tell when a candidate has taken the time to personalize their resume to the specific job posting instead of sending the same resume out to 100 companies at the same time.
It is important to find those resumes and candidates who have taken the time to research the position and the company. This shows their interest in your job specifically, as well as their attention to detail.
Some of the things you can look out for in a resume that means it has been personalized to your specific job posting include:
- Skills that match those listed in the job posting
- Achievements that align with those related to the job
- Work history that covers the specific skills required and desired for the job
Resumes that have not been customized to your specific position will feel more general and won’t have any specific skills or keywords you mention in the job posting. They may also include work history that doesn’t pertain to the position or include a summary that could work for any similar job instead of being tailored to the one they applied for. These are red flags, as they show that the person may just be looking for any job, not your company’s position specifically.
Step 4: Narrow down to your top choices
Now that you narrowed the resumes down from the hundreds you received to the 15-30 that seem to match your needs, you have your shortlist. The number of candidates from your shortlist that will move onto the interview process varies depending on your company’s specific needs.
If you have a higher recruitment volume, then typically, all candidates who meet the minimum credentials will be contacted for an interview. However, if your company is doing a lower recruitment volume, just the top few candidates who have the minimum credentials and required skills will get called for an interview.
From your shortlist, you will need to manually review the resumes against your knowledge of the position and the job description to determine the top quality candidates to bring in for an interview with the hiring manager.
It is also prudent to involve the hiring manager and have them review your top five to 10 resumes to see if they fit exactly what the manager needs. If they agree with your top choices, it is time to verify their information before scheduling interviews.
Step 5: Verify applicant information
The last step before contacting the candidates and bringing them in for interviews is to verify the accuracy of their information. This means checking their education and work history and conducting reference checks for the skills on their resume, including their work ethic and more.
Bear in mind that many companies choose to do at least one round of interviews before doing any reference checks and employment verifications. Some candidates will not be the right fit, and you won’t need to bother with the verification process for them.
With an AI ATS like Loxo, most of the verification is done for you. Using a directory of over 530 million people across 95 different data sources, you can trust that the talent Loxo says is qualified for your job is indeed qualified for the job.
3 Top Benefits of Screening Resumes
Screening resumes for a position in your company is an absolute must. Skip this step, and you will struggle with all sorts of issues down the line. By doing this process in an efficient yet thorough way, you will have a better chance of hiring the correct people for the positions and have lower turnover rates. And by using AI ATS to help you in the process, you will cut down on the time required to do it successfully. Here are the top three benefits of using technology to assist in the process.
Freeing up time for other things
The average job posting leads to a recruiter getting approximately 250 applicants. Take a moment to think about how long it takes to manually go through each of those applications and screen the resumes in the steps we described above. And that is for just one job.
Resume screening software can cut that time down significantly. Rather than having to go through each resume manually one by one, you can implement an AI ATS to do the job for you. This means less time for you and more time for talking to the candidates who have a strong chance of getting the position or other tasks. It also streamlines the process of hiring so things can happen much faster.
Finding the best candidates
It is inevitable that with manual resume screening, recruiters will spend time engaging with candidates who are not relevant to the job. This can create burnout for recruiters and leave them thinking about making compromises to make things easier and make the hiring process reach its end more quickly.
With the help of technology, you can take out the candidates who are a waste of time early on in the hiring process so that your chances of moving the best candidates onto the next steps are much higher.
Reducing unconscious bias
Though it may not be conscious, recruiters can have an unconscious bias when hiring. This could be something as simple as a name or something more problematic such as gender, religion, or race.
Using AI to help with the resume screening process, any unconscious bias is removed, and hiring can happen in a more fair way that picks the best candidates because of their actual skillset and qualifications.
3 Biggest Challenges With Screening Resumes & How To Troubleshoot Them
As we’ve discussed in detail throughout this guide, screening resumes is no easy process. Because it is so time-consuming and exhausting, there is room for error. Here are three major challenges that you must be aware of and know how to work around or avoid.
Time and Volume
The number one challenge that recruiters face in the screening resume process is volume. The sheer number of resumes one receives is overwhelming. As mentioned, the average job posting will get 250 resumes, and up to 88% of them will be unqualified for the position. That is a whole lot of time spent reviewing dead-end resumes.
How to troubleshoot: The solution to this problem comes with AI ATS such as Loxo. While standard ATS does a great job of organizing resumes, it typically only screens them using keyword matching. Resumes stuffed with keywords may move a candidate onto the next step even if they aren’t really qualified. Or a lack of specific keywords may cause an otherwise strong candidate to be left in the dust. AI ATS tools use many more variables besides keywords when screening.
Limited Recruiter Knowledge of Specific Positions
Though recruiters undoubtedly have a good general idea of the different positions within a company, you will be hard-pressed to find one with all-encompassing information for all positions in your company. For example, a recruiter may be hiring for a position in engineering and one in graphic design at the same time. It is difficult for the recruiter’s knowledge to span those different jobs and to hire accordingly.
How to troubleshoot: Work with the hiring manager and someone in the current or a similar position to help create the job posting and screen the shortlist of resumes for the best ones. This ensures that candidates meet the required skillsets.
Limitations with Recruitment Technology
Most recruiters use applicant tracking systems or spreadsheets to aid in screening, but that is often based on keywords. As you know, the keyword method leaves too much room for error.
How to troubleshoot: Upgrade your technology to AI that understands the job requirements and learns from your hiring practices. This goes into things such as hiring patterns and context in resumes. The right technology helps you get the stronger candidates right from the start.
Other Options For Screening Resumes
Though Loxo is at the top of our list for AI talent intelligence software, there are other options out there that may be a better fit for your company.
If you are doing high-volume hiring: Ideal.
This AI tool uses the feedback from recruiters to build a robust algorithm that is a game-changer for shortlisting candidates based on their resumes. Ideal claims to reduce the amount of time recruiters spend on the hiring process by 70%, so that is quite the selling point. The bias-free algorithm is key to ensuring the hiring process is fair as well as accurate.
If you are a staffing company or enterprise: CVViz.
Like Ideal, CVViz uses an AI algorithm to go beyond keywords and finds resumes that fit the job posting. When a new job is added to the hiring list, CVViz’s AI automatically searches to find top talent that may already exist in your database.
If you are a growing startup or looking to scale into a medium or large business: Skeeled.
Skeeled is an automated applicant tracking system that uses AI to screen resumes with the help of its powerful algorithms. The system checks things such as work permits and other custom criteria required for the job, cutting down on time for recruiters in the screening process.
Top AI Talent Intelligence Software
- Loxo – Best for Most
- Ideal – Best for High-Volume-Hiring
- CVViz – Best for Staffing Companies and Enterprises
- Skeeled – Best for Growing Startups or Companies Looking to Scale
If you are not interested in AI software, we have also reviewed and compiled our top picks for recruiting software, which you can use to make better purchasing decisions.