Buried in Resumes…

One might think that filling a job vacancy in this economy is a piece of cake – so many people out of work – how hard could it be? Well… a client called the other day from Salt Lake City. He needed to replace an IT Director who left suddenly due to a bad accident.

Several days ago, he put a job posting up on CareerBuilder and Monster. Now he had almost 300 resumes to consider and the clock was ticking loudly – corporate wanted a decision made within 3 days. He had no idea how to approach the task in such a short time frame.

Here’s the system I recommended he use… By far it’s not the only system – It’s just one that’s worked for me.

  1. Print all the resumes. I know it’s a terrible waste of paper and ink but compared to the drain on your eyes, back, and neck trying to read them all on screen, it’s a fair trade off.pile-folders-150x150
  2. The first thing to look at is location – where does the candidate live. Most likely you won’t  want to bring in out of town candidates – too costly either for you or the applicant – so out of town or country go immediately to the “NO” pile. Local candidates read on.
  3. The next thing to look at is the appearance and appropriate professionalism of the resume itself. Your looking at an example of the kind of work this person would do for you if hired. Some more resumes will go to the “NO” pile.
  4. If there’s an education or credential requirement, go straight to that section of the resume. There’s no point spending time on candidates who aren’t fully qualified.
  5. Now it’s time to read the content. Is the experience relevant? Has the person “hopped” jobs? Do the dates leave any questionable gaps? At this point, write questions on the resume then classify it as belonging in either the “A”, “B”, or “NO” pile. Don’t agonize – you can change it later as the bar gets raised and what you initially thought was an “A” becomes a “B”. Remember, “A” is fully qualified and very interesting. “B” is good in most areas but lacks something.
  6. Now that you’ve made it though all the resumes, turn your attention to the “A” pile. Read them again. Rank them in order of 1 – 12. Above 12 goes to the “B” pile. You’re now ready for the phone screen. 3 or 4 will fall out here. What’s left is your interview pool.

In my mind, it’s not rocket science. It is, however, a systematic way to create criteria for a process of elimination.

Do you have a system for getting through a mountain of resumes?

Michael Shapiro, Dynamic Management Solutions, Inc.


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